Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Breaking Badlands (Talespinners #3) by Scott Reintgen

For Book Lovers of All Ages



Having saved Imagination twice now, Indira is on a well-earned vacation when she is kidnapped by the Anti-Heroes. The covert group has one goal: overthrow the tyrannical leader of Fester and Antagonist Academy. After they plead their case, Indira agrees to join their secret mission and go undercover as a student at the legendary school for villains-in-training – where she gets drawn into a virtual warfare competition known as the Badlands.
Facing monster teachers, plotting classmates, distracting love interests and combative old foes is all second nature to a hero like Indira. But what happens when that heroic nature is turned against her like a weapon? Can Indira get to the bottom of what’s going on in Fester before this virtual battlescape spills over into a real war for ultimate control of Imagination?


I didn’t think it was possible for me to love this series even more than I already do.


The story starts out great but then enters my least favorite overused story trope: the love triangle. Indira now has two love interests battling for her attention. I don’t know about you, but I think love triangles are stupid. The girl goes on and on about how great both boys are and (cue dramatic hand on forehead) how is she ever supposed to choose just one? UGH! Luckily that nonsense doesn’t take up the whole story.


I’ve been wanting to learn about Fester and Antagonist Academy since book 1.A hero is a hero, but everyone loves a good villain. And I’m not talking about the villains who are evil for the sake of being evil. A good villain is much more complicated than that. A strong antagonist needs to be fiendishly clever, have a thirst for power, and a tragic backstory that motivates them to do what they do.



Many of literatures most devious antagonistsmake a full cameo while others are only briefly mentioned. But one particular villain plays a major role and it’s none other than one of the most famous and greatest literary villains of all time: Iago. And no. I am not referring to the bird from the Disney movie Aladdin. I’m talking about the manipulative antagonist from Shakespeare’s Othello, which I read in 10th grade English class.


I love how the story addresses the fact that good and evil isn’t as black and white as it has been made out at be. No one is entirely good or entirely evil. In my opinion, the best type of characters are the anti-heroes. An anti-hero is a character who is deeply flawed, conflicted, and often has a cloudy moral compass, but that’s what makes them realistic, complex, and even likeable.The good guys with a dark side, the bad guys with a soft spot.


Just like the first book, the story is jam-packed with references to classic literature, many of which I had to look up. I particularly loved the reference to the ‘Great Gatsby’, a reference I only understood because I watched The Family Guy reenactment version of the classic.


I’m sorry that this review is mostly me rambling about the story’s featured subjects but I don’t know what I can say without giving away too many spoilers. Just read the whole series. You won’t regret it.


Sadly, this is the third and final book in the series. I was really hoping for a book that featured all the animal characters. I really wanted to see characters like Clifford the Big Red Dog or Puss in Boots make a cameo. The name of the school for animal characters is mentioned so I guess that’s something.

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