Jul 102013
 

Penumbras 2x3 Penumbras

Author: Braden Bell

Publisher: Sweetwater Books

Published: July 9th, 2013

ISBN13: 9781462112203

Paperback: 304 pages

FTC FYI: Received a PDF copy in exchange for a honest review.  Plan on purchasing a copy.

Reviewed by Mindy

Book Blurb

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.

My Review
I love being able to review books like this.  Penumbras is a fun, adventurous book with heart, humor, and action.  I love this Magi world that Braden has created.  The Darkhands are evil, evil, evil.  But one has a secret, and I really enjoyed the twist to that.  I loved how the plot twists and the action scenes come about.  Braden has created characters that you will care about instantly and worry about.  The action starts right away and doesn’t let you go until the end.  *Possible Spoiler* There is a scene at the end that broke my heart as much as it broke when Dumbledore died.  The ending is beautifully written with a lovely surprise.
4 out of 5 stars.  Penumbras is a Book 2.  Although Braden does a great job of recapping what happened in Book 1, I would read The Kindling first.
Author Links
Purchase Links
There is also a Rafflecopter giveaway with Braden’s Blog Tour.  It is running now through August 10 at 12:00 am.
Here is the first chapter for you to get a sample of this fun book.

CHAPTER ONE

SHADOW PUPPETS

Conner Dell didn’t mean 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.

It all started on the annual seventh grade science trip to the Sea Lab at Dauphin Island, Alabama. Fifty-four thirteen-year-olds on a five-day field trip. What could go wrong?

Especially when three of them happened to be Magi.

For a fraction of a second, Conner thought he saw shadows slithering along the base of the cinderblock walls. Tensing, he blinked and looked again.

Nothing. He was alone in the darkness of his dorm room.

Well, except for his friend and fieldtrip roommate, Pilaf.

Across the room, Pilaf disturbed the darkness by turning his flashlight on and digging through a giant floral print suitcase. Fishing a book out, Pilaf hunched over, tucked the flashlight under his chin, and read.

“What are you reading?” Conner asked.

“Sorry. Did I wake you up?” Pilaf squeaked. “I couldn’t sleep. I guess I slept too much on the bus.”

“No worries.” Conner burrowed into his sleeping bag. He didn’t like messing with sheets on these trips. The springs of the ancient bed creaked beneath him. “I’m not sleepy either.” Lexa? Can you hear me? Conner reached out in his thoughts, wondering if his twin sister was awake in her room on the girls’s floor. Head-talking was a cool benefit of being one of the Magi—a secret group of warriors who used the power of Light to battle evil.

No answer from Lexa. Her allergy medicine must have knocked her out.

Melanie? He tried Lexa’s best friend, Melanie Stephens—also one of the Magi-in-training. Conner listened for her response, trying to ignore the backflip in his chest that came when he thought of her. No answer. Melanie had taken something for motion sickness on the bus. She must be knocked out too.

Conner jerked up as something skittered across the ceiling right above him. No doubt this time. He grabbed his own flashlight, raking the beam across the ceiling tiles as someone whispered his name.

Coooonnerrrrrr.

“What?” Conner pointed his flashlight at Pilaf, who looked up from his book, blinking behind his thick glasses. Pilaf’s blinks always reminded Conner of the way a light on a computer blinked when it processed data.

“What?” Pilaf squinted back at him.

“Why did you call me?” Conner asked.

“I didn’t.” Pilaf looked down at his book.

On edge now, Conner lay back down, scanning the room for more shadowy movement, his fingers ready to snap his flashlight back on at any second.

Co-n-n-e-r-r-r-r-r-r D-e-l-l-l-l-l.

A whispered, hissing sort of growl sounded in his head as a flicker of movement caught his eye. He whipped his head around in time to see a shadowy tail vanish under Pilaf’s bed. Flipping his flashlight on, he investigated the space under the metal frame.

Nothing there.

“What are you doing, Conner?” Pilaf managed to blink and stare at the same time.

Trying to protect you from slithery shadow monsters that could slurp your soul like a slushie, Conner thought. How could he keep the flashlight on without alarming Pilaf? Out loud, he said, “Uh, it’s a game. Flashlight tag. You’re it.” He shined the flashlight at Pilaf.

“How do you play?”

“Well . . . one person’s it and he shines a flashlight all over the room.”

“That’s all?” Pilaf blinked until Conner wondered if he was broadcasting the telephone book in Morse code. “It seems kind of pointless.”

“Uh, yeah.” Conner said. “You’re right. Lame. How about shadow puppets?” He slipped his hand in front of the flashlight, wiggling his fingers until the shadow resembled a horse.

“Cool!” Pilaf shouted.

A knock at the door interrupted them and a tired-looking science teacher poked his head in, glaring beneath tousled red hair. “What’s going on in here?”

“Sorry, Mr. Keller,” Pilaf said. “We slept on the bus ride, so we’re not tired. Conner’s making shadows with his hands. Look, a horse!”

“Neeeiiiiggghhh.” Conner threw in sound effects as a special feature.

Apparently unimpressed with great art, Mr. Keller frowned. “Get some sleep. We have a full day tomorrow.”

“Yes, sir.” Conner swallowed his depression at the thought of a five-day science class. Five days of plankton, ocean salinity, salt marshes, and beach ecology. Five days of science, 24/7. At least they were close to the beach. That might be fun.

“Do another one,” Pilaf whispered as the sound of Mr. Keller’s footsteps retreated down the hall.

“Okay, but be quiet this time.” Conner opened his fingers, making a snake’s mouth, complete with a flickering tongue.

It seemed so real that Conner thought he heard a hiss. Unsettled, he dropped his hands, but the hissing noise continued, twisting into words.

Co-n-n-e-r-r-r-r-r-r D-e-l-l-l-l-l—

Trying to squash the sound, Conner raised his voice. “Here’s another one.” He cupped his hands on top of each other, stuck his thumb up, and opened his fingers slightly.

“Wow!” Pilaf yelled. “A wolf!” He giggled as Conner opened the mouth and growled. “Little pig, little pig let me come in.” Conner prayed that none of the other seventh-grade boys heard he’d been doing Three Little Pigs shadow plays. That would not be cool.

Co-n-n-e-r-r-r-r-r-r D-e-l-l-l-l-l—

The weird voice came louder. Conner dropped his hands away from the flashlight.

The wolf head stayed there.

Fighting panic, Conner switched the flashlight off, but the wolf head remained, darker than the darkest shadows on the wall.

It stretched and grew bigger, becoming life-sized within seconds. It turned and stared at Conner, a three-dimensional head sticking out of the wall like some kind of freaky hunting souvenir.

The wolf growled, then jumped off the wall, and sailed across the room toward Conner.

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  4 Responses to “Penumbras by Braden Bell — Blog Tour/Giveaway”

  1. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed that review. What a nice compliment!

  2. Thanks for reviewing this book. I was wondering when the second book was coming out. I loved the first book and know that kids will really enjoy this fast paced, fun series. I might even use it as a read aloud book in my class this year.

    • Julie, if you end up using it, please know I would love to chat with your class via Skype or email. No pressure, but as a teacher myself, I really enjoy that! If you are interested, you can contact me at braden (at) bradenbell (dot) com!

  3. [...] Mindy, LDSWBR. 4 stars. “A fun, adventurous book with heart, humor, and action.  I love this Magi world that Braden has created.  The Darkhands are evil, evil, evil.  But one has a secret, and I really enjoyed the twist to that.  I loved how the plot twists and the action scenes come about.  Braden has created characters that you will care about instantly and worry about.  The action starts right away and doesn’t let you go until the end.” [...]

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