THE TRAITOR KING by Todd Mitchell


Age Range: 10 - 14
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This first novel feels like one. Eleven-year-old Darren has always felt like an oddball, which is why he enjoys the annual visit to his oddball uncle’s cabin. Each year, a treasure hunt awaits, with obscure clues tucked away throughout the house and nearby town. This year’s hunt proves the most elusive ever, as Uncle Will has disappeared, leaving only a note about watering his plants and returning his library book. Darren eventually puzzles out a startling realization about his family’s origins and powers, but through a secret passage and into Tir na N’Og, the story sadly starts to lose its edge, becoming more predictable and less convincing as Darren has responsibilities thrust upon him. The cleverness and pre-adolescent questioning of adults that make him such an appealing and self-empowering character seem to fade away in the other world, where he just acts as all fantasy novels direct. Thankfully, a brisk pace carries readers to a satisfying enough ending. Though Mitchell’s complex and gripping set-up slumps through its lackluster resolution, it promises more polished progeny. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-439-82788-4
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2007


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