Spectre Thirteen: A Charlie Walker Novel by Nick Pobursky

Spectre Thirteen: A Charlie Walker Novel by Nick Pobursky

The number of fiction books written about Disney parks is rather small. The number of good fiction books about Disney parks is even smaller.

With that out of the way, I’d like to introduce you to Spectre Thirteen, the second book in the Charlie Walker series. And one of the great fiction books about Disney parks. Check out my review of the first book, Hollow World, here. Leonard Kinsey from Bamboo Forest Publishing sent me a review copy and I was eager to dive into the book.

Charlie Walker is an ex-detective that made his way to become the head of Walt Disney World Security through the events of Hollow World. In Spectre Thirteen, we catch up with a Charlie Walker that’s living his best life surrounded by his family and friends. As expected (and hoped) Charlie’s enemy hatches a diabolical plot to destroy Walt Disney World!

Destroy Walt Disney World?

Author Nick Pobursky weaves another tale that is wrought with high action, intrigue, suspense and Walt Disney World. Nick knows Disney inside and out, and is able to paint a (Disney) world that is true. Fans of Walt Disney World will be surprised at the locations that Charlie explores as he hunts down Spectre Thirteen and attempts to pull apart the plan to destroy (yes, destroy) Walt Disney World.

Aided by the CIA X-Ray team, a rag tag bunch of highly skilled operatives, Charlie works to  keep his family alive. And Walt Disney World safe. Nick also brings Leonard Kinsey’s maligned Habst character into the novel. Habst is the unexpected anti-hero of Leonard’s Habst and the Disney Saboteurs (2016) novel and plays a major roll in the latest Bamboo Forest Publishing title. With Spectre Thirteen, Nick further unites the Bamboo Forest Publishing Universe of characters.

Nick is a master of action and plot development. His characters are rich and you feel the connections between them. Several moments in Spectre Thirteen are painted so cinematically that you’re just waiting for the movie announcement. Seriously, Nick is one of the lucky authors that can write action scenes and make them believable and exciting.

Spectre Thirteen is a novel for adults; no bones about it. There are scenes of violence and other adult activities, but don’t let that scare you away. Nick’s book is an E-Ticket experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Dive into Spectre Thirteen, you won’t regret it. But make sure to pick up Hollow World first so you enjoy Nick’s latest book to the fullest.

Have You Read Spectre Thirteen or Any of the Other Bamboo Forest Publishing books?

FTC Disclosure: In some cases, a copy might have been provided by the company for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!

The Keymaster’s Quest – Tales from Adventureland

The Keymaster’s Quest – Tales from Adventureland by Jason Lethcoe

Intrigue, Adventureland and fun!

The Keymaster’s Quest is a new series by Disney that brings to life Adventureland, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and a little bit of the Adventurer’s Club, all mixed with excitement and intrigue. The book is also a little bit of Indiana Jones combined with the good parts of the National Treasure movie.

I had no idea what to expect with the review copy of book, since the Tales from the Haunted Mansion title was so bland. Based on the cover and the blurb sent by the publisher, The Keymaster’s Quest looks like a book that’s going be perfect for late elementary school kids (fourth and fifth grade) and Adventureland fans.

Andy Stanley is our young hero and we first meet him as he’s attending the rather strange and exotic funeral of his late grandfather, Ned Lostmore. From there we meet a cast of characters that are drawn as wild and zany as you would expect to find in Adventureland or associated with the Jungle Cruise.

Speaking of the Jungle Cruise, there are a lot of hidden and not-so-hidden references to the iconic Disney attraction. Disney fans will get a kick out of the references and they help set the tone of the story.

The Keymaster’s Quest is engaging and offers a lot of cliffhangers. Lethcoe includes several puzzles that the reader can try to figure out before the answer is revealed. Most are codes and ciphers that require a bit of processing. We are also introduced to a larger world, including the “Jungle Explorer’s Society” that keeps dangerous artifacts from falling into the wrong hands.

