Publisher's Note:  

Welcome to the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe, where the confections are a bit on the . . . unusual side. Rock candy that makes you weightless. Jawbreakers that make you unbreakable. Chocolate balls that make you a master of disguise. Four young friends--Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon--meet the grandmotherly Mrs. White, owner of the Sweet Tooth, and soon learn about the magical side effects of her candies.In addition, the ice cream truck driver, Mr. Stott, has arrived with a few enchanted sweets of his own. But what about the mysterious man in the dark overcoat and fedora hat? Why are all these "magicians" trying to recruit Nate and his friends? Who should they trust?  The mystery deepens and the danger unfolds as the four youngsters discover that the magical strangers have all come to town in search of a legendary, hidden treasure--one that could be used for great evil if it fell into the wrong hands. The kids, now in over their heads, must try to retrieve the treasure first. And so, the war begins . . .

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Shadow Mountain

The Candy Shop War

by Brandon Mull

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Overall Review:  

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the fate of the world in your hands?  To know that all the adults have been unknowingly bamboozled by some evil force and it’s totally up to you to save everything?  Nate, Trevor, Summer and Pigeon were the first customers into a new candy shop that had rolled into town.  This began their association with all things magical.  The proprietor ends up being a magician who has a store of magical candy.  Her quests become more and more questionable and the adventures ensue.  Brandon Mull definitely knows how to spin a tale and keep up the pace!  ‘The Candy Shop War’ is a story that is full of action, suspense, and Candy!  The candy and its effects are very imaginative.  The villains are evil.  The end, I’ll admit it, surprised me!  My only literary complaints with this book are that the characters are a bit flat (not just the Flatman), and that many of the characters (especially the adults) speak like walking encyclopedias.  What 11 year old kid uses a phrase like, “…vaguely probable explanation…” in a regular conversation?  Aside from that, this is aimed toward teenagers who enjoy action stories.  If all you want is some adventure, who needs character development, right?  ‘The Candy Shop War’ definitely delivers the action.

Content Analysis:  

Action always has its drawbacks, I think.  There is no profanity (unless you count an adjective that is used to describe a burning barn—but I wasn’t sure if that would be counted as profanity or not…) or sex. 

There is quite a bit of violence, though.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be considered overly violent for adults, but I would consider it pretty violent for kids.  It has a sort of ‘video game’ quality about it, but it’s still violence.  Many characters are seriously injured.  Some die.  There are shockings, burnings, shootings, magical strangling grass, enlarged spiders, broken ribs, etc.  The action does get pretty intense at times.  Much of the candy’s intent was to hurt others or otherwise enable individuals to accomplish questionable activities.  There is a lot of sneaking out involved, a lot of intense violence, and some interesting choices both on the part of the kids and many of the adults/magicians. 

Some kids start out making choices for the wrong reasons (i.e. for candy or ‘superpowers’), then change and try to make amends.  Others keep going on the ‘wrong’ path.  I appreciated the moral lessons introduced in the Reading Guide questions.  I believe this is aimed toward the 12-16 age group, however, I would probably put it more at 14 just because of some of the situations and violence.

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Reviewed By Emily
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