Jeremy's Reviews > The Merchant of Death

The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
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's review
Sep 18, 2011

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Read in January, 2002 , read count: 3

What all began with a simple kiss between potential lovers - Pendragon throws the reader into a versatile world full of both excitement and danger. The book, starting out, seems to be another traditionalist approach to the "coming-of-age" scenario. The protagonist is a boy who is a sports star, has great friends, an amazing family, a hot and sexy crush, and is just the cookie-cutter approach to a "hero" archetype. This boy has a big important sports game coming up and runs into his crush and, fireworks flying, plants one on her. Then enters our next major player, the Uncle. He comes in and crashes the sexy party and then voila, whisks Bobby away from his potential girlfriend and starts talking all cryptic-like about people needing help and that whole shebang. Following very much the traditional path of the hero put into foundation by the late Joseph Cambell, Bobby follows the path of a hero very well. The call has been made, thresholds have been crossed, and temptations and trials have ensued.

D.J. MacHale has laid the foundations to a fantastic universe in this first book. "The Merchant of Death" was given three stars because it is the setup book. There are some slow parts to the action and some of the more cliche moments make the story trudge through mud at points, but overall, this is a solid beginning to a fantastic series. The whole story sets up a storyline that is one of the most intricate in the market of today's rehashed "Twilight" books. The characters are memorable. Mark Dimond is one of the most intriguing characters of fiction today. Saint Dane is one of my favorite villains of all literary time, even more so than Voldemort in some regards. Saint Dane is a vicious and sadistic killer that defies the cliche boundaries that plagues novels of this type throughout the industry.

"The Merchant of Death" is a good beginning to what became a fantastic and amazing series. Some plot points were not needed and some of the action and characters were very cliche, but for setting up a universe that entails a minimum of 20 major characters and 10 major plot lines and 10 very different and amazing locales, D.J. MacHale has done himself proud in this first book.

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