This book is going to be loved by 8-10 year-olds that like adventure series and are Disney fans. They will love seeing bits and pieces of a beloved attraction used in a story full of intrigue and adventure!

Title: The Keymaster’s Quest – Tales from Adventureland
Author: Jason Lethcoe
ISBN: 978-14847143-2
Release Date: September 26, 2017

Are you going to pick upThe Keymaster’s Quest – Tales from Adventureland?

FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!

Lost In A Book with Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

What if Belle got lost in a book?

Ever wonder what happened to Belle during her time spent in Beast’s enchanted castle? You know, besides the snowball fight? What made her fall in love with Beast and break the spell?

Lost in a Book, a new novel set during the time period of the award-winning film, Beauty and the Beast, takes us deeper into the story that has won the hearts of millions (and inspired a restaurant at Walt Disney World).

The book intrigued me on a few levels. We meet Love and Death, two sisters playing chess and discussing the curse placed on Beast. We get insight into the curse and how it happened.

The story starts at the moment in the film when Beast gives the library in the castle to Belle. As Belle and the servants clean the library, Belle stumbles upon an enchanted book that offers her a glamorous life outside the castle, even though it’s in the pages of a book.

Donnelly weaves a deft tale that’s surprisingly deeper than just a look at a moment in the film. With Lost in a Book, Donnelly offers a look at love, death and friendship. And how we have to be careful not to get lost in a book. Or in a modern day parlance, not to get lost in a virtual world.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I found the book to be a sensational page-turner. Despite the fact that it is a fairly quick read, the book still held my attention and had me wondering how the story would resolve. I mean, you’ve seen the movie, right?

Who Should Read Lost in a Book?

Obviously, fans of Beauty and the Beast should read Donnelly’s book. I’ve enjoyed Donnelly’s Waterfire Saga (even though I’m not the target audience) and found that Lost In A Book shares Donnelly’s well-crafted story-telling and character development. The book is very enjoyable and will hopefully tie in well with the upcoming live-action film. Donnelly’s novel set in the world of Beauty and the Beast is a lot of fun. Teens and adults will enjoy this book!

Title: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
ISBN: 978-1484780985
Release Date: January, 31, 2017

Are you going to check out Lost in a Book?

FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!

Iron Man The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer

Iron Man The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer, a book review

Iron Man The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer is another entry in Marvel’s young adult series. I’ve reviewed (and loved) the Black Widow series. When I found out Colfer was writing an entry about Iron Man, I was excited. Colfer should be swell-known name to ImagiNERDs—I’ve both loved his Artemis Fowl and WARP series. Colfer’s style is engaging, witty and, at times, sarcastic. I knew Colfer would be a great person to tackle Iron Man and Tony Stark.

Iron Man The Gauntlet straddles the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the comic books. It’s a great tie-in for both genres and will satisfy fans of the films, comic and cartoons. There’s no direct correlation to the films, but it’s a perfect addition. Fans and newcomers will learn quite a bit about Iron Man.

In Iron Man The Gauntlet, Colfer takes us into Tony’s past and we see a principal interaction between Tony and his father that sets Tony on a more altruistic path. Again, Colfer’s experience writing young adult and tween novels helps him build very believable characters.

Fans of Iron Man tech are going to love the book, especially the moments when Tony is backed into a corner and has to make due with partial suits and equipment. Friday, Iron Man’s artificial intelligence, and Tony Stark’s RoboTony (which does a lot of Tony’s yacht appearances when Iron Man is on a covert mission) both play a large part of the story and act as comic foils.

The gist of the story is that Tony is scheduled to make an appearance at an environmental conference in Ireland. Tony’s yacht, piloted by the RoboTony while the real Tony was on a mission, makes it’s way to Ireland. The yacht is pretty impressive and fans will love getting an inside peak at it. Tony decides to take his party pack suit, which is used for PR and public appearances. While he’s flying to the summit, he gets. ping on a boat on a deserted island. He decides to investigate it and that’s when the surprises happen.

