Reviewed by Christian Roulland Kueng
Sky Raiders is the first in a series called Five Kingdoms by best selling author, Brandon Mull. Mull is also the author responsible for the Fablehaven and Beyonders series, in addition to picture books Pingo and Pingo and the Playground Bully.
During what starts out as a fun Halloween with a visit to a weird haunted house, Cole Randolph and his friends, Dalton and Jenna, discover something more sinister happening in the basement. Cole watches as his friends and many other children are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious place which he quickly learns is the Outskirts. A compendium of five kingdoms, the Outskirts is an extraordinary land with magic and castles in the sky. When Cole is swept away, he’s enslaved as a sky raider, the ones who raid and pillage the Outskirts. He arrives just as the balance of power shifts, and the magic there is becoming unstable.
For a sixth grade student, Cole is a courageous individual who is willing to do what ever he needs in order to rescue his friends who have been sold to the High King. His unwavering loyalty to them is commendable. Cole doesn’t have time to settle into his new life as a sky raider when he is thrust into another adventure on his mission to find and help Dalton and Jenna. He meets a very unusual and secretive girl name Mira and helps her escape. Mull pens a story that moves quickly and includes a great deal of action with minimal violence which parents will appreciate.
This first book acquaints the readers to the five kingdoms and the characters who live in the Outskirts. It begins the captivating tale in this world that exists between reality and imagination. I look forward to reading and learning more about what lays ahead for Cole in those other kingdoms. Knowing that there are other books to follow, it is safe to predict that Cole isn’t going home anytime soon.
Brandon Mull has created an imaginative and marvelous fantasy adventure. It’s a novel that will attract a wide audience from young adults to grown ups who are fond of this genre.