Book Review: “The Merchant of Death”

“The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1)” by D.J. MacHale

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Bought

Other Pendragon books

Summary from Goodreads:

Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby.

He is going to save the world.

And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn’t quite what he thought it was. And before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution.

If Bobby wants to see his family again, he’s going to have to accept his role as savior, and accept it wholeheartedly. Because, as he is about to discover, Denduron is only the beginning….


I’m a total sucker for quest books. There’s nothing more that I enjoy than traveling  to a far off land with the ‘chosen’ one to fight bad guys and save the world. It’s a simple idea but I keep finding myself drawn to these type of books.  Merchant of Death is no different.

I found it a bit hard to get myself situated in the book. Travelers are a brand new (and I assume made up by MacHale) idea/creature. Because of this I was a bit in the dark about many things. Even though I was confused it was a good thing because Bobby and his friends were in the dark as well so we were learning together.  Eventually I started figuring out how things work so I got more into the book. I really like the idea of multiple worlds and how everything changes between them. It’s a really interesting idea. I look forward to seeing how the author deals with it in the other books.

I didn’t love the characters. They didn’t really jump out to me. If anything they seemed like cookie cutter people. Maybe it’s just because it’s the first book and there was so much to do? It wasn’t a turn off though. Just an observation.

The story is a good one. I know I was a torn by the situation as Bobby was. I wanted him to return home because he didn’t ask for any of this but I knew he needed to stay and help the people. Kudos to the author for getting me invested like that.

The bottom line? It’s an enjoyable read but not my favorite of this type of book. Glad I have the next 3 books on hand.


6 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Merchant of Death”

  1. I’m not really that into “quest” books but I do like books where the main character is learning about a world as I am. I find that I can get really into those. I don’t know if this is something I’d ever read but it does sound like a great Middle Grade fantasy-type book; there’s something pretty awesome about MG lit. I think it’s because nothing’s really too taboo or fantastical.

  2. I was in a second hand bookstore the other day that had what looked like most of the series. I did consider it, but I don’t know if I would enjoy them enough… It would be better if I had read the first book, I suppose.

  3. I read this book when it first came out back in 2002 and loved it at the time. I think I read the next 2 books in the series but then I probably discovered a new series and abandoned this one. I’m going to have to re-read this one 🙂 Good review!

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