One of the characters that helps ground the book in the teen  world is Saoirse Tory, a young Irish woman who ends up becoming the hero of the story.

Overall, there’s a lot of well-written action scenes in the book, which is expected since it is a superhero novel. But Colfer does take us deeper into Tony’s psyche as well as that of Saoirse. Yes, there is some teen angst, but all of the characters’ emotions lead to a deeper story. As intoned, there are times when Tony is backed into a corner without his suit or with a less powerful suit. We see Tony and Saoirse really depend on their intellects. The villain of the book is different from the movies (he is in one of the Iron Man films) and aligns closely with the comics. He’s drawn very well and an obvious villain to Tony as a hero.

Fans of Iron Man are going to love the book, especially the look at a few of the suits and how they function. If you’re new to the Iron Man universe, Colfer does a great job of bringing you up to speed and not leaving anyone behind.

Iron man The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it, along with the Black Widow books.

Title: Iron Man, The Gauntlet
Author: Eoin Colfer
ISBN: 978-1484741603
Release Date: October 25, 2016

Have you read Iron Man The Gauntlet?

FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!

Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie Viguie

Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie Viguie, a book review

The Summer of Cotton Candy by Debby Viguie is a teen novel set in the fictional theme park world of The Zone. The Zone, similar to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, is set close to the Los Angeles area. Candace Thompson is the center of the longer series; she is a young teen who is finding out who she is and what she wants to do.

Debbie is married to Dr. Scott, friend of ImagiNERDs everywhere. Dr. Scott is also the Dr. Geek of Dr. Geek’s Lab. I was fortunate enough to serve on two panels at DragonCon with Scott and Debbie and she gave me a copy of the book to review.

Any theme park-related book piques my interest. The Summer of Cotton Candy isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed a teen book or a teen romance, (here and here) sort of, for ImagiNERDing; yes, this book is geared towards the young teen girl who loves theme parks and struggles with entering a much larger world.

So, the Zone was a theme park started by a sport star and offers multiple areas with different themes. Debbie brings the theme park to life. She creates attractions that fit the area and feel like they could be real.

About The Summer of Cotton Candy

Candace’s parents force her to get a summer job. The nerve! This causes a lot of ripples, especially with her summer plans with her very wealthy BFF, Tamara. How is she going to hang out with Tamara if she has to work all the time?

Because Candace applied to the Zone so late, she’s got a choice between two jobs and the one she chooses is selling cotton candy. Of course, her name tag gets messed up and it says Candy. Yes, Candy selling cotton candy; it leads to several interesting situations.

So, I mentioned it is a teen romance and Candy does see a face character that melts her heart. She also runs into other people that work in the Zone that challenge her ideas of friendship. Surprising, one guy wasn’t the love interest. I really felt the book was heading that way and it never did.

Debbie has a great style and all of her characters felt realistic. She paints a very cool theme park with some interesting and unique rides. A few of the rides sounded quite terrifying—in a good way. If I have anything negative to say, it’s just that there is some religion brought into the book, but it wasn’t overwhelming and was never preachy. It’s a very quick read and a perfect beach book.

A larger lesson is learned by several characters about looking past what’s on the outside and getting to know the person. It wasn’t heavy-handed and it was delivered in a very sweet way.

I enjoyed the book, even though I wasn’t the target audience. Teens and tweens that are interested in theme parks will love this book. Teen girls dealing with boys, friendships and new people will find a friend in Candy. The Summer of Cotton Candy is a fun read and I’m glad that Debbie offered me a copy.

Title: The Summer of Cotton Candy
Author: Deb Viguie
ISBN: 978-0310715580
Release Date: May 11, 2008

Have you read the Summer of Cotton Candy or other books set in theme parks?

Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale

Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

What if the Sleeping Beauty never woke up?

