Monday, March 28, 2011


I finished Ridley Pearson's third book in his Kingdom Keepers series. I have mixed feelings about the book. I liked it for the most part. It held together and was consistent (for the most part). It resolved well. But I can't give it an unequivocally positive review in spite of those things.

For one, it was simply too long. I don't know how to put this other than for a large part of the book, I felt like the plot and the characters were just spinning their wheels, so to speak. The story wasn't really advancing. Was I learning anything new about the characters? About their nemeses? About the plot in general? I didn't feel I was. I wanted something more punchy, more to the point, with less meandering.

It almost seemed like Mr. Pearson had a laundry list of scenes and locations he wanted to make sure he fit into the book, and proceeded to force them all into the story whether they added to it or not. The Epcot settings for this story are a lot of fun, being quite detailed and varied. I understand wanting to get a lot of that detail into the book. Perhaps that's partly what drives readership among Disney fans - the detail they can ascertain, the familiarity they derive from reading those details, much like a search for hidden Mickeys. But it's at the expense of the flow of the story, in my opinion.

Briefly, in this story, Wayne is being held by the Overtakers somewhere, and through Jess's dreams, the Kingdom Keepers figure that "somewhere" is in Epcot. There are many ingenious methods the kids use to try to figure out where he is. Along the way they battle crash test dummies, Vikings from Norway, and Gigabyte, the giant snake. Meanwhile, their method of getting out of the DHI entities and back into their real selves (who are asleep in their own beds) is lost and the kids are all trapped in the "Syndrome", from which their bodies cannot be woken up. Meanwhile, Wayne continues to send cryptic messages through Jess, who, with Amanda, has been turned into a DHI hologram to fully aid in the efforts of the Kingdom Keepers.

I loved the ideas Pearson put forward in the first of this series, but did not like the execution or the ending in that book. I thought the second book corrected all the flaws I found in the first, continuing the story in a satisfying and consistent manner. This third book is consistent, but the story suffers, in my opinion, from a lack of editing and an overabundance of "stuff" happening, making it simply too long and lacking focus. But I'll read the fourth book when it comes out in paperback and hope for a tighter story focus with the same fun ideas and characters.

(Read my thoughts on the last Kingdom Keepers books HERE.)

(Read Imaginerding's review of this book HERE.)

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