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D. J. MacHale

Author of The Merchant of Death

80+ Works 20,089 Members 364 Reviews 20 Favorited

About the Author

D. J. MacHale was born on March 11, 1956. He received a BFA in film production from New York University. Before writing his best selling Pendragon series, he worked as a freelance writer and director for television and movies. He co-created Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? series, wrote show more several ABC After-School Specials, directed the movie Tower of Terror for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney, and co-created, wrote and produced the Showtime series Chris Cross, which won the CableAce award for Best Youth Series. He co-created, produced, wrote and directed the Discovery Kids/NBC television series Flight 29 Down, which earned him the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Children's Script. His other written works include The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, The Monster Princess, and the Morpheus Road series. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Author D. J. MacHale at the 2016 Texas Book Festival. By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53513526


Works by D. J. MacHale

The Merchant of Death (2002) 3,234 copies
The Lost City of Faar (2003) 2,147 copies
The Never War (2003) 2,000 copies
The Reality Bug (2003) 1,971 copies
Black Water (2004) 1,762 copies
The Rivers of Zadaa (2005) 1,596 copies
The Quillan Games (2006) 1,412 copies
The Pilgrims of Rayne (2007) 1,268 copies
Raven Rise (2008) 1,115 copies
The Soldiers of Halla (2009) 1,006 copies
SYLO (The SYLO Chronicles) (2013) 368 copies
The Light (2010) 359 copies
Pendragon Before the War: Book One of the Travelers (2009) — Editor — 268 copies
The Black (2011) 144 copies
The Blood (2012) 87 copies
The Monster Princess (2010) 57 copies
Tower of Terror [1997 TV movie] (1997) — Director, Screenwriter & Producer — 48 copies
4-Movie Collection: Disney Thrills and Chills [DVD] (2013) — Director — 12 copies
Strike 7 copies
Pendragon Books 6-10 (2012) 5 copies
Trinity (Ghostwriter) (2019) 4 copies
Flight 29 Down Volume 1 [2005 TV Series] (2005) — Creator — 3 copies
Aladdin (2016) 2 copies
Flight 29 Down Volume 2 [2005 TV Series] (2005) — Creator — 2 copies
Syio 1 copy
Are You Afraid of the Dark? — Author — 1 copy
Wirus rzeczywistości (2008) 1 copy
Czarna woda (2009) 1 copy
Quillańskie igrzyska (2010) 1 copy
Flight 29 Down: The Hotel Tango [2007 TV Movie] (2007) — Director & Screenwriter — 1 copy
Flight 29 Down Volume 3 [2005 TV Series] (2007) — Creator — 1 copy
Tripples 1 copy

Associated Works

Static (2005) — Creator — 303 copies
Guys Read: Other Worlds (2013) — Contributor — 235 copies
Full Blooded Fantasy (2005) — Contributor — 88 copies
The Seven (2006) — Creator — 45 copies
The Return (2006) — Creator — 37 copies
The Storm (2006) — Creator — 31 copies
On Fire (2007) — Creator — 29 copies
Scratch (2006) — Creator — 26 copies
Survival (2007) — Creator — 19 copies
Ten Rules (2006) — Creator — 18 copies


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Common Knowledge



Found: SciFi YA Time Travel Series in Name that Book (August 2021)


A bad way to end a series that feels more like the book equivalent of contractual obligation than actual writing. I lost interest in Bobby around book 3, which was probably part of the problem. This series would have been a lot more interesting from the perspective of Courtney or Loor, who are both far more interesting characters. Also, Mark's ending is a really bad plot hole.

If you would like to read good young adult fantasy, pick up Tamora Pierce's "Circle of Magic" series or Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea Cycle". "Runaways" (the comic) is a good young adult science fiction series. Unfortunately I haven't read much YA SF, but I know there's better stuff out there.… (more)
AnonR | 20 other reviews | Aug 5, 2023 |
A good start to a rather disappointing series, overall. I liked a few of the books. The starting concept was interesting.

The irony is that I'd probably have been happier if MacHale had left all the questions UNANSWERED. If only because the answers were stupid.

A simple fantasy/sci-fi series, which relies a lot on the nature of good and evil.

They're easy reads if you're interested. Maybe you'll like the way they ended. If you don't want to risk it, then... don't read the last two or three books. Just leave at the good parts.… (more)
AnonR | 64 other reviews | Aug 5, 2023 |
1* for the audiobook edition as the narration was good; 0.5* for the book itself
This review probably contains spoilers

Let me preface my comments on this book by saying that I am a reader who has a well-developed ability to suspend disbelief. I can accept (or indeed not even notice) unlikely coincidences and improbabilities while reading if the story is exciting, though they might bother me afterwards if they are too blatant. However, MacHale stretched my disbelief to the breaking point starting with the premise of the whole story & piling on additional unbelievable things as it progressed. I don’t know if MacHale is ignorant, a poor writer or just thought that the pre-teen audience of this would be too naïve to notice the book’s many logical flaws. This is NOT science fiction because there is no science and there are several aspects which are directly contradicted by science!

