by Brandon Mull
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Pub Date 14 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 28 Mar 2023
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
The Blue Falcons is a secret kid’s club that fights against a family of villainous magicians. Using an impressive arsenal of magical candy—including Moon Rocks, which allows someone to jump super high, and Ironhides that make someone nearly invulnerable—Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon defeated Belinda White, a sinister candy shop owner who almost seized control of their town, and her brother, Jonas White, a maniacal arcade operator who tried to turn the planet into his personal puppet.
Now, the Blue Falcons must battle the third sibling—Camilla, who has brought the Dreams and Screams International Carnival to their town of Colson, California.
Rumors are spreading about the new carnival. Those who visit feel compelled to return. Some who enter the labyrinthine Funhouse disappear for days. And the Big Top is said to bewitch audience members.
The Blue Falcons think they know who is responsible and are ready to fight, but the carnival forbids outside magic. Without their favorite enchanted treats, how can they salvage their sixth-grade year, rescue their families, and save their town?
When nightmares and weird dreams start to plague everyone who has visited the carnival, the worlds of magic and reality are both endangered. With the help of a new magical enforcer, the Blue Falcons will need to learn to use the magic of the carnival against itself, including a host of new magical carnival candies, and tap into the power of their own dreams to battle their greatest adversary yet.
"Exciting. Nate is an excellent hero. He's courageous and a quick thinker, and his outsider status keeps him grounded and approachable. The carnival is a wondrous place featuring special tickets and carnie coins that unlock its hidden levels and depths. Nate and his friends hope to gather enough of both to gain entrance to the off-limits sections of the park and find out its real secrets. Against Nate’s group stands the Swindler, a huckster who claims to be able to win any game ofchance that a contestant suggests, from guessing numbers to board games. He entices people with the promise of the best prizes. Facing him, Nate and his friends struggle to discern what’s a dream and what’s reality. Carnival Quest is a fun fantasy novel in which plucky children explore an evil-infused carnival to save the world from its creepy embrace."
"Magical minions of various (and sometimes gross) abilities, Mull trots his twist-laden plot forward to a well set-up climax. He dishes up a crowd-pleaser as delicious—if not so weird—as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
—Kirkus, from book 1
"A delectable fantasy adventure where magical candies give four friends super powers to save their town."
—Foreword Reviews, from book 1
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me review this read. I’ve been a fan of Brandon Mull since the beginning and this book doesn’t disappoint! This was an engrossing read! My kids will definitely enjoy this! Now I’m excited to see what his next, new series will be!
This is a great addition to the Candy Wars series! Always well written and engaging, Brandon Mull hits it out of the park with this fun new addition. Easy and fun to read. I enjoyed this as an adult and my children all enjoyed it also! Fantastic book! A must read!
I always enjoy reading a book from Brandon Mull, it's a great concept and always has a unique plot. The characters in this story worked in the Candy Shop War world. I enjoyed reading this and the previous books in this series. Brandon Mull has a great writing style that works with the fantasy genre. I'm excited to see where Brandon Mull goes next.
"You are a superhero,” Zac said reverently. “I’m just a kid who got conned into helping an evil magician because I liked her candy,” Summer said. “Same with Nate and the others. We ended up defeating her. We stopped another evil magician this summer. He was running Arcadeland.”
Brandon Mull has done it again. Another fun fantastical middle-aged book perfect for readers of all ages. This is the third installment of his candy shop war series. The world's Brandon creates are so colorful and magical that the reader can't help but feel like they are part of the story. I can't wait to share this one with my own kids!
Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon are part of the Blue Falcons, a club which fights evil magicians by using magical candy. When the mysterious, Dreams and Screams Carnival shows up in town, the club soon discovers that Camilla, one of the evil magical siblings, is behind it. Soon parts of people’s dreams are becoming a part of the carnival, but also the town. Many feel compelled to return. With evil carnival workers, a funhouse, and evil magicians running amok, the trio must enlist the help of magical enforcers and candy to stop Camilla. Wil they succeed?
The characters are engaging and entertaining. The plot is well-developed and full of twists and turns. Mixing a Disney-esque adventure with local amusement park elements to the story, Mull continues to build an intriguing world that will appeal to fantasy fans. Readers who like magic, adventure, and mysteries will enjoy reading this book.
Brilliant, as always! I love how fun this series is, and how much it engages reluctant readers. I can always get my kids who don’t like reading hooked on a Brandon Mull book. This is definitely going in my personal and classroom libraries.
Brandon Mull was one of my favorite authors when I was a lot younger, and I have always loved his book. This one was no different! It is a book any age can enjoy.