George: Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale is more than just a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty. The animated film has had a couple of re-tellings over the past few years, especially by Disney. We reviewed Liz Bradwell’s A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) and we loved how she took the story in a different direction. The premise of the Twisted Tales series is that the author takes a beloved animated film from Disney and re-imagines it–as if something different might have happened.

Jeff: The first book in the series followed Aladdin’s tale to a T for the first quarter, before veering wildly off the path. This go-round tells Sleeping Beauty’s tale different right from the first page. Instead of starting at the beginning, the book begins with the question: “What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up?”

Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

George: Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale is a very interesting way to re-boot the story, but I still found myself wandering (and wondering) during the first part of the book. It didn’t make enough sense until a pivotal plot point was explained, that, theoretically, could have happened during the final moments of the animated film Sleeping Beauty. From there, it was a very Matrix-like point…or sort of like an Inception-like dream.

Jeff: It WAS a bit of a confused story, as George mentioned. I would have been better off NOT reading the book’s description at first, and just taking it all in, before the reveal happened. That said, the first part of the book was an interesting peek into what life would be like with Maleficent in charge…

George: And that’s where the twist comes in. It’s not the same world we saw at the end of the movie and it takes some time for us to piece it together. Once the action really started though, the book picked up speed and was much more enjoyable. There’s a lot of dream within a dream to the story and, in hindsight, it pays off more than I thought. Still, it’s not for everyone, though.

Jeff: I had the opposite reaction of George, though. While confusing, I did enjoy the first half of the book more. The second half just seemed like a series of action pieces, relaying the same information again and again to fill the page count before the final battle. I started to get bored, and anxious for the end to arrive.

George: And you didn’t just skip ahead?

Jeff: You know me. I’d feel bad, and then I would think the book is mad at me for skipping, so I stuck it out!

George: Good point. I have to admit that the Aladdin book confused me, too, since I was really expecting a similar story. And I wasn’t prepared for the darkness. The Sleeping Beauty book never seemed to be as dark, although some pretty devastating things happen. It does lead us into a different ending from the film, that’s a little meatier than expected.

Jeff: This re-telling wasn’t as drastically different as Aladdin was. Aladdin took the normal story, waited until a quarter of the way through, and then told a completely different tale. With this one, everything in the movie happened, up until the last 2 minutes…it’s more an extension than anything else! But, it does add some new twists and turns into the mix, and changes it up a bit.

George: Overall, we both enjoyed Once Upon a Dream, but it wasn’t as interesting as A Whole New World. It’s written more for teens and some of the violence might not be appropriate for tweens and younger. Adults enamored with Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent are going to enjoy the Twisted Tale, especially when they get to put the story together.

Jeff: I agree. If you just let yourself go with the flow, you’ll find an enjoyable take on Sleeping Beauty’s tale, with some new things to think about the story with along the way.

Have you read Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell?

Alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair and Jon Scieszka

Alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair and Jon Scieszka

George: Alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair has just been released. Disney has published several picture books over the past few years to coincide with re-releases of animated films or film tie-ins. We’ve seen Mary Blair’s artwork in Cinderella with text by Cynthia Rylant and Peter Pan by Dave Barry. Alice in Wonderland has just been released with text by Jon Scieszka and art by Mary Blair. Like the other releases I just mentioned, Mary Blair’s concept art is the basis for the book.

Jeff: However, this time around, the Alice book is a re-release from an earlier one, just in time for the new Alice in Wonderland live action film. While it usually might be something we say “meh, been there, done that before” about, you can really never go wrong with Mary Blair’s art. The original came out in 2008, and this one, with a new cover, is dated 2016.

Walt Disney’s alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair and Jon Scieszka

George: And we have nothing at all against Jon Scieszka, but the reason to pick up Alice in Wonderland is simply for Mary Blair’s stunning concept artwork. Jon Scieszka is a well-known children’s author. He’s most famous for his 1992 book, the Stinky Cheese Man. Anyway, Scieszka’s story is rather stripped down and just focuses on Blair’s art that is used in the book. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just like the Cliff’s Notes for the film.

