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Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play Hardcover – Unabridged, April 5, 2011
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About the Author
Ridley Pearson is the award-winning co-author, along with Dave Barry, of Peter and the Starcatchers, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, Peter and the Sword of Mercy, Escape From the Carnivale, Cave of the Dark Wind, Blood Tide, and Science Fair. In addition to Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dawn, and Kingdom Keepers: Disney in Shadow he is also the author of the young adult thrillers Steel Trapp: The Challenge and Steel Trapp: The Academy. He has written more than twenty best-selling crime novels including Killer View and Killer Weekend. He was the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Oxford University.
Tristan Elwell was born and raised in New York City, where he graduated from the High School of Music and Art. He attended the School of Visual Arts on a full scholarship, graduating in 1990 at the top of his class. While at SVA he also worked as a painting assistant to noted photo realist Charles Bell. After college he quickly established his career as an illustrator. In 1994 he joined the staff at SVA, where he teaches illustration and painting. He has done book covers for all the major publishing houses, including Avon, Bantam, HarperCollins, Penguin, Pocket Books, Scholastic, and Tor.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Kingdom Keepers are taking a similar route as the kids from Hogwarts. Each book they are a little older, a little wiser and the stakes get a little higher. If you haven't read the first three books, you are likely going to be completely lost.
At the beginning of the latest installment, the Disney villains (or Overtakers in the terminology of the book) are once again attacking the Kingdom Keepers. Unlike before, their reach has gone all the way to DisneyQuest and the cast of villains has expanded. Snow White's Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil, Claude Frollo, Shan-Yu and others have picked up where Chernabog and Maleficent left off in KK3. All signs point to an attempted jailbreak for the captured monsters.
The Evil Queen is particularly dangerous however since she has the ability to put actual humans under spells, including several of the Kingdom Keepers. The Keepers are unable to trust even each other. Meanwhile, the Overtakers are putting motion a plan that will capture the Keepers in their DHI state as well as break out their leaders.
Joining the cast this time are some of the good Disney Characters. The first KK alluded to this by seeing Chip, Dale and Winnie the Pooh, but we haven't seen much from them since.
The action is continually ramping up in Power Play between a daredevil escape from Claude Frollo, a swordfight on Malestrom, a battle on Tom Sawyer Island and other scenes of action. Somehow, Pearson has never been able to recapture the honest terror of the Small World or Big Thunder scenes from KK1.
But regardless, this is a quick and fun read. The Keepers' personalities are starting to show more and the teenage love triangles are getting complicated. The next books will leave the Florida area and head to the cruise before spending the last two books at Disneyland California.
I think Pearson realized that to a certain extent, books two and three tread water a bit at the Disney parks and that it is time for a final battle between the Overtakers and the Keepers and for the plan to be more than jailbreaks and killing the Keepers. This book thankfully takes the time to set up the rest of the series nicely and shows the battle lines being drawn.
This is an excellent series for most ages and I look forward to next year when we see KK5 hit the shelves.
Cons: Appeals to Disney fans mostly;
The Disney DHIs (Disney Host Interactive) are five young teenagers who were hired by Disney World to help guests get around easier by answering questions. They themselves do not work at Disney, but a hologram image of themselves. At least this is what they at first believed they signed up for. It turns out that Finn, Maybeck, Charlene, Willa and Philby were manipulated in a way by some Disney Imagineers to do battle with the dark side of Walt Disney World. This includes the audio-animatronics from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, Stitch, and others while legendary villains Maleficent and Chernabog are the leaders of this rebellion. While the kids are sleeping, their DHI selves cross over and appear in Disney World. They are half human and half hologram, which means that they can sustain injuries or even death, or possibly something even worse than this, the Sleeping Beauty Syndrome (SBS) where the DHI gets stuck or captured at Disney World, and their real selves cannot wake up.
In this fourth installment, after the DHI gang had successfully imprisoned Maleficent and Chernabog, they thought that this would be the end of the chaos. Meanwhile, things are getting more dangerous than ever. It turns out that the Evil Queen from Snow White and Cruella DeVil are causing trouble. While their main purpose is to break their leaders out of prison, they have hatched a grand scheme to over power the DHI gang once and for all. They managed to forcefully acquire the help of others around the DHIs. Just when they thought it was safe outside the four parks of Walt Disney World, suddenly a bunch of kids at their schools are under the spell of the Evil Queen, family members, pets…etc. They are trapped and being watched at all times.
