“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to your new home.” He gestured to the stone walls of the cavern that surrounded them. “Your lives as you once knew them are over,” he continued. “You have been selected, all of you—the worst, the most cunning, the most mischievous minds from around the world—selected to become part of an institution like no other. You have all exhibited certain unique abilities, abilities that set you apart from the mediocrity of the teeming masses and that mark you out as the leaders of tomorrow. Here, in this place, you will be furnished with the knowledge and experience to best exploit your own natural abilities, to hone your craft to a cutting edge.”

This paragraph comes from H.I.V.E.: The Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Mark Walden. It is a good paragraph as it does a lot of work to set up the story line and the purpose of the school that these children have been brought too. Its usage of varied punctuation helps the flow as the reader does not become stopped by an overwhelming amount of punctuation which other children’s stories can contain. It also effectively uses dashes to relay information. The sentences are varied in length and complexity which helps with the flow as it seems like many children’s book have a lot of shorter sentences which can be hard to read after a while. I also appreciate the word choice here. The book is written in a way that speaks to older children, but the storyline is appealing to people of all ages. This paragraph draws readers in, and helps them to see what is occurring; they are not just being told.

 

As the dragon glided down toward the circle of gazebos around the former shrine to the Fairy Queen, Kendra struggled to calm herself. It would be good to see Bracken. She would try to wait and hear what he had to say before freaking out. They passed over a hedge wall and landed in the field near the whitewashed boardwalk that surrounded the pond.

Bracken stood on the steps up to the boardwalk, dressed in a loose white shirt and jeans. Devastatingly handsome, he jogged toward Kendra once she had landed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Fablehaven books by Brandon Mull. I read them with my dad, and have great memories of doing so. But sometimes, the writing is not quite the best – the above demonstrates that effectively. Going straight from “devastatingly handsome” to “jogging towards Kendra” creates an awkward flow due to the poor word choice. It does not have anything to do with how a person jogs – it is a misplaced modifier, or at least a misplaced adverb. It creates a weird effect on the writing, and causes readers to pause. In order to improve this awkwardness, the author would just need to revise a little. Also, it would be nice to have a bit more show and less tell in the descriptions. But it fits the genre and is effective with reaching the audience.

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