Conner Dell didn't meant to blow up the school bus.
Or the bathrooms.
In fact, he only wanted to go to sleep and possibly dream about Melanie Stephens.
But explosions had a funny way of happening when Conner and his friends were around.
Conner Dell wants to be good--he really does. But he is terrified that he might be turning into a Darkhand, especially when new powers start to surface. What's worse, the Stalker is following Conner, but no one else seems to be able to see him. The Magi think he might be hallucinating, the guilt of what happened in the Shadowbox keeps weighing on him, and his relationship with Melanie Stephens is complicating things. Even for a Magi, Conner knows his life is anything but normal.
Want a roller coaster ride without all the hassle of an amusement park? The constant action and challenges Conner and his friends face will have you holding on for dear life. Just like poor Conner. I've read through Penumbras multiple times, and let me say each time has only pulled me in more. The characterization is awesome. I mean, let's take a few kids whose worst initial fear about Middle School was probably fitting in, and give them powers. And relationship problems. And relationship problems enhanced by their powers. Oi!
But that's not all. The story's message of dark versus light goes far deeper than mere troubles with homework and issues of jealousy. It delves deep into the aspect of what is real. That gray area, that succeeds in confusing the best of us, grabs hold of each Penumbras character and seeks to bring their nightmares to life. Hope becomes ever more illusive as the Light in each of them struggles to win.
And for that, I just love Pilaf. Always the optimist. Always grateful for what he has. He stands to remind others of who they are, what they have, and life's possibilities if they all just keep trying. And I just loved that. "I knew it!" was the common phrase amongst the teen readers in my house, cheering for the characters as they continued their journey into becoming something more than themselves.
The plot was excellent in its ability to bring the reader up to speed from the first book, while building the tension for the ever increasing challenges they faced in this one. And let's be honest...few books have made me laugh out loud. This was one of them. There are some great lines that are just SO spot on.
Well done, Braden. Well done.
- You can find all the magic here, at the Penumbras website, where there are trailers, photos, and sample chapters to read.
- Both Penumbras and The Kindling (first one in the series) are also for sale via the website here for a steep discount--$9.99 (plus s/h)!
- They're also available through Amazon here and Barnes and Noble here!
Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah and graduated from Davis High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife, Meredith live with their five children on a quiet, wooded lot outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog.