jazzonia: (TV - Lost - Doctor Jack)
jazzonia ([personal profile] jazzonia) wrote2008-08-18 03:37 pm
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Pendragon #9: Raven Rise

Now, I know that the Pendragon books are generally aimed at an audience of 12-16 year-old boys, but I really do like the series. Gets a little dull from time to time (Quillan Games took me about two weeks to finish), but the concept is a great mix of realistic fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia. I've followed the series since my uncle bought me a copy of the first book just after it came out, when I was still in grade school, and cannot wait for the tenth book to come out.

I really liked Raven Rise, which is quite the accomplishment, since book nine of any series (or 7+, if we're being honest) generally doesn't manage to captivate its audience the way the first few did. Before we go into spoiler-level details, I'll give a general review. D.J. MacHale has this tendency to make action scenes too intense and uninterrupted, at least for my tastes; Quillan Games was one huge chase scene, which is why it is not one of my favorite Pendragon books. Anyway, this one was a really excellent balance of action and not-action, Pendragon and the acolytes, flume-hopping and sitting around, etc. Also, having a lower overall intensity allowed for major advancing of the plot, nicely paired with stretches to let things simmer in our brains. Also, some questions get answered! More on that below.


I think that this book was so likable, in large part, because it took place on Second Earth in a very Hitler-like situation that is fresh enough in history's memory to hurt. The ideas that Saint Dane has been advocating all along sound almost alluring during his one-on-one scenes with Bobby, and it's certainly not hard to follow the logic of his 'disciples.' I like that in an author, to be able to coerce readers into seeing evil's logic. Because really, in those last few pages before Bobby's entrance into Traveler-heaven (more on that later), it's hard to tell who the good guys really are.

The cover art was really cool as well -- not unusual of a Pendragon book, but very fitting in this case. Rivers of Zadaa remains my favorite book in terms of cover art, but Raven Rise has got to be the most provocative. The Hitler imagery is apparent enough to make you shiver, but not too obvious. And Bobby? He's fairly mouthwatering.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, D.J., for not letting all those Travelers die! Generally I'd condemn a deus ex machina like the "nothingness" with all the dead Travelers in, but this was really fitting. Travelers are illusions, right? As soon as that was beaten into our heads, I knew something more was coming. Though are Mark and Courtney dead? I kinda skimmed the action-sequence pages, so I'm not positive. Must re-read later.

Though, D.J., you've got to have an amazing explanation up your sleeve, or else I will be one frustrated fan. Seriously, buddy. Pay up.

(spoilers finished)

I'm very much looking forward to three books that D.J. MacHale has coming out called Travelers 1,2, and 3, which tell the backstories of each of the travelers from the nine territories other than Second Earth. I've always wondered about that sort of thing, and hopefully D.J. does a good job with it! Knowing him, these three editions will serve to enrich the Pendragon universe. They come out in January, February, and March of 2009.