Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers VI - Dark Passage by Ridley Pearson



Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good action, some real story advancement (finally)
Cons: Still slow with flat characters
The Bottom Line:
Ordinary teens
Fighting pure Disney evil
Still average book




Kingdom Keepers Cruising – Part Two

The idea behind the Kingdom Keepers series is one of those I wish I had thought of myself – ordinary kids battling Disney villains in the parks after hours as holograms.  I mean, it’s every DisNerd's dream, right?  The execution has left something to be desired, however, and Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage winds up only being average.

This book picks up exactly where the previous book in the series ends, which is actually a good thing for fans since it ended with a major cliffhanger.  That particular issue is resolved quickly, but life aboard The Disney Dream continues to be filled with danger for the Kingdom Keepers.  They have to uncover Chernabog’s hiding place and kill him before Maleficent, the Evil Queen, and the rest of the Overtakers can resurrect him.  And they may have finally found a clue.  But can they stop fighting long enough to figure out what it means?

Now if none of what I just said makes any sense to you at all, this book is not for you.  While there is some effort to clue in new readers, this is the sixth book in the series, and it’s hard to jump into a fantasy series like this at this point.  There are events and jargon you need to know.  And it doesn’t help that this is really the second part of a two book arc that began when the main characters boarded the cruise ship in the last book.  Unless you’ve read the series to date, I can’t recommend you jump in here.

Even for fans of the series, this book is only average, and it’s for the same complaints I’ve had with the previous entries.  Let’s start with the plot.  This is the first time in several books that our heroes are actually on the offensive instead of the defensive.  That’s a good thing, and I did appreciate it.  However, they still spend much of the book reacting to the villains instead of actively fighting them.  The climax was outstanding, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough when I got to it.

Then there are the characters.  They are flat, and have been since book one.  Here it seemed worse than normal, maybe because the climax was supposed to be emotional and it didn’t affect me at all.  Considering how easily I cry in a story, that is a bit surprising.

And don’t get me started on the on going fights between the characters that don’t seem to do anything other than complicate the plot.  Seriously, a couple of comments from the leader would go a long way to easing all this needless tension, but it’s been going on for a couple of books now.

I must say, the action scenes when they come are wonderful.  Like the climax, I can’t turn those pages fast enough.

Many people still seem to love this series, so I guess I’m in the minority on this one.  Still, I’m hooked enough to keep reading as they come out.  Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage does appear to set things up for the series finale, and since that book is set at Disneyland, the park I know best, I’m certainly looking forward to it.  However, this book is just average.

There's magic to be found in the rest of the Kingdom Keepers books.

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