Brandon Mull has done it again! This was awesome. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. My kids and I highly recommend this fun and quick read! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Nate, who is about to start 6th grade at the new Diablo View Middle School in Colson with his friends Summer, Trevor and Pigeon. He's had some disturbing dreams that involve Mozag turning into an aardvark, and his informant, Rocco the sea gull (who talks to him after he east magical kibble) indicates that there are some mysteries goings on, so he's not overly surprised to see John Dart working in the school cafeteria as Lunch Lord. But there's also a lot going on at school. There's a new boy, Zac, and his sidekick Benji. Zac is a social media influencer who has millions of followers, and he feels a need to let everyone know about that. He befriends Nate, and offers his new friend tickets to the carnival that has been setting up. Zac has to take some videos and post for his sponsors. When Nate and the kids visit the Candy Shop and talk to Mr. Stott, he's concerned about the carnvial, he's concerned, and refuses to let Lindy (the former evil Belinda White) go anywhere near. Nate and his friends try to harness their own magic to stay safe, and work closely with John, Mr. Stott, and Sandra to ensure their safety. The carnival is heavily warded, and some of their magic won't work, so they are intrigued by the tickets and coins. The coins are very rare, but so are the opportunities to use them. They investigate the carnival thoroughly while Zac is making his videos, and uncover some disturbing people and some magical things. Preston White, the emcee, is fronting the business for Camilla White, so the children are on high alert. Somehow, the carnival is recruiting children who are sleeping, and the boundaries between dreams and realities are blurred. In other towns where the carnival has operated, people have gone missing, and it looks like this will happen in Colson if Nate and his friends can't figure out who is really behind Camilla's carnival and what their real goal is. Stott and Dart decide that Nate should fall asleep inside the carnival so that he can have access to all of the secret rooms. Sandra gives him a bracelet that will help her stay in contact with him if he needs to be rescued. It's a scary proposition, but Nate knows better than anyone that if someone wants to make all of your dreams come true, there is bound to be a price to pay. How high will Nate's price be?
Strengths: This starts with a map of the carnival that is actually easy to read and rather interesting; I almost wanted a map of Colson, and I NEVER want maps, so congratulations to the artist! It's good to see Nate and his friends at school, and John Dart's Lunch Lord was a fun touch. Including the social media influencer Zac was a fun choice that will draw in modern readers. The fact that the school planned a trip to an evil carnival made me laugh! There were a lot of really good lines, including the best description of clowns that I have ever seen: (from the E ARC) "Clowns are a disturbing kind of funny," Pigeon said. "Their happiness is contrived. It's all paint and giggles. You never know when they'll snap." I snort-laughed several times at some of the lines. There is plenty of mystery and clues, and a lot of magical details and background to sort through to solve the mystery, and a very satisying conclusion. If you've stuck around long enough to read the whole series, you will not be disappointed. Could this work as a stand alone? It actually might not be too bad without the first two, although it's much better if you are able to get The Candyshop War and Arcade Quest.
Weaknesses: I personally would have liked this better had it been a little shorter. There's a lot of details about running around the carnival and also about the nature of dreams vs. reality that bogged the middle of this down a bit. Of course, fantasy is not my genre of choice. Fantasy fans will wish the book was longer. I do wish there had been more interactions with Nate's parents and his sister Cheryl. We see them only briefly, and I kid of missed them. The grandparents in Fablehaven are my favorite part!
What I really think: I'll purchase this one for old time's sake, and it will see enough circulation to justify that cost. The first book still skeeves me out, although this one wasn't quite as bad. I've spent the last fifteen years recommending this series to students by telling them I hate it and that they shouldn't take candy from strangers, and the students have loved the book. Me? I'm never going anywhere NEAR any carnivals that come to my town. Readers of Arden's Small Spaces will find this a good series to pursue once they have finished Empty Smiles.
You may know Brandon Mull as the author of the Fablehaven series or as the mind behind The Five Kingdoms books, or you may have never even heard of him.
Now I present to you The Candy Shop War series, a delicious look into the world of magic confectionery, set in Colson, CA. Books one and two of the series have been known for a few years, but now 2023 will be bringing you another installment of The Candy Shop War.
This time, the Blue Falcons: Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon—whose real name is is Paul—face the Dreams and Screams Carnival, run by another notorious member of the White family. They must pit their wits against those of magicians, swindlers, and, as is to be expected at a carnival, clowns. Are you brave enough to join them?
To find out, await publication of the book in March 2023!
A thrilling conclusion to the Candy Shop War as we meet the last White sibling and explore a dreamlike carnival. I think what really stood out to me in this book was the fully dream like nature of the carnival, with twisting roads and secret areas that only would make sense in a dream. Add in magic candy and an evil witch and you had me sold.