Jeff: Which, again, is totally OK. And this re-release justifies buying a copy, and then not feeling too bad about wanting to cut the pages out of the book to hang on your wall, because again, Mary Blair art. It’s gorgeous, it looks pristine, and can we get more Mary Blair art please?

Walt Disney’s alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair and Jon Scieszka

George: Alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair is 64 pages, with artwork on every spread, so there are at least 30 works of art. So, if you are going to buy a copy to cut out and frame, you might need to buy two copies. And you’ll still need one to keep. So, three copies?

Jeff: Let’s just make it four, because why not? Seriously, I love that they continue to release books featuring the original concept work of Mary, and this is no exception. Jon does a great job of conveying the story into its simplest points, as George said, but its really the artwork on display here.

Have you read Alice in Wonderland by Mary Blair and Jon Scieszka?

Midlife Mouse by Wayne Franklin

Midlife Mouse by Wayne Franklin

Midlife Mouse, a work of fiction set at Walt Disney World gets reviewed by Jeff and George! Let us know your thoughts, especially if you’ve also read this novel.

GeorgeMidlife Mouse by Wayne Franklin is a fiction release centered on Walt Disney World and the mythology of Walt Disney. I’m always cautious about new fiction since the track record for novels set at Walt Disney World doesn’t rank very high. That’s not to say that Midlife Mouse doesn’t have it’s high points, but any work of fiction about Disney that lands on my desk raises an eyebrow.

Jeff: Like George said, fiction set at Walt Disney World is a slippery slope. As popular as Kingdom Keepers is, some Disney fans have a problem with how Pearson sets the parks up. Thankfully Midlife Mouse doesn’t have that problem. Franklin does an amazing job of making you feel like you’re in the Parks when you read the book.

George: We meet Bill Durmer, who’s the lost patriarch of a long-standing Southern family. He finds himself at a crossroads and isn’t sure which way he wants to go. A trip to Walt Disney World with his wife, two daughters and his sister’s family thrusts Bill into a world that he doesn’t quite understand at first.

Jeff: From there, it’s quite a ride. Bill is thrown into the center of a prophecy, torn between many different factions, with the fate of Disney resting in his hands. For those of you who like a bit of fantasy thrown into Walt Disney World (and frankly, if you’re visiting the Parks, chances are, you do), you’ll enjoy the intricate web that Franklin weaves in the story.

George: A lot of people might be worried that Midlife Mouse is going to be like the Kingdom Keeper series and take vast leaps with the geography of Walt Disney World (like having the characters travel from one location to another in a way that’s not really possible) or the history of the company. Disney nerds should take heed that Wayne Franklin knows his Disney history. Although Bill pleads to not know a lot of Disney trivia or history, he quickly becomes one of the foremost experts on Disney. I was impressed with the attention to detail that Wayne writes about and could find no fault with his iteration of Disney history. Wayne is a Disney geek of the highest order.

Jeff: That being said, I did have a few issues with the book. Again, I enjoyed it for the most part, but there were some things that sprung up throughout the book that didn’t sit right with me. As mentioned, Bill, the lead character, claims not to be a Disney expert, but has a vast knowledge of the company’s history after reading a few books, when it suits the story. That, and some of the far-reaching fantasy elements just seemed slightly out of place to me.

George: Midlife Mouse is an interesting read. Wayne is a really good author with a fantastic command of the language. There are some cliff-hanger elements, which make it an enjoyable pool read. For me, I had a hard time getting into the mythology that Wayne presents. It well done, but simply not my cup of tea. I like my fiction based more in reality when it comes to Disney and the flights of fancy kept jarring me out of the book.

