Nate and his friends meet Mr. White who owns Arcadeland, a local amusement center. At Arcadeland, kids can play games and earn thousands of tickets, which are redeemable for one of four kinds of stamps jets, tanks, subs, and racecars. Could it be true that these stamps allow kids to fly through the air? Or breathe underwater? Or run faster than a car? But Mr. White is hiding a secret: when all four clubs are filled, he will be able to retrieve perhaps the most powerful talisman ever. For Nate and his friends, it will take more than candy to fight and win this war! (amazon.com)
After reading the first book I was pretty excited to read this one, but it wasn’t until I started it that I realized how much more I enjoyed it than the first book!
Most of the book takes place at Arcadeland when Nate, Pidgeon, Summer, Trevor, and now Lindy decide to investigate this new arcade. After playing games for awhile they noticed that some of the children were collecting thousands of more tickets than it looked like anything could be worth. Soon they discover that everyone is competing to win one of four different stamps: jet, tank, sub, or a racecar, but until they win the stamp they have no idea why they seem to be so important or what they do.
Eventually, they learn that Mr. White is the owner of Arcadeland and once all the stamps are won he will need the children to go on missions, or in this case more like competitions, to obtain certain items that will lead him to the greatest treasure of all.
The basic plot of the book is actually very similar to the first book, but instead of receiving candy for going on missions the children get their stamps renewed. The reason why I believe I enjoyed this book so much more was because the missions themselves were not so dark and horrible, but more appropriate for the children reading this book. The story was exciting, engaging, and flowed a lot better than the previous book. The pace was perfect and I was never annoyed that there was too much or too little information. I also enjoyed the action scenes in this book because they provided great detail, were not overdone, and will hold the interest of any child reading the book.
Like most children’s books, this one was pretty predictable because I was certain how the story was going to turn out in the end, but the actual ending and what the item was that Mr. White wanted was pretty surprising.
Brandon Mull wraps up this book by the end just like he did with his previous book. However, there were subtle hints that lead us to believe there will be a third book in this series.
The plot of the book is great, but the series lacks engaging and unique characters. I suppose that children wouldn’t mind these characters, but I am a lot more picky and need to be able to really distinguish between each of them. I like to know everything I can about each of the characters and make a personal connection. That is not the case with this series.
All the characters are almost identical. I can’t even tell them apart, especially Nate and Trevor. The only exceptions are Pigeon and Lindy who I believe we learn the most about throughout these two books. He is a lot different than his friends and he really stands out, but he just doesn’t get to play a big role in the books. Lindy is a completely different character than she was in the previous book and is very interesting because she doesn’t remember who she was. With Nate being the main character and spending the most time with him I thought we would have learned a lot more about him in this book, but I was greatly disappointed. I still don’t know much about him. 😦 These books are definitely more plot than character focused.
I actually thought the writing was better in this book. It wasn’t so choppy and flowed more easily. I really enjoyed Mull’s writing and I think it would be easy for children to follow.
Despite the lack of character development and slightly repetitive plot, Brandon Mull creates an exciting and engaging story that I know children will love to read. They may love it even more than me! I highly recommend reading this series, but be sure to read the first book since there are many references to it in this one.
My rating: 4/5 stars!
My other reviews in this series:
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