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Grey Griffins #1: Revenge of the Shadow King - Audio Paperback – Unabridged, Audiobook

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Grey Griffins Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Sixth-grader Max Sumner and his three best friends, Harley, Natalia, and Ernie, refer to themselves as the Grey Griffins. They enjoy sharing a fantasy role-play game called Round Table with elderly Iver Iverson, the proprietor of Avalon, Minnesota's Shoppe of Antiquities. It is played with odd-shaped dice and cards that depict a variety of fantastic creatures and characters-spriggans, garden faeries, goblins, and more. Iver takes the game very seriously, and the Grey Griffins learn they must do the same once Max accidentally releases a spriggan, a shape-shifting faerie, from a magical book he finds in his grandmother's attic. The game fades into the background as other characters from the cards start appearing around Avalon-the Black Witch Morgan LaFey, the Slayer goblin, and many others. The four friends realize that it is up to them to save the world as they learn, bit by bit, that Max is probably a descendant of King Arthur and the Knights Templar. Iver and many of the other adults in their lives are there to guide him in accepting his legacy, or, in some cases, to prevent him from doing so. Stilted dialogue and stereotypical cartoonlike characters abound as this plot-driven fantasy races to a predictable ending with plenty of room for multiple sequels. The action is gross and violent in the same way that Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak books (Little, Brown) are, and will appeal to the same readers.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The Revenge of the Shadow King has all the ingredients that make for great fantasy.  I was hooked from the first page."  Jenny Nimmo,  author of the New York Times bestselling Charlie Bone books.

A collectible card game introduces Max and his friends to the battle against ancient evil in this undistinguished but entertaining series opener. Grandfatherly shopkeeper Iver has sold the four a rare card game in which they fight goblins, faeries and the powerful Shadow King. It's only a game at first, but soon their town of Avalon, Minn. is plagued with horrors. Max finds a magical book, real goblins attack and Iver vanishes. Along with spunky Natalia, poor Harley and cowardly Ernie, Max determines to defeat the Shadow King. Luckily, he's the one true heir to powerful magical ability, born to make a stand in the age-old fight against evil-perhaps in the Gothic temple in town, built by Templars 500 years before Europeans came to the New World. Constant danger and some humor keep this adventure moving despite clunky prose.  Not a bad option for fans of the genre. (Fantasy. 9-12) First printing of 50,000 (Kirkus Review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Series: Grey Griffins (Book 1)
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Scholastic Audio Books; Unabridged edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439875927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439875929
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Valerie Matteson VINE VOICE on June 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Max Sumner is a very rich kid in the small town of Avalon, Minnesota whose parents have just divorced. He lives with his mom and baby sister who is 18 months old. This summer Max wouldn't have anything to do if it weren't for his friends Harley, Ernie and Natalia. They all meet at Mr. Iverson's store "Shoppe of Antiquities" to play a card game Mr. Iverson taught and is teaching them called Round Table. I imagine this is much like the Magic fantasy game my older sons played.

The four friends call themselves the Grey Griffins and love to meet in their tree clubhouse or each other's homes. Max loves going to his grandmother's home to spend the night. While there he discovers a magical book and accidentally lets loose a mischievous faerie called a spriggan that is also a shape shifter! She tricks him into releasing an evil thing called a Shadow and from then on the adventures and excitement are non-stop!

I read this book at the request of my 7th grade son who bought it at a school book fair. It is very well done and I can see why he looks forward to the next installment!

For parents, I also loved this book as the authors did not feel the need to put in vulgar and offensive language!! It is so refreshing to have a book that you KNOW is fine for your son/daughter to read. So many of the so-called young adult books these days have alot of swearing, smoking, drinking, etc. even if the characters are as young as these.

A pleasure!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's been said that Jon Lewis and Derek Benz, the authors of this story, were childhood friends who used to hang out together and pretend that they were running from goblins, monsters and other things as they acted out fantasy stories. For better or for worse, it shows in this book and helps shape it.

The Revenge of the Shadow King is a fantasy book about a group of friends who always hang out together, and enjoy playing a card game called Round Table. When strange events start to occur, it begins to look as if the characters from the card game are starting to come to life and appear in the real world. Things get stranger and more dire as the chaos only gets worse and begins to spread through the whole town, and Max and his friends are stuck in the middle of it.

Many creepy and violent things happen throughout the story. Characters become possessed, mysterious villains show up at the worst times, and there are many close brushes with death. If that's not enough, the kids even get framed for something they didn't do.

Max is developed enough to get us to know him a little better, as we get to understand why he dislikes his family's wealth, why he doesn't get along with his parents, and to some degree, his fear of his possible destiny. His friends don't fare so well in the characterization department. They show enough personality traits to make them interesting and likeable, but not enough to really flesh most of them out. The two boys can be summed up in simple sentences: Harley is a tough kid, but a nice guy deep down inside. Ernie is an asthmatic, overeating wimp who gets scared easily and is afraid to risk his life to help his friends.

Natalia's personality is the most detailed one out of Max's friends.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved reading for enjoyment when I was in grade school, and find in the last two decades that I'm deluged with management and business books, serious biographies and textbooks. I forgot what it was like to just read for fun, but this book taught me again. I don't know which I enjoyed more: the book or the fact that I could still read for pure enjoyment. The book had to be that well written to engage this senior manager. Not since I was ten years old have I not wanted to put down a book as much. I felt like a friend of Max's and hoped for him to call. I found Natalie's intelligence was slightly formidable -or annoying- even to this old geezer. No wonder at twelve years of age, I found girls attractive, interesting, and yet oddly intimidating. Earnie and Harley seemed so perfect just being themselves, and it was comforting how the kids all looked out for each other. Honestly, what a ride this book was for me. I don't know whether to recommend it to my friends, their kids, or their grandchildren.

I hope there's more books about the Grey Griffins in the future. Read this book and enjoy the ride yourself. You'll see.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has everything, but that ultimately means it does nothing.
For a plot, we have King Arthur and Morgan LaFey; Oberon, Titania and faeries; a magic book which must be joined with a magic jewel; Templars; hounds of hell, school bullies and possession by demons.
Our protagonists are a loyal hulk, a smartypants girl, a nerdy guy, and a superboy with a mysterious bloodline. Secondary characters are an ancient bodyguard, a kindly wizard guy, and a visiting witch.
Absolutely every single thing that happens for the full 370 pages is predictable, foreshadowed, underlined, and then explained.
Why three stars? Well, the book isn't silly, or frantic, or a hyperactive funny/doofus fantasy, (like NERDS, or Pals in Peril, or School of Fear). It is a very earnest, if totally uninspired, reworking of a tried and true formula. As such, it might encourage a young reader to read more and better efforts, and if all it does is get a young reader's attention, and maybe get that reader interested in this particular form of fantasy, (so that they can go on to books like the "Dark is Rising" sequence), well, that's probably enough to recommend it.
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