Monday, December 15, 2008

The Candy Shop War

by Brandon Mull

Nate isn't too excited about his move to a new town, but he quickly befriends Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon and becomes a part of their treasure hunting club. On the first day of school they meet Mrs. White, who owns a new candy shop in town and she introduces them to her special line of candy - moon rocks, which allows you to float like you're on the moon, sweet tooths, which allows you to manipulate people with your voice, etc. In order to keep getting the special candy, the kids are soon recovering old artifacts for Mrs. White in more and more dangerous situations. Is all really as it seems? Is helping Mrs. White really helping the villain?

I really wanted to like this book. The premise was really interesting, and I enjoyed Mull's first book, Fablehaven. However, I just couldn't really get in to the story. The characters all felt a little flat. While the kids had fun together, I didn't really understand why they were friends.

Also, in order to get away with breaking in to a museum, etc Mrs. White had the kids drug their parents (and most of the town) with white fudge. For some reason that made me super uncomfortable. I realize that for most fantasy stories to work, the parents have to be out of the picture (it seems like they are usually dead, but kidnapped or deadbeat works too) but somehow drugging the whole town just seemed wrong.

There were some enjoyable scenes though. My favorite is when a substitute comes in to Nate's class and writes on the board "Do not take candy from strangers" and then explains why that is important. For whatever reason, it totally cracked me up, although in trying to explain it the scene sounds totally lame.

3 out of 5 stars

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