Let’s start with the premise: fossil fuels are about to run out and the world is in a severe energy crisis. A pretty good premise for a science fiction story! But immediately there are some ridiculous assertions upon which the entire plot rests – a) humanity’s very existence is threatened by the approaching loss of electricity (“Earth will die”!) and b) the only way to keep having electricity is to get a power source from an unspecified location in outer space. Perhaps the author is right in assuming that 10-12 year-old readers will have difficulty in conceiving of a world without electricity (despite the thousands of years of history in which man did just that!) but it is a bad premise to state that not just man but the planet itself would somehow be threatened by it. In addition, even kids should be aware that there is already existing technology for creating electricity by solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear power. But we are expected to believe that the U.S. government would spend millions or billions of dollars developing a space craft to retrieve ‘the Source’ from deep outer space rather than develop those technologies. I suppose that is almost more believable than the idea that these kids & everyone else have to go to bed at 9 pm because the power cuts leave them in the dark at that time (hello, ever heard of candles??).

But that’s not the most ridiculous part! The method of space travel that has been developed to get ‘the Source’ requires that the astronauts be under the age of 14. For some unspecified reason, anyone even one day older than 14 faces medical problems which could be fatal! And to further insult the reader’s intelligence, the author doesn’t even try to make this absurdity conform in the slightest way to biological knowledge. I could possibly conceive by a wild stretch of imagination that there might be some sort of interaction of the space travel with the astronaut’s biology that would be different after puberty. After all, there are lots of changes in our bodies during puberty. But MacHale doesn’t use puberty as the danger point but the specific age of 14. I guess that is because people reach puberty at different times and he wanted a ‘deadline’ which wasn’t vague. Plus, having a specific age meant he could have 2 male & 2 female characters without the worry about the fact that girls generally reach puberty first.

The silliness continues: the protagonist, Dash Conroy, is 12 and a half making him 6 months too old to qualify for this mission (since he would turn 14 while aboard the space ship). But not to worry – the commander has a secret new drug that Dash could take that would stop his cells from aging while on the mission! Does he want to talk it over with his mother? No? Okay then, no need for the U.S. government to get parental consent before giving a child an unknown, untested drug with potentially lethal consequences!

Then once they are in outer space, using an unexplained Gamma Drive which presumably takes the ship faster than light speed (since it only takes them 15 days to reach a planet “in deep space” past hundreds of stars), the book dives from improbable to actual impossibility. Even though they are light years away, they have instantaneous radio communications with Earth, not even a 10 second delay. Radiowaves, as with all electromagnetic radiation, travels the speed of light – communication between the ship and Earth would have significant delays if it was even possible.

Once we finally are told more about ‘the Source’, my ability to listen without rolling my eyes deserted me. The ingredients needed (I refuse to call them elements as that word already has a specific scientific meaning which does NOT apply to these ingredients) to create this “energy source which can stop the world from going dark” include the tooth of a dinosaur-like creature on this alien planet. Now how in the world did the Source’s inventor discover that without ever having such a tooth to analyze?? What aspect of this tooth is required & how did he know that the tooth had it? And worse, this theory of how the Source is going to work is assumed by all, including whoever funded this harebrained mission, to be so certain that there is no possibility that it might fail! A complete lack of understanding of how inventions, particularly scientific & technological inventions, are created. And just in case there wasn’t enough suspense in the story (what with Dash risking death if he is late or misses one of his daily doses of his miracle drug), we now find that the voyagers will have to construct the Source in order to have enough power to return to Earth. Not to worry, though, as the inventor himself is secretly aboard even though he is over 14!

Ranting over.
I did enjoy the competition between the 8 12-year-olds to see which 4 would be selected to travel in space.
… (more)
leslie.98 | 10 other reviews | Jun 27, 2023 |
FROM AMAZON: They came from the sky parachuting out of military helicopters to invade Tucker Pierce's idyllic hometown on Pemberwick Island, Maine.

They call themselves SYLO and they are a secret branch of the U.S. Navy. SYLO's commander, Captain Granger, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Now Pemberwick is cut off from the outside world.

Tucker believes there’s more to SYLO’s story. He was on the sidelines when the high school running back dropped dead with no warning. He saw the bizarre midnight explosion over the ocean, and the mysterious singing aircraft that travel like shadows through the night sky. He tasted the Ruby - and experienced the powers it gave him - for himself.

What all this means, SYLO isn’t saying. Only Tucker holds the clues that can solve this deadly mystery.
… (more)
Gmomaj | 25 other reviews | May 7, 2023 |



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