Death Weavers by Brandon Mull science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsDeath Weavers by Brandon Mull science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsDeath Weavers by Brandon Mull

Death Weavers (2016) is the fourth of five novels in Brandon Mull’s FIVE KINGDOMS series. This is a fun adventure that I’d recommend for middle grade readers. You’ll want to read the first three books, Sky Raiders, Rogue Knight, and Crystal Keepers, before picking up Death Weavers. I’ll assume you’ve read them and I may include minor spoilers for those earlier installments in this review.

Cole and his companions continue to visit each of the kingdoms in the Outskirts as they collect princesses and Cole’s school friends. Cole’s main goal is to get his friends back to Earth and to fix the problem with their families not remembering them. As he keeps reminding us, his strategy is to first help princess Mira find her sisters. With all those powerful princesses as allies, Cole thinks his chances of success will be greater.

This time we’re in Necronum, a kingdom where “echoes” of dead people are walking around as if they’re still alive. Echoes are sort of like ghosts and sort of like clones. It’s hard to distinguish them from living folks, which is pretty creepy, but these echoes have lots of information that Cole needs, not just to find the people he seeks (princesses and school mates), but also to, eventually, bring down his enemies, including the cult leader who’s hunting him. When Cole decides to visit the echolands — basically the land of the dead — things get even creepier.

Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsDeath Weavers is full of danger and the story is darker. The plot is a bit patchy. There are a lot of rules to learn about the death magic of Necronum. These rules tend to be explained in infodump-style and, in the big scheme of things, aren’t really that important. There are some too-long traveling scenes and a series of little quests that feel like an interminable scavenger hunt.

High points of Death Weavers are some better character development, especially from Mira who shows more emotion than we’ve seen before, and some new characters who are truly amusing. We also get to find out what happened to Twitch and some old characters we’ve lost touch with.

I have to say that Necronum was my least favorite of the five kingdoms, but Death Weavers gives us a lot of answers to the questions I’ve been asking. I came away from Death Weavers finally understanding, along with Cole, how the outskirts works. Some of my previous concerns about Mull’s world have mostly cleared up and things are starting to make a lot more sense.

The plot advances significantly in this installment and I’m looking forward to finding out if Cole and his friends can make it home in the final novel, Time Jumpers. I will again choose Simon & Schuster Audio’s version read by Keith Nobb.

Published in 2016. Trapped in a world where magic is powerful and dreams are real, Cole’s epic adventure continues in book four 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 is about to face his biggest peril yet. Since arriving in the Outskirts, Cole and his friends have fought monsters, challenged knights, and battled rampaging robots. But none of that has prepared them for Necronum. In this haunting kingdom, it’s hard to tell the living from the dead, and secret pacts carry terrifying risks. Within Necronum lies the echolands, a waystation for the departed where the living seldom venture. Still separated from his power, Cole must cross to the echolands and rely on his instincts to help rescue his friends. With enemies closing in, Cole risks losing everything to find the one thing that might save them.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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