This was such a good book, and a wonderful finale to this series! The Candy Shop War is one of my favorite series, and while having a new book come out ten years later can be nerve-wracking, this hit the mark exactly! It had the same <em>feeling</em> as the previous books, while feeling like a whole new story that wasn't simply rehashing the same thing yet again. While I would love more books in the universe (perhaps even following a new group of friends!), I'm satisfied with this book as the end.
But on the whole this series is great. It hits all the childhood nostalgia boxes, and is just a really great time. This series is definitely Brandon Mull's least popular, but in my opinion it's one of his best!
Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon are back!!! These four are such a great group of friends. I have enjoyed watching them in the three Candy Shop War books. They didn't all know each other in the first book, but watching their friendship and trust build, especially through the many adventures they've experienced, has been fun. I've been eyeing the first two books in this trilogy for years. I've heard nonstop great things about them, but just hadn't picked them up yet. My kiddos had piles of books already planned out for our family read alouds that I just never made it to these. Then I held off thinking we'd listen to the audiobooks of them as we travel and then plans would go awry. So you can be when I saw this third book was available as an advanced copy that I jumped on it, knowing I'd need to go back and read the first two books. I jumped on my device and downloaded the first two in audiobook and dove right in! I loved them! I laughed and made lots of guesses trying to figure out all of the happenings.
The White family is back at it. In the first book, it was Belinda White who was causing mischief in her desire to stay youthful. The second book we were met with her brother and his desire to basically rule the world. Now we have their sister Camilla White come to town with her delightfully fun and every changing Carnival. This group of friends, aka The Blue Falcons, are up against another White to save themselves, their friends and families and all of those disappearing Carnival goers.
Such a creative adventure. I keep thinking throughout all three books that some of these magical candies would be pretty fun to try out. Just for fun and not for trying to save the world, thank you very much! I was again pulled into the story and surprised by all of the twists and turns. Great job Brandon Mull!!! Thanks for sharing your imagination and stories with us readers! It is much appreciated. I'm excited to recommend this trilogy to all of my friends with middle grade readers, and yeah anybody at any age who enjoys this genre! And I'm really excited to see what comes next from this author! I've read his other series and loved them!
Content: Clean. Some moments of mild peril. Magic.
I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.
Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon are back for their third adventure when the mysterious Dreams and Screams International Carnival comes to town. With the carnival blocking all outside magic, they must learn the secrets of how it works. When people start disappearing and dreams manifesting in reality, they must act quickly to discover how to shut the carnival down.
This is a great series for young readers, and this third installment is a wonderful addition. It boasts relatable characters, candy that gives you superpowers, and saving the world from evil. Everything kids love. Now all we need is a Candy Shop recipe book. Who wouldn’t want to try Mr. Stott’s tasty milk shakes and ice cream? I’d even give Belinda’s white fudge and Jonas’s nacho cheese a try.
ARC Copy...quite I am late to the party with this series but I am aware if the main world build element of candies with magical powers which I though was well done and fun. Like the protagonists too...I was wondering and on edge over is the carnival evil or not, which I reader liked. I am feeling the characters emotions too.
After waiting years for the culmination of the Candy Shop War Trilogy what can one really say? It is like biding goodbye to a good friend, it always feels sad. But the ending was absolutely satisfying, including an unexpected but pleasant closure.
Carnival Quest was a “sweet” ride, with fun twists and turns, like a roller coaster. I can’t wait to see what new adventure Mull comes up with next.
This was a huge nostalgia read for me and it did not disappoint! I was a kid when the first Candy Shop Wars book came out and a teenager when the second one was released. I wasn’t sure if there would be a third, so this was a pleasant surprise when I found it on NetGalley!
When a magical carnival starts up in town, the resident magicians are suspicious. Luckily our Blue Falcon gang is able to investigate. When they discover that the carnival is owned by the third White sibling things get dicey fast. The boundaries between the real world and the dream land start to thin and mysterious objects keep cropping up where they shouldn’t. Can the gang figure out what’s going on before reality as we know it is destroyed?
I really enjoyed this book. It is definitely a children’s book in that it doesn’t deal with sensitive or mature content. And as an adult I really enjoyed it. The language did not feel too childish, the story was well written, and it has a solid, easy to follow plot. The characters are likable, and their problems felt realistic and were resolved in a believable way. My inner child wishes the magical candy was real, I mean who wouldn’t want to fly or be able to travel through mirrors!?
