Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: Sky Raiders

The Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms #1)
Brandon Mull
Aladdin, 2014
Genre: fantasy, adventure, middle grade
Source: Borrowed from a student
Rating 3 out of 5 stars

~What It's About~
When Cole follows his friends through a manhole in an attempt to save them from kidnappers, he doesn't expect to find himself in another world, but that's exactly what happens.  The Outskirts is a world of slaves and trading and of "shaping" whatever you could imagine.  There are dangers Cole could never think of, but also wonders that could only be a part of a dream.  When he's traded to the Sky Raiders, a group that jumps from flying boats onto moving clouds filled with castles, he's sure he'll be dead within a week.  Luckily he meets a new friend, Mira, who helps him find his way in this strange new world and he might just be able to help her out as well.

~The Good~
Sky Raiders is full of adventure!  Cole is not only in a new world trying to figure out how to navigate this place, but he's also trying to find a way to save his friends.  There are a lot of evil and cruel people in this world, but there are plenty of helpful people as well.  I loved the idea of "shaping."  In The Outskirts there are people called "shapers" who have the ability to create things--magnificent things--from their imagination.  They can easily fuse together or alter already existent objects to form some other object that can help or hinder.  This idea really comes to light when Cole travels through a land that a young child created from his imagination filled with skeleton armies and plastic dinosaurs that attack, but also a babysitter who can help keep you safe.  

~The Not-So-Good~
 I found it hard to get into this book for the first chunk of it.  The very beginning where Cole and his friends are kidnapped wasn't compelling and I can see kids being turned off by this right away.  It didn't really get better for me when he landed in The Outskirts and tried to save his friends.  I was glad when he was traded into the hands of The Sky Raiders because things finally started to pick up for me as a reader.  Luckily it didn't take too incredibly long to get to that point, but I am an adult reader.  

~Final Thoughts~
Cole's story is built well for an epic adventure that is compelling for fans of fast paced stories with danger around every corner.  Fans of adventures will definitely enjoy this one and if they make it through this 400+ pages long book they will probably find their way to the next one in order to see what kinds of adventures Cole gets himself into again.

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