Our Kingdom of Dust by Leonard Kinsey, a review
Jeff: Aside from our massive Disney book collections (OK, fine, George’s is bigger than mine), we’re also voracious readers. So, when a novel comes along, that also takes place in a Disney theme park, of course we’re going to snatch it up and read it. I’m sure most of you have heard of The Kingdom Keeper series before, but if you’re thinking this book will be like that…think again.
Our Kingdom of Dust, by Leonard Kinsey, is a fantastic debut novel set at Walt Disney World.
George: The track record of novels set in Walt Disney World is fairly poor. Usually the author compromises on geography or just doesn’t get the theme park magic. Leonard Kinsey is most familiar as the author of the Dark Side of Disney, which is a decidedly more irreverent and humorous look at visiting Walt Disney World. Leonard’s novel, Our Kingdom of Dust, builds on his knowledge and love of Disney with a compelling and thought-provoking story.
Jeff: Dust follows the story of Blaine McKinnon, whose life has left a lot to be desired. After a series of tragic events forces him to rethink his life, Blaine returns to the only place that ever truly made him happy: Walt Disney World. Once there, the book follows a similar vein of The Dark Side of Disney, showing that there is always a dark side to everything. Like George mentioned, Leonard uses his knowledge and love of the Park to create a wonderful story set in some very familiar places.
George: A hallmark of a great novel is when you can place yourself in the situation and examine what you would do. Kinsey’s novel is a gripping page-turner that made me wonder how I would have reacted in certain situations. I’m not saying that Kinsey has written the great American novel, but he has written a great read that is full of compelling characters. You will find yourself drawn into the story and wondering how Kinsey will resolve the issues, if at all.
Jeff: What struck me about Our Kingdom of Dust was how real everything felt. Leonard did an amazing job of not just describing a place that we all know and love, but he also populated it with characters that seem like they could be people we know. A few are based on real Disney personalities, but he altered them just enough to make them his own. It’s a quick read at 180 pages, but Leonard manages to weave a compelling story that keeps you on the edge of your seat for all of it.
George: As can be expected from the author of the Dark Side of Disney, this book does travel down some interesting streets, but I would still urge most Disney fans to check it out. Frankly, I would recommend this book to non-Disney fans because it helps explain our unique, umm, obsessions we have with Disney theme parks. You might be turned off by some of the language and situations, but I urge you to take the time and invest several hours in Blaine’s world (Party Time! Excellent!) and seeing Disney through his eyes.
Jeff: Exactly. This won’t be the typical Disney cup of tea, all bright and cheery. It does, however, keep true to the human condition. This is a book that contains real people, and really messed up situations. But these messed up situations are ones that you can find yourself in very easily. Leonard doesn’t skimp on the harshness of life in Our Kingdom of Dust, and honestly, the story is all the more better for it.
George: This is a book that I enjoyed reading and I am glad that I took the chance. Well-developed characters, a place that I love and some seriously laugh-out-loud moments combine to make a really good read. I applaud you, Leonard and I am seriously looking forward to your next project.
Jeff: All in all, I’d definitely give this book two thumbs up (if we’re rating by thumbs, that is). I’d even give it five out of five Mickey heads. If you can get past the surreal situations and the darker side of all things Disney, I would highly recommend it. I really don’t think you’d be disappointed.
George: I think we should give Our Kingdom of Dust five out of five Citrus Swirls!
You can visit Bamboo Forest Publishing to learn more about the book or purchase a copy.
You can also purchase the book from Amazon in print or for your Kindle.
Have you read Our Kingdom of Dust?
Have you read any good fiction that takes place at Walt Disney World? What do you think about fiction that takes place in a Disney park?