Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pendragon: #1 The Merchant of Death

For another leisure reading and counting the clock to the release of City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare I decided to pick up the Pendragon series #1 The Merchant of Death by D.J. Machale. I first saw the Pendragon series on a Book fair shelf and have been keeping it mind to check it out later. Now I had the time to actually read and listen to the stuff (got both eBook and audio book of the whole series) and I kinda liked it,  it was not exactly amazing but on the scale of good…cause it was very much different from any other series I have read so far and I like to experiment with my reading choices.
Here is how the summary goes like:
Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby. He is going to save the world. And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn’t quite what he thought it was. And before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution. If Bobby wants to see his family again, he’s going to have to accept his role as savior, and accept it wholeheartedly. Because, as he is about to discover, Denduron is only the beginning………….

The popular fantasy time-travel series makes a smooth transition to audio with Dufris at the helm, using his upbeat delivery and believable teen rhythms to keep listeners enthralled. Bobby Pendragon is a fairly normal fourteen-year-old high school student. He lives with his parents, his little sister and his dog Marley. He also has a favorite cool uncle, who he sees periodically over the years. One evening, just before the big game, Bobby’s Uncle Press shows up at his house and asks him to trust him, ask no questions and to come with him at once. Bobby reluctantly agrees, and unwittingly follows his uncle to another world, known as Denduron. Denduron is a primitive world which is ruled by a vicious tyrant and is on the cusp of a revolution. Uncle Press informs Bobby that he is the chosen one, and it’s up to him to save this world…and possibly his own. Totally unprepared, missing his family and friends, Bobby wants nothing to do with the strange task he has been set. But when Uncle Press’ life is threatened, Bobby shows that he just may have what it takes to save the universe.

The Merchant of Death is the first book in a projected series starring Bobby Pendragon. Written alternately in third person, and in first person accounts by Bobby (he finds a magical way to send his letter to his best friends Mark and Courtney), the story follows both Bobby’s adventures in Denduron, and Mark and Courtney’s activities back on Earth as they react to Bobby’s mysterious disappearance. Bobby is a likeable teen and his reactions ring true, but Uncle Press is incredibly annoying at times. His continuing refusal to explain anything at all to Bobby creates most of the problems that Bobby could have handled if he had just been given some simple instructions about how to travel between worlds and what the rules are. Mark and Courtney are great characters; one hopes that they get to join in future adventures, instead of just sitting on the sidelines reading Bobby’s mail. 

One of the most refreshing things about this book is that Bobby is a very realistic character. He starts out fairly selfish, but not in an awful way, just in a “I’m a kid and I want to go home and I’m scared because people want to kill me!” sort of way. You can hardly blame him. But ultimately, he is a good kid who does the right thing, even though it is hard and dangerous. Nothing he does is particularly extraordinary and yet the end result is something unbelievable.

There are two types of chapters: journal chapters and regular chapters. The journal chapters are firsthand accounts written by Bobby about what has happened to him. The regular chapters are about Mark (Bobby’s best friend) and Courtney (Bobby’s sort of but not really girlfriend) as they search for Bobby and read his journals. The biggest flaw to the book is that it completely lacks suspense. There is never fear that they may not get out of whatever situation they are in. By the very nature of the format, you know it all worked out in the end (more or less). If Bobby wrote it, then he had to live long enough to do so. I also find Mark and Courtney’s storylines 99% pointless. Think about how much more shocking the ending of the book would have been if we didn’t know his parents had disappeared until the moment he discovers it?

I’m assuming that the journals will turn out be important later in the series (at least, there seem to be hints that they will be and if MacHale is a writer of any talent, they will be), but to be honest, I’m not sure I liked it enough to keep reading to find out. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, it just lacks the edge of my seat aspect that I’ve come to expect from an action-adventure novel……but i’ll have to think maybe I can give the whole series a run-through.

Genre :      Fiction, Young Adult, Coming of Age

Publisher: Simon & Shuester

Rate:              4/5 (really liked it)


  1. Thanks for the review. I am seriously considering writing a YA fantasy myself (have the plot all worked out in my head) and it's good to know what readers want out of their books. Reward for the time invested is very important. You can find my reviews at



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