It is said that in the thirteenth century, in a village called Hamelin, a piper lured all of the children away with his magical flute, and none of them were ever seen again. Today tough, pink-haired Max and her little brother, Carter, are stuck in modern-day Hamelin with their father . . . until they are also led away by the Piper to a place called the Summer Isle. There they meet the original stolen children, who haven’t aged a day and who have formed their own village, vigilantly guarded from the many nightmarish beings that roam the land. No one knows why the Piper stole them, but Max and Carter’s appearance may be the key to returning the lost children of Hamelin—and to going home themselves. But to discover the secrets of the Piper, Max and Carter will have to set out on a mysterious quest down the dangerous Peddler’s Road.
The Secrets of the Pied Piper 1: The Peddler's RoadFeatured
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.
I liked that the family was living in Germany, and had a nice older lady helping out, and Max and Carter are interesting characters. The adventure of being on the peddler's road meeting ghosts was fun, and any story that includes Baba (or Grandmother) Yaga, is always interesting. I'll be curious to see where the series goes from here.