Monday, January 28, 2013
The Candy Shop War, by Brandon Mull- Review
What if there were a place where you could get magical candy? Moon rocks that made you feel weightless. Jawbreakers that made you unbreakable. Or candy that gave animals temporary human intelligence and communication skills. (Imagine what your pet would say!) Four young friends, Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, are befriended by Belinda White, the owner of a new candy shop on Main Street. However, the gray- haired, grandmotherly Mrs. White is not an ordinary candy maker. Her confections have magical side effects. Purposefully, she invites the kids on a special mission to retrieve a hidden talisman under Mt. Diablo Elementary School. However, Mrs. White is not the only magician in town in search of the ancient artifact rumored to be a fountain of youth. She is aware that Mr. Stott, the not- so- ordinary ice cream truck driver, has a few tricks of his own.
I love the concept behind this book. Evil magician candy shop owners, cool. I also really liked the group of kids, and the balance of not knowing exactly who is bad, who is good, and what is stepping over the line. But I missed the whimsy and humour that Fablehaven was so full of. I know right? Evil magician candy shop wars and no whimsy? I guess it just took itself a little more seriously than Fablehaven. Which isn't to say that Fablehaven didn't have a serious plot line, but it had great moments of levity, come on- "Frito Lay!".
That being said, The Candy Shop War was full of Mull's usual genius when it comes to imaginative wonders. Between the magical candies, the complex hierarchy of the magicians and those used to control them, and the fantastical trouble a group of kids can get into when given the chance to dabble in it all, there was much to set an imagination on fire.
Although I don't think that The Candy Shop War is as technically masterful as Fablehaven, I imagine that would be something that would only bother older readers, as it more than makes up for it in the wonderful world he's created. I'm also curious, since even Fablehaven had a weaker first book, if the writing becomes a bit stronger in book two Arcade Catastrophe. It's awaiting me on the teetering bookshelf of To-Be-Read's, so we'll see!
The Candy Shop War, by Brandon Mull
Published by Shadow Mountain, September 2007
Buy The Candy Shop War on Amazon