Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Never War by D.J. MacHale

April 16th, 2015
The Never War by D.J. MacHale

Let's see...Where have I left off with this series? 

Im three books deep. Let me just say, I love these books. I don't see many traditionally published series' that are this entertaining, while representing diversity.

My rating may not reflect how much I enjoy the books, but there are tons of things I can't give passes for, even with a good story.

The Never War is Book Three in the Bobby Pendragon series, a teenage boy who finds out he can travel to other worlds. 

It's easier to point out things I liked, then the factors I didn't connect with(which is often with these books XD ) so I'll do it that way, so I don't confuse with all the details =)

What I liked:

Come on, Bobby's awesome. I love Bobby. I didn't think I'd connect so much to him when I started this series, but he's hilarious. I love that he's written in a way, where he's not afraid to show vulnerability. Boys are told to be tough at times they should be allowed to show emotion.

Let's be clear. Bobby's been attacked, chased down, threatened, scared *%$&-less, shot at, had a torpedo launched at him. Give him a moment to cry for a sec!

But I don't think I can love anyone more than I do Vo Spader( Spader for short) right now! Sure...he's pent up on some sweet revenge, but wouldn't you be if you found out the person who killed your father, and created chaos in your territory(what they refer to their worlds to) was an enemy that is hellbent on messing with you, and bleeping mess up?

Im sure there are books out there where an Asian boy can to the titular character, but as far as I've seen(three books in) Bobby isn't selfish with the spotlight. 

When it's time to highlight other characters, Bobby pulls the curtains and allows other main characters to shine. 

Which comes to my next guest, Vincent Van Dyke(aka Gunny). Since they visit "First Earth"(For some reason, Earth can be re-visited in specific time frames, and are considered different territories when they are) they meet up with First Earth's Traveler, Gunny.

Gunny's role is a bit unusual because he's significantly older than most travelers(they're usually young when they realize they're travelers). While I would've loved him in a different territory, I liked seeing a Black male Traveler. It's nice to see we don't get left out of the SFF conversation, and opens up a new conversation about ageism.

MacHale is so awesome with character development, for that reason, I keep reading on. I liked the world building, but I didn't love it. Mainly because I wanted to go to a new world, but I'll take about that later on.

As always, Saint Dane is always messing stuff up. There's always conflict when he's around. I wish he were a little scarier, but I guess who needs scary when you're evil!

The title fits. Like most of the Pendragon books, the title always references something important in the book, usually an event.

The strongest part about the book is character development though =/

Things I didn't connect with:

Oh MacHale. Why oh why do you write in this style? You write such amazing characters...who TELL EVERYTHING!!!

The series itself starts when Bobby is 14 years old, so perhaps the tone of the book is intended for Middle Graders. But now that he's 15, three years shy of adulthood, his narrative just feels as though it should be stronger.

He starts sentences and end sentences very "tell-y." He also uses a lot of filler words. Outside of fiction, people tend to use tons of filler words, but since fiction relies on word counts, it could use stronger dialogue.

It also took about 180 pages(half the book) to get interesting. I've been reading for nearly a year, because every time I'd pick it up, I'd give it 50 pages to impress me, and then put it down when 50 pages certainly did not impress me.

Parts of that 180 pages were as interesting as peanut butter. I would've liked more action, but much of stems from it being a world I already knew. First Earth is set in the 1930's? Did Earth not exist unto then? Seems like a random place to travel to. Second Earth is present time, and Third Earth is the year 5010. I read this series to distance myself from Earth, and being on Earth bored me.


Loor? Where are you? Come back to me! You're my favorite character! I signed on for you, please, come back for Book 4!

So I've cast the past books, so it seems fitting to dream cast Gunny, the new traveler signing on.

I saw Denzel Washington(Don't ask me why!)
He seems like he could pull off a 1930's soft spoken hotel worker. Plus pull off a high speed gun chase!

Overall, I love the books. They're not perfect, but the characters keep you 10 feet deep!


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