Heidi's Reviews > The Kindling

The Kindling by Braden Bell
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Wow! I just finished this book and what a ride! I am very excited to share this book with my students in a couple of months, I think they'll love it. With plenty of action, interesting and diverse characters and great settings (the Sanctuary sounds like a place I'd love to visit when I'm stressed out), this book is sure to win lots of fans. The book is really, really intense at times, but nothing inappropriate for a middle grade audience, although I think plenty of young adults as well as adults will enjoy it as well.

The story centers on three seventh graders, Connor, his twin sister Lexa, and Lexa's best friend (and Connor's crush) Melanie. When strange things start happening, the three students are confused. They become even more confused and scared when it appears that the teachers are out to get them. A strange black stalker, teachers who seem to appear out of nowhere, and thoughts that seem to cause things to happen lead Connor, Lexa, and Melanie into an adventure of a lifetime as they learn to use the power of the Light. The fight between Light and Dark contines as it has for millenia and Connor, Lexa, and Melanie find themselves fighting for their lives.

Characters: Connor, Lexa, and Melanie are great characters, each true to his/her nature. Melanie hates lying but loves prealgebra. Lexa has a powerful intuition and isn't afraid to say what she thinks. Connor exercises his strong spirit against bullies and tries to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. I also found the teachers to be a wonderful addition to the story. In too many stories, teachers are the enemies, but here we see teachers as human beings with strengths and weaknesses, reminds me of Harry Potter in that regard.

Setting: Most of the story takes place at Connor, Lexa's and Melanie's school, but I think my favorite scenes occurred while the kids were in a car, on the "It's a Small World" ride at Disney World (what a fight!), and in the Sanctuary. I did wish we got to spend more time at the Sanctuary, it would have been a nice breather as this book picks up pace quickly and doesn't slow down until the very end.

Plot: All I can say is wow. What a great story with twists and turns, hints and clues, but most of all, sheer courage. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a hard-to-put down, stay up till midnight kind of read.
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