Brandon Mull is a talented author and this is perfect if you enjoyed the Fablehaven series, the Beyonders, Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson. This would make a great book to read as a family, or for a bedtime story for older children. I can’t wait for my kids to get older so that I can read it with them too! This will definitely be a re-read for me.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and all opinions are my own.
This b0ok delivers the same engaging and whimsical adventures we've come to expect from Brandon Mull. It's a creative and clever story that at times has great insights. I found this less engaging than previous works but still thoroughly enjoyed, as did my children who are huge BM fans. Thank you for another fantastic adventure. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
When I saw this book was available for review, I decided to request it, even though I hadn't read the other books in the series, because my nine-year-old son had read them--and I figured he'd think I was cool if one of the books I reviewed was one he was interested in! Haha, I really did request it because of my son's interest in this series, and he really was impressed that I got to read an advanced copy of the third book--he excitedly told his friends at school about it. (I DID read the other two books before I started this one, although I don't think it would have been entirely necessary to understand and enjoy this one.)
For me as a reader, this is probably a 3-star book: the plot and setting are well-developed and very detailed; the characters are relatively flat (I'm a character-driven reader so that was a bit of let-down for me) and the language/writing style is all right. It's great that there's a carnival map at the beginning of the book to help readers see where everything is. There aren't as many new magic candies in this book, which was something I really enjoyed about the previous books. (The ones in this book also didn't seem as appealing--clown lips? YUCK!) So, as an adult reader of a middle grade book, this book is good; as a parent, this is definitely a book I'd give to my kids. And for the intended audience (at least my son), this book is a hit.
For my son, this is a 5-star book. This is his review:
"I liked how it's exciting and they have to use their brains to figure out what's happening and how to solve the problems. I liked how the carnival expanded and that there lots of hidden things about it. I like the names of the characters, and I think Nate is funny. I like that they can use magic to turn into different things and have different powers. I like the stuff about dreams. I like that there's a bunch of different characters, and it's really interesting."
So, he really enjoyed it and has started asking when Brandon Mull's next signing event is so he can see him and get his books signed! So, with it getting 3 stars from me and 5 stars from him, we'll average at 4 stars.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
New magical candy, creepy clowns, another mysterious White sibling, and a whole lot of thrills and chills cap off this fantastic conclusion to The Candy Shop War series. Brandon Mull has long been a favorite author in our household, not only for the kids, but the parents too. The imaginative, exciting stories where everyday life and magic secretly coexist make kids want to read and bring out the kid in adults as well. We bought the first Candy Shop War book when our oldest daughter was just seven years old, the second book when she was eleven, and now she’s 21 and highly anticipating this final installment. I’m happy to tell her it does not disappoint!
The Dreams and Screams Carnival is aptly named. Here kids and adults can realize their fondest dreams and scariest nightmares. It’s a fantastical place with hidden locations, spell binding rides, special coins and tickets, secrets, and magic. But some enter the carnival and never come out. The carnival’s next destination is Colson, California of all places where the Blue Falcons consisting of Nate, Pigeon (Paul), Trevor, and Summer, who previously defeated the two White sibling magicians, are gearing up to attend a new middle school.
The Blue Falcons meet a new friend Zac who happens to be a huge social media influencer. He offers to get them special access into the carnival, but local magician Mr. Stott senses the carnival isn’t all that it seems and warns the kids to beware. When their magical candies won’t work and they find out the carnival is owned by none other than Camilla White, yet another White sibling, the kids work together to solve the mystery of where all the disappearing people are hidden. John Dart and a new magician work to help the kids uncover the secrets and battle new foes as well as distinguish between dreams and reality. It’s a fast-paced, imaginative ride middle grade kids and up will definitely enjoy.
Getting to know these amazing kids in this series has been a joy. They’ve all grown not only in confidence, but in their leadership abilities, Nate especially. I love how they all work together and support each other. What kids faced with being granted their hearts desires, would recognize the lie and be able to withstand the temptation? I enjoyed the subtle messages in the book of nothing worthwhile is ever easy and it’s better to live in a flawed reality than a fake dreamworld.
I’m honestly sad to see the series end. I’m hoping there might just be one more White relative to wreak havoc on Colson so we can see these great kids again. While this is the third book in the series, it could be read as a standalone, however, I highly recommend reading the previous books first. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review. Content: Clean with mild violence.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Shadow Mountain in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.
Age: Middle Grade
Violence: Low (similar to the rest of the story)
I love how we have some of our favorite character from earlier in the season. There's also Zac, a newcomer, and social media influences which makes the entire series feel brand new. It's also wonderful how the kids are thrust into the problems and must solve the problems.
And there's a real problem! Kids are disappearing! This is great with puzzlers for kids and adults. I love it when books have an element of mystery.
