books, challenge

The Mediator Series: Shadowland, Ninth Key, & Reunion

Given that the last book I read was Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart and that I’ve also started reading A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice & Fire” series, I really needed to take a break from weighty tomes. What better way to do that than to read a Young Adult book from my adolescence?

Now, I can’t take credit for the sudden nostalgia; my friend Kim and I went our local used bookstore (yes, those still exist!) where she ended up getting a couple of R. L. Stine’s “Fear Street” books, and the melodramatic storylines tugged at the heartstrings of my childhood memories.

Thanks to my love for Sailor Moon and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most of the books I read when I was younger were fantasy driven with strong female leads (not much has changed!), and Meg Cabot’s “Mediator” series falls right into that category. Despite the fact that I’d only really read the first book in the series– back when it published under Cabot’s pseudonym “Jenny Carroll” and with far better cover art– once I reread the first book, I had to finish the series; I’m half-way there!

Shadowland (The Mediator, #1)Shadowland by Meg Cabot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shadowland is a strong book, but still very much a first book in a series. There are many ideas established with the intention of resolving them well into the future. Still, what we are given is entertaining and solid (no ghosts pun intended), so I really didn’t mind.

Considering my aforementioned love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the parallels and similiarities between the two are very evident; the main character not only has a penchant for designer brands and [sometimes] silly puns, but has a research-y girl friend and a wise-cracking guy friend. However, the “spunky teenage heroine” is indeed a trope, prevalent especially in the late 1990s and early 2000s (Veronica Mars, how I miss you too), so this doesn’t feel terribly derivative. Considering the lack of moxie in a certain female protagonist in a recent vampire series (you know who and what I’m talking about!), the spunky convention is more than welcome.

Similarities aside, the adventure is fun and her relationships with others are realistic- as realistic as they can be if one can interact with ghosts! The endgame love interest is also incredibly charming, and not just in the ways that teenage girls would adore lol. Additionally, as a Northern Californian, it’s fun to see a familiar world. It’s very dated though, with some plot points hinging on the fact that she can’t call anyone unless she has change to use the payphone. Endearing, right?

Overall, this was a quick and charming read!

Ninth Key (The Mediator, #2)Ninth Key by Meg Cabot

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really want to give this three stars because I like the series overall [so far], but the story line just wasn’t as interesting. After the initial plot twist is revealed (which becomes evident within the first half of the novel) the story becomes a little too predictable.

The best part about the book is that we get to see a little bit more of the handsome ghost and the relationship between the main character and her family solidifies. Her precocious little brother is too adorable.

The titular piece only briefly gets mentioned, and while it’s an interesting development, it’s only a very minor factor in the story. If anything, the novel should have been called something like ‘Pale Moon’ or Bloodless. IDK.

Reunion (The Mediator, #3)Reunion by Meg Cabot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Plot-wise this wasn’t much better than the previous book, Ninth Key, but this one actually made me laugh out loud (IRL LOL), and the protagonist’s character development grew (thanks to a visit from her best friend), so I’m giving it an extra star because I just enjoyed it more. Many of the relationship dynamics do move along quite naturally, so I’m thankful for that.

Without giving anything away, the events in this book also revealed the main character’s vulnerabilities, in terms of both her emotions and her powers as a mediator, establishing intrigue for the last half of the series.

I’ve got one more book until I’m done with my 25 in 2012 book challenge! Yes, this is a YA series, but I’m still reading! Has anyone else revisited some books from their youth?

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