Breaking Badlands

Crown. (Talespinners: Bk. 3). Sept. 2021. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593307205.
Gr 3-7–In this third installment, readers find heroine Indira in need of a break from the action and from her increasingly complicated love life. While vacationing at the Chapter Break Resort, Indira is whisked away by a group of Anti-Heroes with a surprising plea for help; they have discovered that Bainrow, the head of Antagonist Academy, is planning on performing a Final Boss Protocol on all antagonists. If he were to succeed, each and every bad guy would be “powered up”: There would be no more petty villains or small revenge plots, just pure evil! The result? Dull stories, a bored readership, and thus threats to the very existence of Story. The only way to stop this treacherous plan is for Indira to take on the guise of evil, infiltrate Antagonist Academy, join a crew, and start competing in a nightly virtual competition called the Badlands. What could go wrong?
VERDICT Reintgen is a masterly storyteller and blends gaming lingo with fantasy lore deftly. His love for the fantasy genre and literature overall shines through, and the romance angle is suitable for younger audiences. Strongly recommended for purchase.

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