Jeff: I agree with George. That’s not to say there isn’t an audience for this type of book, because there clearly is. A large one, at that! I feel like a lot of Disney fans will enjoy the book; we’re just not it’s target audience. Definitely a good summer-time read for older Disney fans. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like this was for a little more mature audience than Kingdom Keepers. If you have a teen that is moving on from that series, this may be the choice for them.

Have you read Midlife Mouse?

Habst and the Disney Saboteurs by Leonard Kinsey

Habst and the Disney Saboteurs by Leonard Kinsey, a book review

George: When I got my review copy of Habst and the Disney Saboteurs, the new novel by Leonard Kinsey, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that I was glad to have his second novel in my hands, especially since I knew it would be a great read even if it was only half as good as Our Kingdom of Dust. Leonard is known for positing on the Dark Side of Disney and not everything he writes is safe for work. That’s what makes his novels so good; he takes the magic of Walt Disney World and infuses it with comedy, great characters and a ton of action. There are also a few surprises tucked in there.

Jeff: Like George mentioned, Leonard has never stayed on the family friendly side of things when it comes to his writing, and the same holds true for Habst and the Disney Saboteurs. This is definitely not a book you want to read to the kids at night. Instead, this is meant for when you’re relaxing in your easy chair, drinking your scotch in your smoking jacket. Having thoroughly enjoyed Our Kingdom of Dust, Kinsey’s first foray into fiction, I was very much looking forward to this one. And I wasn’t disappointed.

George: Smoking jacket? Like those robes we had at the Grand Californian?

Jeff: Just like them, but more classy! Speaking of classy, Habst is not! Tell us a bit about him, George!

George: Okay, Habst is our hero, of sorts, who doesn’t really think he’s the hero, He’s a burnout, tech prodigy and Disney fanatic. He’s also living with his slightly underage girlfriend and her very wealthy mom. He sounds pretty bad and it might be hard to see how Habst is the hero until you find yourself deep down the rabbit hole. And what a rabbit hole it is! But before we get going, there are some Dark Side of Disney returning characters we need to talk about.

Jeff: Of course! For those of you who have already read Hollow World by Nick Probusky, you’ll recognize Charlie Walker. Charlie is now head of Walt Disney World security, and helps kind of tie the “Bamboo Forest” fiction world together. There are a lot of great little nods to previous Bamboo titles, and it’s really interesting to see Leonard (and Nick) create this world that they can play (and write) in!

Leonard called. Needs more boats.

George: Besides being very excited to see high-quality fiction about Disney come out of Bamboo Forest Publishing, it’s great to just see really intelligent, exciting and funny fiction about Disney. Moving along, we are introduced to a large number of characters, including two brothers that might surprise everyone. Leonard himself will tell you that there’s a fair amount of fantasy involved in the book and, and, unlike Midlife Mouse (which was good but oddly put together) in which we find a secret society controlling the future of the Disney Company, Habst and the Disney Saboteurs has a deep setting in advanced technology that is believable and fantastic at the same time. It feels like you’re reading what could of and should have happened with EPCOT Center.

Jeff: Overall, Habst and the Disney Saboteurs takes you to places that others have not been before, especially in a Disney setting. It definitely combines reality with a good bit of fantasy, but fantasy that theoretically is possible. Sure, Habst may be a burn out and a loser, but by the end of the tale, you do wind up rooting for him and hoping it all works out. It’s definitely a good, adult oriented yarn of fiction that I think fans of Disney, especially EPCOT Center like George said, will appreciate.

George: It wouldn’t be a review of a Bamboo Forest Publishing title without a caveat or two. Habst and the Disney Saboteurs isn’t for the faint of heart or readers who aren’t fond of illegal and illicit material. There are references to drug use, sex and the Darknet, which could offend readers but I would urge you to look past those and enjoy the book for the well-crafted story and fantastic characters.

Jeff: Exactly. It is a heavily researched book, and Kinsey definitely put a lot of time into the material, so he definitely knows his stuff. That said, like George mentioned, if you’re easily offended, stay away. But, if you’re looking for a good read, this is definitely one to pick up!

