Book Review: The Kindling by Braden Bell

The Kindling by Braden Bell

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Available in ebook or paperback format on July 10th, 2012.

(Some middle of the book spoilers, but not the ending)

I think this is the first book where I feel like it deserves two reviews, written in opposing perspectives.  One for the actual targeted audience of pre-teens and the other for the adults who adore this genre.  So here it goes:

Attention MG students:  (5/5)

This is a fun book to read.  Buy it.  There’s magic, whimsical characters, and a whole lot of kick-ass.  Dr. Timberi is the ringleader in this circus of people defending the Kindled students against the Darkhands.  There are many references to pop culture splattered through the book that will get you giggling.

Attention MG adults: (3/5)

 Certain discrepencies and cliches will drive you bonkers.  There are far too many characters for this book to handle and nearly all the adults are useless and have no depth.  Only Dr. Timberi feels like an actual person.  He’s a pretty cool character and definitely the star.  Also, some of the events aren’t logical.  No matter how magical a universe, if children disappear from their homes on the way home for school, there is zero chance that parents will continue to send their kids to school day after day, particularly when more and more kids disappear each day.  Not going to happen.  Also, if all of your children’s teachers tell Mommy and Daddy that there is an evil man behind these disappearances and only will proper training can they survive…they’re either going to skip town or they’re going to believe the teachers.  Mommy and Daddy aren’t logically going to tell the teachers that they’re full of BS and yet continue to allow their kids to go to that school.

I’d like to warn Braden Bell of a potential PETA picket for managing to euthanize the entire dog population of Nashville, Tennessee in a single sentence.  I’m not quite sure why Fluffy, Fluffy’s family, and all of Fluffy’s friends deserved to die.  But they did.

The plot itself is fairly action pack and fun.  The action scenes are probably my favorite part of the novel, as they feel authentic to what I’d imagine a MG would experience caught in a similar situation.  The author does put the characters in harmful, suspenseful situations, while still keeping the novel PG.  Overall, it is an entertaining story that middle grade students will like.  Adults will find the cracks in this story, but I doubt pre-teens will.

Characters 3/5

Concept 3/5

Pacing 5/5

Grammar 5/5

Ending 5/5


All thirteen-year-old Conner Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. He didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire or make school lunches explode. But now that the strange powers inside him have been ignited, Conner’s normal teenage life is about to go up in flames!

This fast-paced novel is non-stop fun for kids and parents alike. With characters you can’t help but root for, a plot that keeps you guessing, and plenty of humor, it’s a guaranteed thrill ride from cover to cover!

Grade: B

This book will appeal to middle grade students.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book, you can buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble on July 10th, 2012.  More reviews are available at Goodreads.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  (On a side note, my ARC copy had a funny error.  The word “feeling” was replaced by “theeling”…and it cracked me up every time I caught it.  I’m sure it will be fixed in the published edition.  “Anyways, I have a theeling.”  Haha!)


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