Kingdom Keepers V, Shell Game, a Book Review

The fifth book in the Kingdom Keepers series takes a few new twists as the Keepers enter their mid-teen years. The book is somewhat darker as the Keepers face issues that regular teens do, sort of. Of course, there are the first stirrings of teen love but there are also some new experiences, including the debut of Disney Host Interactive 2.0 with new powers and abilities and the first use of the DHI technology outside of Walt Disney World.

The Keepers, working alongside the enigmatic Wayne, are invited to take part in a voyage of the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. Besides being the introduction of the interactive hosts on the cruise, it is also touted as the first commercial cruise line to go through the Panama Canal. The mythology of the Kingdom Keepers has grown in their world as their battles with the Overtakers have been noticed by castmembers and guests. The Overtakers, a group made up by the worst of the Disney villains, want nothing more than to take over the Disney theme parks for themselves.

Pearson knows how to weave a story that is parsed with excitement, danger and believable characters. My biggest and most recurring complaint is about the liberties that Pearson takes with Walt Disney World geography and the mythos about Walt Disney. The latter part of the series seems to correct this by involving the Keepers into a more modern and realistic tale. There are still a few fantasy elements about the Imagineers, technology and the development of the parks that are hard to swallow, but sometimes you have to just enjoy the book you are reading.

Fans of the series are going to love the direction that Ridley has taken and from the ending of The Shell Game, there will definitely be a book six.

Will the Keepers be heading to Disneyland?

What do you think?

I received a review copy of this book from Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!

http://www.imaginerding.com

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play by Ridley Pearson. 2011

By far, the fourth installment of the Kingdom Keepers series is the most charming, captivating and exciting!

I was disappointed with the first and second title, mainly because I wasn’t able to let go of my Disney geekiness and enjoy the titles as fantasy. Pearson stepped up in the third and fourth books by integrating more of what he is known for: suspense and thrills. As I mentioned in my review of Disney In Shadow, Pearson invests more time in developing the Keepers as teens instead of stock teenage characters. In Power Play, he continues to craft well-likeable characters that are presented with the same issues as teens today–minus the need to battle Disney Villains!

Throughout the series, we have had hints about the good characters coming to the aid of the Keepers, and we see it for the first time in Power Play. By the end of Power Play, Pearson ties up a neat little package for us that will include future books about the Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland. He also manages to explain what might actually be happening behind-the-scenes of the Fantasyland expansion. What really happened to Mickey’s house?

This is a great series for pre-tees and tweens. I would assume that most teens that are not die-hard Disney fans will pass on the series. As I have started before, most adults will need to put on their rose-colored Mouse Ears to fully enjoy this series. Pearson takes liberty with Walt Disney World geography on occasion which can leave you scratching your head. For the most part, the third and fourth books are more aligned with the actual property. Although, the Keepers can make it from the Mexico Pavilion to the Wonders of Life Pavilion faster than, well, a theme park junkie hopped up on churros and free soda from Club Cool.

If you have the time, the opportunity and you are obsessed with Walt Disney World, then you will get a kick out of these books.

If you need a non-Disney recommendation for a similar title, then you should check out The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. It is one of the most engaging and intelligently written series out today. The first book in the series is The Alchemyst. And yes, you can thank me later.

I did receive a review copy of the book.

Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!

http://www.imaginerding.com

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers III Disney In Shadow by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow

The third part of the Kingdom Keepers saga picks up a few months after the events in Disney at Dawn. Thematically, this book reminded me more of the first book, in that it takes place over several weeks instead of a brief two-day period, like Disney at Dawn.

The Keepers are trying to get back into their regular lives while developing their friendships in and out of school. The biggest issue is that Finn, the leader of the Kingdom Keepers, has not heard from Wayne since their last adventure. Unlike the other titles in the series, this book focuses on mysteries that need to be solved in Epcot and the Disney Hollywood Studios, instead of in just one park. The Kingdom Keepers spend a lot of time running from animatronic villains and visiting backstage areas of the theme parks.  The Kingdom Keepers (Finn, Maybeck, Willa, Philby and Charlene) are joined by Amanda and Jess, the Fairlies with special powers, who are given the DHI treatment by Philby.

The characters are much better developed in this installment and they are starting to differentiate themselves from the stereotypes we have seen previously. It is actually fairly charming to see Finn stumble through the love triangle that is starting between him, Amanda and Charlene. Pearson has nailed the rather clueless teenage boy stereotype and uses it as a staple of comic relief.

The storyline is getting tighter and Pearson seems to be taking less liberties with the geography of Walt Disney World. So far, this is the most enjoyable book in the series and the mystery/clue-solving aspect is taking a higher priority. Pearson is getting more confident with the universe he has created and in developing inter-weaving storylines. Now, I wonder when he is going to have some of the good animatroinic heroes start to make an appearance to help the Keepers.

I am looking forward to reading the next installment, Power Play!

Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!

http://www.imaginerding.com

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers II Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn (The Kingdom Keepers)by Ridley Pearson. 2009. 384 pp.

Pearson continues the epic story of five teens brought together for two reasons: to be the models for the new interactive, holographic hosts and to defeat the Overtakers.

The Overtakers?

Yep. The Overtakers are the animatronics and fantasies that Walt Disney created through the films and theme parks. The Overtakers want to take over the Disney theme parks and turn them into their own evil kingdoms.

There is not much written about Walt Disney World that follows a fantasy format and there is very little that is written that is based in fiction. The Kingdom Keepers series is aimed squarely at the tween and teen audiences, adding another niche that it fills.

