As always, this book review is spoiler-free.
Time Jumpers is the fifth and final book in Brandon Mull’s Five Kingdoms series. The book follows the adventures of Cole, a kid from Arizona, on his quest to save the five kingdoms, their princesses, and stop evil forces from destroying the world. Here are some of my thoughts about the story:
Jump In—Time Jumpers doesn’t spend much time reviewing the characters, setting, or events of the previous four books. If you haven’t read the first four books, you probably shouldn’t read this book until you do. That said, the story makes good on a lot of promises and brings together characters from across all the books for a grand finale, which is a lot of fun. However, this does mean that the first 100 pages or so of the story spend a lot of time rounding up characters and checking in with them before the story really gets going.
Time Travel Done Right—The big problem with time travel in books is usually that it ruins the stakes of the story. If you can go back and time and fix things, why bother worrying about the main problem of the story? Plus, time travel plots tend to fill up with inconsistencies and paradoxes that distract from the momentum of the story. Time Jumpers does away with these problems by setting up some strict limitations on the time travel in the story, perhaps better than other Brandon Mull books. You’ll have to read the book to understand what I mean, though.
Spectrum of Characters—The book struggled a bit in the character department. This is probably because Cole himself is a highly ideal character with few (if any) weaknesses. Sure, he’s not as capable or as knowledgeable as some of the other characters, but he doesn’t have the defects of character that make a character fiercely human and real. His character arc is largely external and he simply moves through the plot of it. His best friend Jace, however, shines through as a character. Jace has both internal and external struggles and a sense of humor on the side that make him the best character in the story. The rest of the chracters fall somewhere on the spectrum between Cole and Jace, with many of them melting together into a broad “chorus supporting Cole” sort of way. There are a few standout secondary characters, but I don’t want to talk about them for fear of giving away plot.
Overall, the Time Jumpers is a satisfying conclusion to the five kingdoms series. I give it four out of five stars. It is less violent than some other Brandon Mull books, and a solid page turner. I liked it better than the Beyonders series, but not as much as the Fablehaven or Candy Shop War books. It’s a great read for kids 11 years old and up. For young audiences, the character spectrum issue I talk about above is probably not much of a problem, and Cole is a good role model as a friend and brother.
Did you read Time Jumpers? What do you think?
Need a new book to read? Check out Tell Me When I’m Younger, out now on Amazon!