This is the war for Halla.
Every question is answered. Every truth is revealed.
The final battle has begun.
©2009 D.J. McHale; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Bobby Pendragon is now a family institution. I have re-read this entire series four or five times now. This last instalment is definately more emotionally mature than book one, but then Bobby and crew are much older, and they've been through lots of refining fire.
Mr. MacHale's writing in such a way that I, as the reader, know only what the point of view characters know has been brilliant throughout the series and the pay off in this book is huge. Book 9, Raven Rise, left me hanging. The Soldiers of Halla opens with explenation of who Bobby really is.
By the end of the book, I cry happy tears in the last chapter every time.
The battle for Halla, and between Bobby and Saint Dane is classic good verses evil. Freedom of choice verses totalitarianism. I am greatful that my kids can read this and see brave kids making hard but good decisions, even when it hurts them to do so.
I have two daughters who also love these books. My 11 year old first started this series when she was 9 and has re-read the series twice. She always wants these books to be on her kindle and her mp3. Thanks to Mr. MacHale she is becoming an avid reader.
Mr. Dufris has taken lots of abuse in reviews. I completely disagree. His reading is magical. The voice he uses has always been apropriate to the book he is narating. He brings the stories to life and is consistant across the series. There are far worse narrators in the audible panthion.
And So We Go...
This is the way it was meant to be.
It's a solid ending to a good series. The narrator is a little nasally, but you stop noticing after a few minutes, and he does do a good job acting out the story. I enjoyed it.
Before I begin, let me start by saying I'm going to treat this review as a sum of the entire series, considering the same narrator (William Dufris) is throughout the entirety of this absolutely wonderful book series written by D. J. MacHale. Also, I'm assuming you're not going to try and read the series out of order.
WARNING; Small spoilers ahead. (Nothing so grievous as to ruin the story!)
Pendragon. It is a name I haven't forgotten since I read the series back in my high-school days. I remember asking the school librarian for a good fantasy or sci-fi to read, telling her that I had tried the popular ones and couldn't get hooked. She thought for a moment, wracking her brain before suggesting I give the Merchant of Death a try.
Boy, am I glad I did!
While all of my other nerdy, geeky friends were invested in Harry Potter and/or Lord of the Rings, my eyes were glued to the pages of D. J. MacHale's novel. From the very beginning, the style of writing had me absolutely enthralled. The story all the way back in book one starts off with your average middle-school boy, Bobby Pendragon, being thrown through space and time with his distant (and totally cool!) relative, Uncle Press, to a world unlike the Earth we're so familiar with. As each book in this ten-book series progresses, the plot becomes thicker with mysteries, drama, and action until the final installment of the Pendragon series; The Soldiers of Halla. What had started as an innocent boy trying to solve the problems of territories ridden with trouble transformed into a battle for the very existence of all that is, was, and will be.
The author does a fantastic job of convincing the reader you're reading the journal of a fourteen year old boy who has been thrown into a situation he can barely comprehend. The part that keeps you reading is seeing (or hearing, in Audible's case) how Bobby grows and matures throughout the series. By the tenth book, gone is the scared boy. He is now a man with a war on his hands that he has to lead.
Something I love about this series is how the author switches perspectives between characters. Sometimes you'll be reading a journal from Bobby, other times the author narrates the plot back on Earth with Bobby's two best friends, Courtney Chetwind and Mark Dimond, who are just as immersed in their best friend's journey as the reader is!
Of course, what would be a great story without an even greater villain? The author has convinced me that if there were a devil, his name would be Saint Dane. The main antagonist in this series may come off as cheesy or one-dimensional at first, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. As you read on, you discover more and more about him, usually disturbing or frightening in nature. You learn of his motives, and you can begin to see things from his perspective as well.
The story is filled with everything under the sun; blockbuster action, complex mysteries, heart-wrenching scenes, comedic relief... It really has it all! Even if you aren't convinced to buy this audio book, I *urge* you; go to your local library and request the Merchant of Death. You won't regret it, I promise. Even though Pendragon is a young adult series, it transcends age, much like Avatar the Last Airbender on television, and provides a story that young and old both can enjoy.
William Dufris, the narrator, may come off as corny here or there, but what I love most about his narration of this series is how he conveys each and every character's emotions and actions. There is a certain energy to his voice that shifts as necessary to truly embody the characters of Pendragon. I can tell exactly who is speaking in the audio book just from the way he embodies those characters. If you ask me, that's exactly what I want from a narrator.
Bravo to Mr. Dufris for his "brilliant" (get it?) narration, and bravo to D. J. MacHale's masterpiece of a book series.
I have a list of things that I will someday be doing with my future children. On that list is listening to Pendragon, Journal of an Adventure through Time and Space.
It's not really fair of me to review this book, because I was ready to be done with this series after Book 7 or 8 . . . if my 11-year-old son wasn't determined to finish them (we listen together, in the evenings) I would never have gotten this far. The books themselves have some fun action scenes, but interspersed with way too much navel gazing and contrived adolescent angst. And the narrator is downright annoying. The man tries so hard to imbue every sentence with dramatic tension, the whole thing just ends up overwrought. My son and I used to joke around, pretending to be the narrator . . . "Do you . . . want some . . . ICE . . . CREAM ??!!" I was relieved when it was finished.
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