26 June 2016

Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers Book Review

Brandon Mull, a modern fantasy author renowned for his inventive tales and descriptive language recently published his most recent work in his critically acclaimed Five Kingdoms Series: Death Weavers. Although this is the fourth book in the series, this work is not necessarily his best in the series thus far. This series details the adventures of Cole, a teenager abducted from our world, and his efforts to restore balance throughout the Outskirts, the intricately crafted world of the Five Kingdoms Series.

Plot: In relation to the plot, although the overall arc of the Five Kingdoms Series is intriguing and engaging, this work was lacking in the development of the plot. The introductory action of the novel was decently written. Within this introductory action, Cole strikes a bargain with an echo, (a wandering soul equivalent to a ghost). Mull then expertly foreshadows the severity and possible ramifications of this seemingly harmless bargain. However, as the consequential occurrences of this bargain unravel, the plot soon begins to unravel as well. His friends captured, Cole is alone, forced to rectify his mistakes by entering the echolands, an intermediary stage in the afterlife. Although I will not delve into the specific conditions of the echolands, within this setting, Cole treks across great distances to visit and converse with a series of people in hope of discovering the whereabouts of Destiny Pemberton, a princess that is critical to the revolution enacted throughout the arc of the Five Kingdoms Series. Although this in itself is a stable plot, as Cole continues to converse with others in the echolands, he is consistently redirected to another person that possesses the crucial information . Thus, the plot becomes redundant and unnecessary.

Setting: The setting of this novel is my favorite aspect of this work. Consisting of two contrasting environments - the echolands and the deadlands, these two regions compose the kingdom of the Necronum afterlife within the Outskirts.
 - (echolands) - Vivid descriptions, character to Mull's writing style, are seamlessly woven into the plot as this setting is characterized. However, the most intriguing aspect of Mull's description of the afterlife is the clever and original decision to incorporate various sounds into the setting - intertwining these sounds through correspondence with the inanimate and breathing objects of the echolands.

 - (deadlands) - Contrasting to the echolands is the deadlands, decaying territories directly opposite to the idyllic paradise of the echolands. The deadlands are ominous settings, adding depth to the darkness lurking there.

Characters: Mull's characters are often complex - acting in predictable and habitual manners and are thus perceived as authentic and believable. However, in this novel, although certain characters develop, some remain static throughout the novel - imprisoned or undeveloped.

 - Cole - Cole, the primary protagonist of the series, is the character within this novel that develops the most. Although Cole primarily exemplifies a glorious bravery, in this novel, without his companions, Mull represents the vulnerable aspect of Cole's character - introducing a more desperate courage than his expected bravery.

 - Mira/Jace - Although these two character are briefly mentioned - after their capture toward the beginning of the novel, they are imprisoned for the majority of the novel and do not develop. Although I acknowledge that in order for the vulnerability of Cole to be represented the absence of his companions was necessary, Mull could have included some description of their imprisonment or possibly failed attempts at escaping.

This is my first book review (ever). I hope you found this review informative and engaging. Although my recommendation of this book is not great, I do recommend investing the time in reading the Five Kingdoms Series, as the series itself is very interesting. If you would like to read other books by Brandon Mull, you can visit his website here.


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