Five Kingdoms – Book 5: Time Jumpers – By Brandon Mull

Hey Jared,

The end of a series. It’s a bitter sweet time but I’m happy to see this series end and not get dragged out.

time-jumpersTitle: Time Jumpers
Series: Five Kingdoms; Book 5
Author: Brandon Mull
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Youth/Teen
ROTS Setting: EU, Higher Magic
Synopsis: Trapped in a world where magic is powerful and dreams are real, Cole’s epic adventure comes to a close in book five of the New York Times bestselling “fanciful, action-packed adventure” series (Publishers Weekly, starred review), from the author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series. Cole and his friends are pushed to the limit in this finale to the bestselling Five Kingdoms series. Will they finally be able to restore magic to the world of the Outskirts and find their way back home?
Recommendation: I recommend this series. They are an easy read, perfect for an intermediate reader/pre-teen/early teen.

This was a decent ending. Not super amazing but not underwhelming either. It definitely could have been better, a lot better, but I’m satisfied and for a little series like this it’s good enough.

Now for the critique.

As a standalone novel it was pretty bad. There was so much exposition I could almost guess when more was about to happen because a new character was about to speak. Oh, that guard walked into a room, exposition. That friend shows up, exposition. Inevitably, all the exposition affected how the plot progressed.  It turned into a story-telling when the best novels are story-showing.

Cole, the MC, has been slowly growing over the course of the series. At the end of the last book I was beginning to like him a bit. Not so much after this. We get an extremely passive character. He’s told where to go and what to do, but he isn’t an active agent within the plot. We get “decisions” which are really either what someone else wants or because there are no other options. Passive, things happen to him. Cole does not make things happen.

There were also too many characters. Something like 20 secondary characters. Over half with significant plot lines of their own. It was too much, too specific, and drowning in fluff.

The major plot was also a bit bland while being surprisingly convoluted. Bland because of the exposition and plethora of characters and convoluted due to “time travel” and various red herring endings. Authors need to just stay away from time travel, it corrupts everything it touches. In this case, anything done in the past has already happened and can’t be changed, if you travel back in time and kill someone then they’ve always been dead in the present. It basically creates a ridged time stream, handy for limiting the effects of time travel to the past but it inadvertently annihilates free choice and makes the future just as rigid. It’s all predestination. The individual is shackled to their future and can not change it.

Time travel is the third rail! DO NOT TOUCH!!

Lastly, it has a very, very different feel than the previous books. There was a fairly consistent formula and all of it was through out the window with this book. I think it was too big and too complicated when a more simple plan could have been done to greater effect.

So let’s recap. The plot was meandering under a mountain range of exposition and characters. The time travel implied choices don’t matter. Cole should have been an uber character that leads the most epic final battle ever!…. Instead he does it alone and it’s merely sufficient with resolution being painfully adequate.

But, I can live with it. I’m left with vaguely positive feelings and I’m satisfied with how my time and money were spent. Do I wish it was better, yes. So much, yes! Was I expecting more? A little, especially as the story unfolded I thought I saw the glorious end and it kept making sharp left turns and I got dizzy and was just happy when it didn’t make me throw up….. I suppose that’s not the best of recommendations.

I think I’ll try and reread the series eventually, especially if Lisa make an attempt and buys them…. It’s happened before. Maybe lightning will strike twice.


P.S. – Time Jumpers were basically not even in this book! A more accurate title would have been Wayminder. Just sayin’.


Five Kingdoms – Book 5: Time Jumpers – By Brandon Mull

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