The Pilgrims of Rayne by D.J. MacHale
The Pilgrims of Rayne is the eighth book in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series for young adults. I’ll assume that if you’re reading a review for book eight, you realize that I’ll probably be spoiling some of the plots of the previous books here.
Bobby has now Traveled to Saint Dane’s next stop: a tropical island paradise called Ibara. At first Ibara seems like an ideal place to live, but soon, as you expected, Bobby realizes that Ibara is at a tipping point. Everyone is happy on Ibara, but they’re not allowed to leave. What lies beyond the island paradise? A few curious and disgruntled citizens would like to know, and one of those is the son of Ibara’s Traveler, a guy who was killed in the Quillan Games we read about in the previous book. When Bobby Pendragon teams up with these outlaws, they make a surprising discovery that is devastating for Bobby. Bobby also starts to wonder if perhaps there may be multiple tipping points on each territory and, if so, might he have to chase Saint Dane forever (something which occurred to me several books ago).
Meanwhile, back on Second Earth, Mark is reeling from the horrible thing that happened to him at the end of the previous book. Then he goes into the flume and this changes the history of Second Earth and, in fact, all of Halla. Courtney figures this out and discovers that Saint Dane has been involved in their lives since they were children. So, off she goes to see if she can stop Mark. This involves Traveling to both Third and First Earth. The fate of all of Halla is in her hands.
The Pilgrims of Rayne is a fairly entertaining installment in this series. The stakes are high and it’s nice to see Courtney playing a more active role. It’s fun to watch her go back to 1937 and become outraged when the boys call her “dame” or “skirt” or “broad.” Then she crosses the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Mary, which is also fun.
It’s also nice to see Bobby starting to take control. He becomes more confident as he moves back and forth between the territories. But while the story is starting to become more integrated, with more connections made between the different territories across time and space, I’m starting to believe in it less and less. The time traveling aspect has introduced numerous time paradoxes so, to enjoy the story, I have to purposely not think about the impossibility of it all. But then, these plots were never particularly tight.
It’s also really hard to understand the motivations of the villain, Saint Dane. I think MacHale is trying to give him some sort of cause rather than just being evil for the sake of being evil, but I don’t buy it. He tells Bobby that he doesn’t really want to conquer the territories, he wants to demonstrate how evil all the citizens of Halla are by letting them conquer themselves when they make bad decisions at critical times (critical times that Saint Dane orchestrates). Later Saint Dane tells one of his minions that Bobby has learned that evil has “no definition” because Bobby also caused death and destruction as he fought Saint Dane and, therefore, Bobby is “no different” from Saint Dane… It’s hard to be scared of a villain who’s so illogical.
When I think about it, though The Pilgrims of Rayne was often exciting, there was a lot of it that I just couldn’t believe in. But most fans, especially the teens that the series is marketed to, probably won’t care.
Pendragon — (2002-2009) Young adult. Publisher: Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby. He is going to save the world. And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn’t quite what he thought it was. And before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution. If Bobby wants to see his family again, he’s going to have to accept his role as savior, and accept it wholeheartedly. Because, as he is about to discover, Denduron is only the beginning…
Pendragon: Before the War — (2008- ) A Pendragon prequel with Carla Jablonski and Walter Sorrells. Publisher: Before Bobby Pendragon. Before Saint Dane. Before the war… Every territory of Halla has a Traveler. They lived for years — some even for decades — before learning of their true destiny. What was life like for Bobby Pendragon’s fellow Travelers before they joined him in the fight to save every time and place that has ever existed? What led up to their becoming the guardians of Halla? The answers are here! In this first of three thrilling Pendragon prequels, read about Vo Spader’s death-defying adventures in the underwater world of Cloral, Gunny Van Dyke’s race to find a murderer in 1930’s Manhattan on First Earth, and the tough challenges Kasha faced on Eelong well before Bobby Pendragon arrived…
The Guide to the Territories of Halla — (2005) Publisher: All there ever was; all that will be. For the first time, see the amazing sights of Halla as only Bobby Pendragon has. From the watery depths of Cloral to the rugged mountain ranges of Denduron to the jungles of Eelong, from the Earth territories to the decaying fantasy world of Veelox, it¹s all here. So are the Travelers: Uncle Press, Vo Spader, Loor, Aja Killian, Alder, Gunny, and Kasha, and of course, Bobby Pendragon and Saint Dane. This is your private flume to Halla. Enter and discover old friends while you learn new secrets. But remember one thing: This is only the beginning.
We were talking about this series at the bookstore yesterday. We often get them donated, and there is still a pretty big demand for them among our young readers. Mark, one of the owners, wasn’t familiar with them, and he’s the children’s and YA specialist. That’s a pretty big gap in his knowledge base! I suggested he read your reviews, and I’ll probably spring a pop quiz on him later.
I would definitely recommend these for kids and teens. They will be a lot less critical about them than I am. The books are fast-paced and engaging with great characters.
Marion, it might be helpful to let us know which books are “hot” in the bookstore so we make sure to get them reviewed.
To Mark’s chagrin, THE HUNGER GAMES and almost any Cassandra Clare book are big sellers, so we’re covered there.