George: It does need more boats.

Are you going to pick up a copy of Habst and the Disney Saboteurs? What do you think about darker fiction based at Walt Disney World?

Hollow World by Nick Pobursky, a review

Hollow World by Nick Pobursky, a review

George: Anyone who reads us regularly knows that we’re not big fans of fiction set at Disney parks. We’ve run across a few titles, though, that have been fantastic reads. This summer, we reviewed Disneylanders by Kate Abbott and we were both enamored with this tween story set at Disneyland. Our Kingdom of Dust, the second publication from Bamboo Forest Publishing was also a fantastic read. Both titles were written by authors with a love of the parks and an intimate knowledge of the geography. So, when Hollow World rambled across our respective desks, we were excited—not only because it’s a Bamboo Forest title, but the advanced material showcased an exciting and fast-paced story. And there were flaming monorails!

Jeff: Agreed. Anything that shows a monorail on fire or things blowing up is bound to hold my attention, and Hollow World did not disappoint.Telling the story of a detective on vacation at Walt Disney World who gets caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a psychopath while his family’s life is on the line, I was truly blown away. Not only is the story great…but it just happens to take place at Walt Disney World.

George: Nick’s book had me within the first few pages and kept me on the edge on my seat until the end. It’s more than just an action-packed novel, it’s filled with believable and highly likeable characters. Nick also tells a great story that never seems to lag or get caught up in too much action. Based on the cover, I was expecting a Die Hard story line with lots of action—granted, there was lots of action but it was deftly woven within a plot that had me guessing and truly wondering what was going to happen next.

Jeff: It wasn’t just all action, all the time. The characters that Nick created were likeable (the ones you were supposed to like) and believable. He hints at their back stories (which you can read up on a bit in the prequel stories, available as a free download on iTunes or Kobo), and makes them real characters. He certainly created a well-rounded-out cast of characters that I wouldn’t mind seeing in future installments. But getting back to what George said, the plot did keep me guessing until the end. Sure, there were some action-film cliches that you’d expect, but there were some new surprises thrown in, too.

Hollow World author Nick P-something-or-other (we don’t know how to pronounce his name). You’ve just written your first Bamboo Forest Publishing title. What are you going to do now?

George: So, who’s going to enjoy Hollow World? If you’re a fan of suspense stories or well-devised plots that keep you thinking, then you’re going to enjoy the book. As expected, there is a fair amount of violence in the novel, but it never detracts from the story or the characters. Nothing that happens seems out of place for any of the characters. The language is fairly adult, but it’s nothing that you wouldn’t hear in a rated R blockbuster. That being said, most well-read Disney fans are going to enjoy this one.

Jeff: I think it also takes a sense of humor to enjoy the book as well. Though some people will probably bash him for his choice of setting, it’s fairly obvious that Nick enjoys Walt Disney World quite a bit. He knows the layout and uses it to his advantage. At no point is the setting merely a prop to say, “Hey, look where we are!” Instead, he kind of creates it into its own character in a way, integrating it into the story flawlessly. Action fans, and Disney fans, will both get a kick out of this book.

George: A lot of people compare novels at the parks with the Kingdom Keeper series. We both love Ridley Pearson and enjoyed the Kingdom Keeper series (although, you do have to suspend a lot of disbelief) but Nick’s book is miles apart and set for a completely different audience. As Jeff mentioned, Nick uses the Vacation Kingdom of the World as a backdrop to keep the story moving and not as a gimmick, which we’ve seen in other works. To me, along with Disneylanders (by Kate Abbott) and Our Kingdom of Dust (by Leonard Kinsey), Hollow World is a terrific read by itself, regardless of the setting. Adding the parks is just icing on the cake, er, dust jacket. Well, it just makes it that much better!

Have you read Hollow World? Do you have a favorite book set at a Disney park?