Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Candy Shop War

I've had the evil never-ending cold this week, so a children's book sounded like something I could handle while under the influence of cold medicine. I got more than I bargained for in this book. While it is definitely a children's book, the writing was very good and there was a lot in the book for an adult as well.
The realization that this wasn't just another kid's book came about two chapters in when I began to feel very uncomfortable and debated on quitting the book entirely. There is a section where the children are being invited by what seems like a very nice person to run errands and such in. All of the normal rules are being followed, she doesn't just give them stuff, they have to earn their reward and there is nothing overtly wrong, but as an adult, you can tell something is.
I was amazed at the ability of the author to write a section where the children acted very realistically, but as an adult, you could see the problems and feel suspicious of a character. Usually when this happens in a book, it is because the main character is an idiot. Like in a horror movie when the entire audience is saying,"DON"T GO INTO THE MYSTERIOUS, DARK AND GLOOMY CELLAR!" and the character does anyway.
The brilliant thing about Mull's writing is that you don't feel the children are being stupid or willfully blind. That is the squirm factor, they are just being kids and the bad character is taking advantage of that very skillfully. That isn't really much of a spoiler because lots of other good things happen and the ending had a great twist.
So if you know a kid that likes suspense and a bit of action, this would be a great book, but if you are a grown-up, beware.

The Candy Shop War. Brandon Mull. Shadowhaven. 2007

1 comment:

jendoop said...

I just have to tell you that my kids don't take my book suggestions anymore. The older two roll their eyes at me. Neither one will even approach Little House On the Prairie because I recommended it. So I don't dare recommend the books on your site for fear of tainting the whole genre for them.

I'll gently lead R. to your site one day in hopes that she'll find new things to explore. She's stuck on one or two series and then waits for new ones to come out. A. is now into Nancy Drew, which is fun, I'll let it run it's course before leading her to something else.