Book review: 'The Kindling' is a middle reader novel that tells of battle of light vs. dark

By Ashlynn Green

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, April 20 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"MIDDLE SCHOOL MAGIC, Book 1: The Kindling," by Braden Bell, Sweetwater Books, $14.99, 304 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

“The Kindling,” by Braden Bell, is an adventurous tale for middle-school-age readers that will leave them wanting to read more.

This fast-paced novel depicts the journey of three best friends as they learn about their newfound superpowers and that they are Magi, but not all of them feel so happy about it. After being convinced that their teachers are trying to kill them, they find out they have a much larger fate — to use their powers of light and develop their skills as a Magi.

Thirteen-year-old Connor and Lexa Dell have a strong bond to each other because they’re twins. Their mother and their friend Melanie Stephens’ mother's friendship goes way back to the same college sorority.

Teens their age have been disappearing all over town, they couldn’t help but worry if that was going to happen to them. Worse was that when they were finally allowed to tell their parents, Mr. Dell forbid them to continue training. On the spring break trip they’d been planning on for weeks, things take an unpleasant turn of events, and their new skills and friendships are tested when the enemy Darkhands are out to get them.

The inspiration behind "The Kindling" came from when author and Brigham Young Univeristy graduate Braden Bell was serving as a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while teaching music and theater at a middle school. One windy night, his teenage children came home from a Wednesday night church activity and said they had seen a man wearing a cape walking across neighbor's lawns. Bell said, "Everything sort of clicked and I stayed up most of the night writing some of the fight scenes."

This novel is action-packed and does have some violence involving knives, murders and battle between light and dark, which can be understood as good and evil, putting yourself in danger to save your loved ones, and other small encounters. There is no foul language or inappropriate situations.

“The Kindling” was the first installment in the Middle School Magic series. The second book, “Penumbras,” is set to be released this July 9.

Ashlynn Green is a wife, a daughter, a sister, a pug-lover and a huge believer of the family. Her email is ashlynn@screamoproductions.com.

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