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Sky Raiders (Hardcover)
It is Halloween and Cole Randolph and his friends have heard nothing but great things about the new haunted house in town. Deciding this sounds like more fun than trick-or-treating, a group of kids from Cole’s school head out to be scared out of their costumes.
The haunted house hides a much more sinister secret, a trap - one which Cole and his friends unwittingly walk into. While Cole is able to remove himself from it, his friends are not so lucky. Cole, unwilling to abandon his friends to an unknown fate, willingly follows them and their captors….to the Outskirts.
The Outskirts is an in-between place where, if you have the power, you can shape the world around you into a thing of dreams or nightmares, depending on your nature. The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms, each very different but ruled by a single high king. An evil king, whose only love is power….
Cole, who is quickly discovered by his friends captors, is sold into slavery to the sky raiders. His quest to rescue his friends begins when he meets a unusual girl named Mira.
The biggest wrinkle in Cole’s rescue efforts? It is free to enter the Outskirts, but near impossible to leave. And even if you do, almost everyone will end up back in the five kingdoms, forgotten by everyone who loves you….
This is a fantastic start to this new series. It is action-packed and very dense (in a good way). Filled with well rounded characters, a well thought out magic system and dynamic over arching story lines, I cannot say enough good things about this book!
Now, do not read anything into the characters being sold into slavery. In this case, Mull is using it as a plot device to scatter the friends across the five kingdoms, making Cole’s self appointed task more difficult. Mull does a great job of not philosophizing on the subject or creating some sort of moral lesson, which would harm the story. Instead, this can be used as a talking point with your kids…such as how children have been sold into slavery through the centuries and even today in many parts of the world they still are not safe. But Mull does not do any of this for you. It is simply the reality of the situation the kids find themselves in, nothing more.
I enjoyed the fact there is actual crime in the book - a theft of sorts, faked deaths, people in hiding and others on the run. There are a lot of layers to this story, as it quickly turns from a simple plan to rescue his friends to rescuing a kingdom with some new friends. Mull is great at providing hints of what may come, details to speculate (read “obsess“) over and wonder about long after you have finished the book.
I would recommend this book to any boy (or open minded girl as Mira plays a very significant role in the book and is wonderful to read) 8+. I think the action-packed adventure and Cole’s determination will appeal to most anyone.
This is set up to be a five book series and I seriously cannot wait! (Book two is out October 2014)— Amber
Adventure awaits in the Five Kingdoms--come and claim it in this start to a new series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series.
Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.
After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them--and ends up in The Outskirts.
The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It's an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds.
And once you come to the Outskirts, it's very hard to leave.
With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it's up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home...before his existence is forgotten.