Pendragon Book Eight: The Pilgrims of Rayne

by D. J. MacHale

I have an odd habit of reading certain books in little bites.

By that I mean, I'll read a particular book only while eating lunch, for example. So I might read ten pages, perhaps a chapter. Or another I'll read just before going to sleep - but again, just a handful of pages. Not one of those all-night sessions of "can't put it down - just one more chapter before I fall asleep!" Just enough to keep the story fresh in my mind.

Typically those books are not my "usual suspects." Not the historical novels or sci-fi staples that I am so fond of, and generally have piled up comfortingly in the "to be read" pile beside my bed and next to my desk, now on my Kindle. Those books are found at flea markets, on a friend's "finished go ahead and borrow" bookshelf, or intriguing enough in the BJ's hardcover bin to be worth the discounted price.

This book was one such. In this case, it was a flea market find. It came in a box of other dog-eared paperbacks, and is actually YA fiction. But it is a form of sci-fi/fantasy, so I had to pick it up and start. And so it also goes without saying (which is an odd expression, as what follows will be saying it) - it's not a new book. This book was published in 2007, but is still available.

And I have to admit, while I wasn't exactly hooked, I also find the time to read several pages at least each day, and it does keep me going. As YA fiction, it makes that pick it up, put it down reading pattern a little easier than it sometimes is, because the plot line is aimed at the 12-15 year old reader, and as such isn't terribly complicated.

It takes place in a not-quite-Earth of both the past, present, and future, in which certain young people can move through time by accessing something called a "flume." It has something in common with Harry Potter's 9 3/4 Platform in that you aren't really aware of it unless you can use it. You simply step into it, and rather like, again, Harry's flu network, you state your destination, and off you go. Except in this case, you aren't just traveling through space, but time as well.

Turns out there are several "Earths," and Travellers (as these time travellers are known) can affect the fate of the various Earths (so much for the temporal paradox). The book is written in a series of journal entries by our hero, young Pendragon (a teen-aged boy), and regular narrative focused on the recipient of his journals, and evidently something of a love interest, Courtney.

He and Courtney are separated on missions to stop Saint Dane, the Arch-Villain, intent upon the Destruction of Humankind. There has to be one of those in these types of books, or what's the point? Still, it makes for fun reading.

What is immediately fascinating to me is that  I have not read the preceeding eight books, yet I am still finding this one interesting enough to keep me involved. The writer has done a credible job of catching us up on the important stuff, while not re-writing every book leading up to this one. So while I don't have all the details, I do have enough information to make it worth my while - and make me want to find the other books and plow through.

The principle action of this story takes place on an island isolated somewhere in a tropical paradise, in which the inhabitants are curried with everything they could possibly want: food, benevolent climate, entertainment, peace and a quiet kind of prosperity. Ruling over them is The Tribunal, who keep the peace, but most importantly, keep the keys to this kindly prison.

Under their noses but not their thumbs is a band of Lost Kids - a motley assortment of Neo's who have woken up to the notion that maybe life isn't so much fun when it's so easy, and they want to find out what "else" is out there.

Every so often, it turns out, flotsam and jetsam wash up on the beaches of this little paradise, leading this little band of teens (who calls themselves The Jakills - nice wordplay, that) to understand that there is more than they are being allowed to see. And in the manner of all humankind, they want to find out what it is. And there's your story.

You, too, want to find out what it is. Add to that the family detail that the leader of the Jakills is also the son of one of The Tribunal, and you have a story that is sure to intrigue any YA reader - or any reader who can become YA while reading it.


Popular Posts