A carnival is a perfect place for this novel to take place. Aren't carnivals, clowns, and game hucksters all inherently creepy?
This author earned my trust years ago, and I know I'm in safe hands for a fun experience. The Candy Shop Wars has remained one of my favorites for this age group.
So, don't accept any candy from strangers. And go read this book instead.
Y’all this was the best ending to the saga! There’s magical candy, adventure, suspense, hilarious dialogue, and the most heroic kids! The book was a little slow in the beginning but once it picked up, it SOARED! I’m just so happy to be back reading about some of my favorite characters and finally getting the most perfect conclusion.
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
This series is such fun! I've been looking forward to the third book for a long time and it didn't disappoint! There were definitely some unexpected twists and turns which was amazing! My one small complaint was there weren't very many new candies. But the ones that were introduced were awesome! Something I love about this series is the unique ideas! I love that it's set in a time and place that's possible. What sets this story apart from the rest of the series is the fact that it deals with new ideas and they are crazy big ideas! I also thought the ending wrapped the series up well, but also left it open to possibly more books if that were to happen. But if it doesn't then it's not loss because it is wrapped up so well! Once again Brandon cast a spell with his writing and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!
A fun ride.
Would you like to live in a world where dreams become reality? Or have magical candy that gives you special powers for a short time? Interestingly, the author didn’t intend The Candy Shop War to be a series but so many fans of the first book kept asking for more, according to the acknowledgments.
Nate, Trevor, Summer and Pigeon are now in 6th grade and attend middle school where they meet new friends Zac and Benji. A theme park comes to town with games, rides, and creepy evil clowns. Something suspicious is happening with the carnival so the kids investigate along with some help from Mozag, Victor and Ziggy Battiato, John Dart, Lindy, and Mr. Stott. They have the same magical candy plus some new ones, but it plays a lesser role.
This book takes place shortly after book 2 ends. For it to make the most sense, you will want to read the books in order. Carnival Quest has a little different feel from the previous two books. Some of it takes place in an abstract dream world and there are deep thoughts about how you use your life and being in control of your mind. This is a great end to the series with lots of surprises. Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC to use for my review.
Yet another success by Brandon Mull! Colson is a town of magic, and one children across the world would love to live in. In this finale to his exciting series, the Blue Falcon crew battles their most mind-boggling foe yet. I had hoped to see Roman and the others from Arcade Catastrophe, but the new characters filled that original void. Overall, this is one more favorite to add to my shelf by Mull.
Carnival Quest is a fun addition to the series. Not everything is as it seems. New characters and alliances bring more to the story. Teamwork, trust, and understanding are valuable lessons for life.
This was such a fun book and continuation of the Candy Show War Series! The magic was more engaging and changing to keep the reader interested. Loved seeing these characters again. What’s not to love about a magical carnival with hidden secrets?
Carnival Quest has been the long-coming finale to The Candy Shop War trilogy. It’s been many years since I’ve read the first and second books and I was able to easy jump right back into the world. Despite being a middle grade reading level, I was engrossed in and excited for the adventure that Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon found themselves on. The premise of the carnival reminded me so much of Meow Wolf in Santa Fe (which I absolutely love): secret maps, doors leading to new worlds, special coins that give the rider an usual attraction experience. I can see kids loving this story and parents (or adults with no kids!) enjoying it along with them. This goes for any of Brandon Mull’s books though, I can’t recommend them enough.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was such a fun read. I first read the candy shop war when I was in third grade so when I saw this on NetGalley I immediately requested it for nostalgia's sake. I loved seeing all of the characters and all of the adventures that they went on together. I loved how fast-paced it was. There was the perfect mix of mystery, magic, action, and adventure. Overall I am very satisfied with the close of this series and cant wait to read it with my younger sister.
I was ecstatic to see a new Candy Shop award book. Brandon Mull has a talent for magical, imaginative stories feeling realistic. There are so many great discussion points with this book. I loved the main theme of the story. It is better to live in a flawed world than a fake dreamlike world. I can’t wait to introduce this to students.
A flash-bang finish to a wonderful series! I've been reading these books almost from the beginning and I've loved reading each book and joining in these adventures.
The carnival setting was especially fun for this book, and Brandon Mull always does an amazing job of creating new magic systems. Though we get the magic candy that started this series and we all love, we also got new twists and crazy new situations that call for something a little extra. I still love these characters and also loved the new additions to the cast in this story.
My son has loved this whole series (age 15). So fun and imaginative. These books are well written and perfect for any age!
We have read and enjoyed almost everything Brandon Mull has written. Best of all his books are clean and wholesome so I never worry that my kids will read something I would not approve of in his books.