“Black Water (Pendragon #5)” by D. J. MacHale
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
Breaking the rules Just when fifteen-year-old Bobby Pendragon thinks he understands his purpose as a Traveler — to protect the territories of Halla from the evil Saint Dane — he is faced with an impossible choice. The inhabitants of Eelong are in danger of being wiped out by a mysterious plague. The only way Bobby can stop it is to bring the antidote from another territory. Since moving items between territories is forbidden by the Traveler rules, if Bobby chooses to save Eelong he could endanger himself, his friends, and the future of every other being in Halla.
This book steps up its game in several ways which is keeping me glued to the series. The first way is the territory. MacHale has done a good job of creating interesting territories. The last four have all been pretty unique and different. This last one really shocked me because I never saw it coming. Eelong is a territory filled with Klee (giant intelligent cats). That’s kind of awesome to imagine. The biggest shock? Humans are basically animals here. They’re kept for menial labor and occasionally for house pets. It’s a weird experience to try and imagine a world where humans aren’t the dominant species. Kudos to MacHale for introducing that idea in a children’s book. I’m definitely excited to see the other territories.
The other way the book steps it up is by getting Mark and Courtney involved with the story. They’re no longer just librarians and keeping Bobby’s diaries. They’re directly involved with the events. It’s because of them that Eelong was saved (even though they accidentally created more problems than they solved). Story-wise, it adds some depth and some complications. We can’t have things be too easy, right? 😉
The story moves along well but as usual character development is lacking. Bobby is pretty well developed since we see so much of him. I can see him struggling to grow up, figure out right and wrong, and how to do his job. He is making progress. Mark and Courtney are kind of behind. We start to see glimpses of who they are (Courtney going from star athlete to being cut to JV; Mark finally finding his place in a science club) but it’s only a small glimpse. The story quickly shifts back to Bobby. Yes, I know it’s Bobby’s story but I want to see more about Courtney and Mark.
The bottom line? Enjoyable!