Welcome to yet another installment of Destructoid’s Unofficial Book of the Month “Club”. For this month I have chosen a book that is very important to me. It is the first installment of the Pendragon series, my all-time favorite novel series. I discovered them in my tween-age years and I have loved them ever since. And so for this month I have decided to share it with all of you.
This Month’s Book:
Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
384 pages (a bit long, I know)
Genres: Scifi and Fantasy
I discovered Pendragon in the sixth grade. I actually started on Book 2, since I borrowed it from another student (long, weird story that I’d rather not try to explain). I ended up loving it so I started acquiring new copies at our school’s book fair. Although I actually wouldn’t get The Merchant of Death until I was about halfway through the series (book fairs never had the first book, my mom found it at a book store in New York). Anyway, that’s the basic version of how I got into the series, now let’s talk about the first book.
Pendragon: The Merchant of Death is the story of Bobby Pendragon, a fairly normal high school teenager who gets caught up in an inter-dimensional battle to save the multiverse. The story is actually told from more than one perspective. Part of the story is told through diaries that Bobby writes while on his journey, recording his adventure. He sends these journals to his best friend Mark Dimond, whose perspective the other half of the story is told from as he awaits the next set of journals from Bobby. I can’t explain much more without getting into spoiler-y territory. But basically Bobby is on a quest to save ten different worlds (called territories) from the threat of a horrible villain.
The way the book is written offers two unique perspectives that I feel makes this series so unique. From Bobby’s point of view, we get to go on a fantastical adventure fraught with danger and mystery. From Mark’s, we see how he deals with his best (and really only) friend being gone and trying to adjust to his new normal. Bobby avoids horrifying beasts and has to adjust to a new world he doesn’t understand. Mark has to deal with his childhood bully with his childhood friend no longer there to protect him. They both, in their own way, have to grow up and learn how to live without one another and make new friends (and enemies).
The journal method of writing also offers a lot in the way of tension. When the story is being told from Mark’s perspective, he is always waiting for the next batch of journals to arrive. He wants to find out what has been happening with his best friend. Especially if the last batch ended on a cliffhanger. And they often do. But I feel like, as the reader, you’re never that upset to shift from Bobby to Mark. While Bobby’s journey may be far more adventurous and extraordinary, Mark’s adventures are also quite engaging. It helps that Mark is a fairly relatable character (at least he was for tween-teen me).
D.J. MacHale is a wonderful author that managed to create such a unique and interesting tale in the Pendragon series. I fell in love with the worlds he created, and so I want to share it with the Destructoid community. I hope you will check out the first book of the series, and if you enjoy it will check out the rest of the books as well. Especially since I don’t think I’ll be giving any of the other books a Book of the Month spotlight. Just no way to do so without spoiling things I think. However, I might change my mind on it. I guess we’ll just have to see.
See you next month with another book and happy reading!
Bonus Author Trivia!