Monday, April 18, 2011

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

Book Jacket

In this fantastical thriller, five young teens tapped as models for theme park "guides" find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls.

Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI--which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging--Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park.

The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary.  Soon Finn finds himself transported in his DHI form into the Magic Kingdom at night.  Is it real?  Is he dreaming?

Finn's confusion only increases when he encounters Wayne, an elderly Imagineer who tells him that the park is in grave danger.  Led by the scheming witch, Maleficent, a mysterious group of characters called the Overtakers is plotting to destroy Disney's beloved realm, and maybe more.

This gripping high-tech tale will thrill every kid who has ever dreamed of sneaking into Walt Disney World after hours and wondered what happens at night, when the park is closed.


The idea behind this book is fantastic.  Kids who can be transported into their holographic bodies while they sleep?  Awesome.  Solving mysteries at Disney World?  Awesomer.

However, the writing didn't live up to the idea.  Some mysteries were too obvious, other plot twists came completely out of left field.  And it drove me nuts that these kids, who have personally experience weird magical/technological phenomena, are constantly doubtful of new craziness.  Why couldn't they just make the leap to believe that anything was possible?

I appreciated how the characters talked through every possible scenario, but a lot of the events felt forced.  Wayne is this old man who seems to know everything...but he refuses to help more than giving vague advice.  If this was really such a potential catastrophe, I think he would have been a lot more up front about the information he possessed.

Good idea, poor execution.  I'll just play Kingdom Hearts instead.

Two out of five pirates with lasers.

Release Date:  September 2005
Reading Level:  Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL PEA

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of Kingdom Keepers:
Disney Fan Ramblings
Books and Other Thoughts

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