“Five Kingdoms, Sky Raiders” – Does This Series Break From the Quest Formula in Fantasy?

Book Review : Five Kingdoms, Sky Raiders
By Brandon Mull

Spoiler Alert!



Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them and ends up in The Outskirts. The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds.

And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.

With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home; before his existence is forgotten. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

I picked up a Five Kingdoms book at a Literacy Night in our school district knowing that my 12 year old son would like to read it. He had just finished reading the Michael Vey series for the second time and needed new material. I have barely been able to get his nose out of Five Kingdoms to come up for food, air, sleep, ect.

The initial chapters where Cole, and his friends, are being kidnapped were too real to be fun to read. I was hesitant to keep reading because the tone was so dark, however, frugality won out (because I had spent money on the book) and so I kept reading. Once Cole is trapped in the Five Kingdoms the plot falls into a typical and familiar cadence. Cole has set himself the task to save his friends from the evil king. To do this he must overcome terrible odds and along the way picks up other friends who want to join him in his noble, though hopeless quest. Mira, also has a quest to regain her position and powers. Mira and Cole join forces because they feel like they can help one another and are safer together than apart.

So, the answer is no, Five Kingdoms does not break away from the quest formula and is quite predictable.  However, it is written for a tween audience and they will be thrilled with the adventure, danger and characters, which include a snarky, a noble, a plucky and a shy character. Surely everyone will identify with someone!

The reason Five Kingdoms is worth reading is because of the creativity. Mull has created a world where each Kingdom has separate rules of magic, society and technology. The Sky Raiders includes pirates, corrupt soldiers, slavers, a magical barrier, a secret sanctuary, an out of control alter ego, jumping swords, an insect-like boy, a magical coach with a robot and so much more. I’m always amazed that Mull thinks of so many zany things to put into his books and still makes them into a cohesive whole.

Because of the creativity
3.5 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

Tween Point of View

Read it!!!! Love it!!!Buy it!!!

5 out of 5 stars
5 star

– the Tween

He actually said 10 out of 5 stars.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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