Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 10 hours and 26 minutes (358 pages)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: May 30, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Candy Shop Wars series
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
I am a big Brandon Mull fan; I loved his Fablehaven series, am enjoying his five Kingdoms series, but wasn’t a huge fan of his Beyonders series. I was eager to finally read The Candy Shop Wars which I have had on my shelf for awhile. The book ended up being a bit disappointing; I had some trouble engaging in the story and the characters.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was decent. The narrator was fine and easy to listen to.
Nate has just moved to a new town with his parents and is well on his way to making friends with some of the neighbor kids: Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon. Then a new candy shop opens up in town called Sweet Tooth. The owner of the new candy shop, Belinda White, is a sweet matronly woman who asks the foursome to run a couple errands for her. If they complete the errands she says that she will give them some very special magical candy. However as the errands get more and more sinister, and the magical candy less and less benign, this foursome begins to wonder if they are working with the right side.
This book starts out with a really well done prologue about a man named Jack who can’t hurt people lest that hurt be revisited on him. The prologue doesn’t really match with the rest of the story all that well, but it did hook me right away.
The rest of the story was less exciting. Magical candy seems like a really really cool idea…and it kind of is. I was a bit disappointed in the variety and function of the magical candy and also a little disappointed in how quickly a wondrous item turned into a weapon.
None of the characters really stand out all that much. Our four heroes are pretty stereotypical. Nate is the fearless leader and is rash and mouthy. Summer is the logical one that makes everyone stop and think and plan. Trevor is your basic sidekick variety and Pigeon is the super geeky brainy one. None of them really intrigued me or grabbed me. I guess I did enjoy the other magician in the book, Mr. Stott he is a kindly ice cream truck driver. I also really enjoyed the character of Jack who was introduced in the prologue and wished he had been in the story more.
The plot itself is okay but pretty predictable. I could have told you Ms. White was up to no good right away, but it takes these kids half the book to figure it out. Things get a little mind bending when time travel starts being involved. The magic and how magicians come to be was never explained very well, nor was any explanation given for how they fit into the bigger picture. So, world building was a bit weak as well.
Overall an okay book but felt a bit bland to me considering what it could have been. I love the idea of magical candy and magicians, but had trouble engaging with the characters and the plot was just too predictable. I kind of felt like the story in general was a bit boring. This was an okay read but I would definitely recommend Mull’s other series more than this one. His Fablehaven series is my absolutely favorite.