The Forbidden Power

illus. by Alessandro Valdrighi. 192p. (LEGO NEXO Knights: Bk. 1). ebook available. Scholastic. Jan. 2017. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781338041835. POP
Gr 2–5—This first installment in a planned series features the hapless, shy Fletcher Bowman and his bold, wisecracking friend Isabella Richmond, first-year students at the Knights' Academy. Readers are likely familiar with the LEGO NEXO Knights' realm via the brick building sets, the app, the online games, the Cartoon Network TV show, the beginning reader books published by DK, or the short chapter books also published by Scholastic. However, Brallier offers enough explication that readers new to the franchise will be able to follow the action. In this new story, Fletch and Izzy confront snobby classmates and bend the rules to complete their first quest and compete in the "Combatition." In the process, they awaken a stone giant, nearly destroy the kingdom, and finally (at least temporarily) banish the villain. Fletch doesn't have Izzy's fighting skills or bravado, but he does have the feeling, which turns out to be "olden-days magic." Fletch must keep the feeling to himself, however, because Principal Brickland believes that "magic turns everyone evil." But Merlok 2.0 (a digitized hologram of the powerful magician) will probably help Fletch develop his skills in future installments. Brallier's plot zips along with short sentences and lots of quick action. Tongue-in-cheek humor and flippant, fresh dialogue keep the fighting from being too serious and the villains from becoming too scary.
VERDICT Bound to circulate like hotcakes among LEGO fans. Recommended for most public and school library collections.

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