The cover is what initially drew me into THE PEDDLER'S ROAD; it's stunning! Somehow, middle grade novels always get the best cover artists! I've never read any retellings of the Pied Piper before, though I'm familiar with the general story, so I was curious to see how this author put his spin on the well-known fable. Readers will recognize a few other familiar stories as well: Baba Yaga plays a part and the Summer Isle resembles Neverland. I really enjoyed how the author wove these different stories together to create something totally new.
I instantly liked the two main characters, Max and her brother, Carter. They have the typical brother-sister relationship; both annoy one another, but they love each other so much they'll do anything to protect each other. I also liked the Hamliners who join Max and Carter on their journey: Lukas, Emilie, and Paul. One of the themes that runs throughout the novel is what makes a hero, and I really liked how all five characters have different qualities that make them heroic, even if they don't know it yet.
The Piper as the villain is properly terrifying, mainly because by the end, you see the reason behind his actions. The best villains are the ones you can sympathize with. I know we haven't seen the last of the Piper, and I'm nervous about what he's going to throw at the group next.
What Left Me Wanting More:
That ending! I can't wait for the next adventure!
The Final Verdict:
THE PEDDLER'S ROAD is a high-stakes adventure story with characters you root for and an ending that will leave readers waiting not-so-patiently for the next installment.