In the second volume of the series, the Kingdom Keepers must rescue two of their own while deciphering the clues left behind by the enigmatic Imagineer named Wayne (who is a no-so-subtle nod to Walt Disney) and one of their new found friends, Jez. The sisters, Amanda and Jez are fairlies and add some interesting twists to the story. Jez has been captured by the Oveetakers and is being held hostage in the Animal Kingdom, leaving additional clues four our band of holographic heroes. The crux of the story is trying to discover who is running the Overtakers and what their plans are for the animals from the theme park.

John Rozum, comic book and television writer, blogger and Disney enthusiast offered his thoughts about the series after reading my review of the first Kingdom Keepers. He agreed to let me re-publish his comments.

My daughter and I have both been reading this series. Our assessment is pretty close in that they are engaging page turners, but are also frustrating in that much of each book is about trying to overcome or solve one problem that should be taken care of in a few chapters and that each book ends without any real resolution or forward progress. In a familiar comparison it would be if it took six Star Wars movies for Luke Skywalker to get around to blowing up the Death Star with entire movies dedicated to getting the characters out of the trash compactor or figuring out which cell Leia was in. Book IV was even more frustrating because the book ended with forward progression taking two steps backwards.

So, why do we keep reading them? Aside from the at the moment engaging read, it’s primarily because the stories take place in well-loved and familiar terrain, even though as you point out geography is distorted and history essentially rewritten. For my daughter there’s a real excitement of knowing exactly where the characters are and what’s around them, and knowing she had been in some of those exact locations.

John adds a lot of great points!

It is obvious that the books are written for kids and teens that love Walt Disney World. Most people will overlook the disparities in the storytelling, but it is important to acknowledge that they exist. These are a great bunch of books to read with your kids and discuss the choices and actions of the Kingdom Keepers.

So, sit back and enjoy suspense-filled and family-friendly book about the Vacation Kingdom of the world!

Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!

http://www.imaginerding.com

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

I originally reviewed this title in 2007. I  read it again (and started to tackle the other two books) when I received a review copy of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play.

My initial reaction is the same, except I took a moment to step back and think about the fantasy that Pearson has created and how he needed to meld his story with the then-current (2007) state of Walt Disney World. There is a lot of technology used, which leads me to question how well the book will stand up over time. Also, the mythos of Walt Disney is used to portray a legendary figure that held the balance between light and dark; someone who had the prescience to lay out the magic kingdom and design attractions that wouldn’t be seen until 20 years after his passing. To me, that is the most difficult part of the novel to digest.

Ridley Pearson is a well-known and well-respected author. It is obvious that he knows how to create a contemporary, fast-paced and cliffhanger-esque novel geared towards the target audience. I just wished he would have invested more time in studying the backstory of the company and Walt Disney in order to present something a little more rooted in reality. Still, I think it is a fun read and most tweens will enjoy a story about five teens drawn together to save the Magic Kingdom from the evil Overtakers.


Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson is aimed squarely at the ‘tweens who love visiting Walt Disney World with their families.

So, why I am I reading it? Well, I like books and I like Disney. It is a book about Disney…so…

I need to give my warning about this book first:

The author takes great liberties with the geographical layout of WDW and Walt’s actual involvement with the Orlando parks. If you are a grown-up Disney Geek (Jeff’s kids included), you will be dismayed with the inaccuracies and the leaps that the author takes to add suspense.

Ok, I did enjoy the book. This title rests firmly in the juvenile thriller-fantasy genre. It is sort of like a younger Da Vinci Code without all of the religious controversy. The Magic Kingdom is being taken over by the Disney villains and five young teens are tasked with saving Walt’s Kingdom and deciphering the secrets left behind by Walt, himself. Here is where I start to yell at the book while I am reading it. Apparently, Walt left behind secret codes in the attractions that will help restore the magic to the Magic Kingdom. Including rides that weren’t built until 10-20 years after he died. Uh, so how did that happen?

I do recommend the book, as long as you can detach yourself from your inner Disney Geek while reading it. It moved well, the characters were likable and the story was entertaining. It did have a pretty creepy moment where the dolls in It’s a Small World come to life. That is the real reason I don’t like that ride. It gives me the shivers!

I’m usually positive about most of my book reviews, but this one doesn’t quite satiate my Geek needs. It is still a good read and most ‘tweens will enjoy the premise and the hero aspect of the book.

Related articles
Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!http://www.imaginerding.com

Book Review: The Kingdom Keepers

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson is aimed squarely at the ‘tweens who love visiting Walt Disney World with their families.

So, why I am I reading it? Well, I like books and I like Disney. It is a book about Disney…so…

I need to give my warning about this book first:

The author takes great liberties with the geographical layout of WDW and Walt’s actual involvement with the Orlando parks. If you are a grown-up Disney Geek (Jeff’s kids included), you will be dismayed with the inaccuracies and the leaps that the author takes to add suspense.

Ok, I did enjoy the book. This title rests firmly in the juvenile thriller-fantasy genre. It is sort of like a younger Da Vinci Code without all of the religious controversy. The Magic Kingdom is being taken over by the Disney villains and five young teens are tasked with saving Walt’s Kingdom and deciphering the secrets left behind by Walt, himself. Here is where I start to yell at the book while I am reading it. Apparently, Walt left behind secret codes in the attractions that will help restore the magic to the Magic Kingdom. Including rides that weren’t built until 10-20 years after he died. Uh, so how did that happen?

I do recommend the book, as long as you can detach yourself from your inner Disney Geek while reading it. It moved well, the characters were likable and the story was entertaining. It did have a pretty creepy moment where the dolls in It’s a Small World come to life. That is the real reason I don’t like that ride. It gives me the shivers!

I’m usually positive about most of my book reviews, but this one doesn’t quite satiate my Geek needs. It is still a good read and most ‘tweens will enjoy the premise and the hero aspect of the book.

Check your local library for a copy. That’s what I did.

Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!

http://www.imaginerding.com