It’s never been this dangerous for the five DHIs. If this isn’t bad enough, they also managed to get control of the DHI server, and can cross over the DHI’s one at a time to capture them easier when they’re not all together. It gets even worse than this, the Evil Queen and Cruella have also made DHIs of themselves. How can the DHI gang plan their next move while being watched almost all the time? How can they hope to win this battle or even come out of it alive?
I thought that this fourth installment of Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers series was the best so far. From beginning to end it was on-stop action. Pearson branched out a bit as far as settings here. The book opens up with a couple of the KKs on a school trip at Disney Quest, the five-floor interactive virtual playhouse. This is located still on Disney property but outside the parks in Downtown Disney. When Finn and the girl he’s crushing on (and fellow KK) Amanda go on a virtual Space Mountain roller coaster, and the ride is sabotaged, they need to find out who was behind that. When they find out this, they have to find out who’s behind that, and so on and so on. It leads them to the biggest Overtaker plot so far, the attempt to have a jailbreak of Maleficent and Chernabog.
In this book, Pearson delves into the personal lives a bit more deeply to show that these kids have lives and crave lives outside of the Disney parks, but they are always forcefully on call for duty. Finn likes the beautiful Amanda, she likes Finn. Charlene likes Philby, and Philby likes her, and maybe Maybeck is a bit interested as well. Within the four hundred plus pages, there is time to go into these personal feelings they’re all having and it’s a good thing because we get a better sense of who these kids are, and it creates a more solid connection that perhaps wasn’t there in the first few books. Maybeck comes across very real to me, a black kid who is always trying to come off as the cool one. The dude who also is hyper sensitive to any stereotypical racism. He always seems to find it even when it’s not there.
The kids have been in danger before, but now the walls are literally closing in on them. Did Ridley overdo this? With the Evil Queen casting spells on their schoolmates, pets and family members, they don’t have a safe place to be anymore. Even in the parks, they had a secret apartment near the top of Cinderella Castle, but the Overtakers have figured out the complicated pattern of Escher’s Keep that leads up there, so there’s no use or reason to go there anymore. Even the old guy Wayne had to leave his apartment over the firehouse in the Magic Kingdom because it wasn’t safe for him there anymore. In this book, the kids don’t get a moment’s peace, and you know they fail on some level because they have to do it all over again in book five (which is out now).
Even at the fast pace Ridley writes these books, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with modern technology and Walt Disney World itself. In book one, he had the kids communicating in VMK (Virtual Magic Kingdom), by the time that book came out, the real VMK was gone. When they were being chased by the huge vicious snake from Honey I Shrunk the Audience, that attraction went bye-bye to make way for Michael Jackson’s 3D attraction, Captain Nemo. Now, he has the Crash Test Dummies still chasing kids around EPCOT, but now that version of Test Track has changed and it features no Crash Test Dummies. He did manage to incorporate the Kim Possible adventure in EPCOT, a relatively new feature within EPCOT.
My son is now reading them finally, and he is going through them just as fast as I am. I am looking forward to more, and hope that they ultimately make their way into the movies, television or something. Four Stars.
Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play
Hyperion Book CH
Author: Ridley Pearson
April 5th, 2011
Rating: 4 stars
In Book 4, these seven teens are fighting Cruella De Vil and The Evil Queen in the main control center of Disney World, The Cell Tower, along with Maleficent and Chernabog in the Disney parks. The teens travel from park to park most nights fighting these Villains. They are also fighting to free their Leader and friend, Wayne. Wayne was captured by the Villains in Book 3.
I thought the author, Ridley Pearson, did an amazing job on this book with his descriptive details. I was able to visualize in my head what he was writing about when describing the teens, the Villains, the Disney parks, and so on. To me, the book was a little hard to follow because the author would flip from one place to another. For example, one minute he would be talking about the teens being in school, and then the next minute the teens would be in the parks fighting the Villains. Even though the book was hard to follow, I still enjoyed reading it and plan on reading the rest of the series.