Sunday, September 9, 2012

Middle School Magic, A Review of Braden Bell's THE KINDLING

A pair of headlights drove around the corner, piercing the darkness. “Okay, there’s my mom,” Melanie said.

As the car turned fully, the lights caught a man standing in the middle of the street halfway down the block. His black cape flapped, while the wind whipped and blew his long hair.

“Mel—look at that guy!” Lexa grabbed Melanie’s arm and shivered as something like a swarm of ants with frozen cleats ran up and down her skin.

The darkness seemed thicker and heavier near him, as if the light from the car was scared to get too close. “Creepy! Where did he come from?” Melanie said as her mother pulled into the driveway. She shivered, too. “Glad we don’t have to wait out here anymore. Bye, Lexa!”

Melanie ran to the minivan, and a moment later, she and her mother drove away.

Lexa turned to go inside her house, but she couldn’t. Some kind of power radiated out from the man, drawing her to him, even though she wanted to look away. He made her spirit feel sick to its stomach, but she was frozen.

Braden Bell is king of the inventive simile and he proves this over and over in his latest book, The Kindling.

The word “kindle’ refers to the process where a teenager who has a dormant, unknown, exceptional power finds out that the power has become active. This story is about three teens, twins Connor and Lexie and their friend Melanie, who ‘kindle’ and are thus marked by the dark powers for extinction. This book is about how they fight on the side of the power of light, along with music teacher, Dr. Timberi, English teacher, Mrs. Grant, and other deceptively familiar people.

Braden Bell is not only king of the original simile, but he also is inventive in crafting his action sequences. One fairly decisive battle takes place in the Small World ride at Disney World. It’s mayhem in the Magic Kingdom.

I don’t read a lot of middle grade books. This book did not convert me to the genre. But I love words, I like the way Braden Bell strings them together, and I’d certainly read another Braden Bell book.

Here’s the website for the book:  You can find out more about it there and see some scenes from the book.
I was given a digital copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it with the understanding that my review would be unbiased.

~~~~~~~~~~~ I'd love to have you follow my blog. I'm back in the saddle now after moving south 1000 miles. Look for more reviews, recipes and random thoughts.


Donna K. Weaver said...

What a creepy excerpt!

Liz Adair said...

Yeah, Donna, Braden does a great job of describing the effects of the dark side.

Braden said...

Thanks, Liz! Glad things are settling down for you.