Ridley Pearson, Disney After Dark

Posted January 6, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

Disney after Dark (Kingdom Keepers, #1)Disney after Dark by Ridley Pearson
Series: Kingdom Keepers, 1
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First in the Kingdom Keepers fantasy adventure series set in Disney World for children. This first book is also known as Kingdom Keepers.

Pet Peeve: The series is the Kingdom Keepers and yet Disney is listing every book as having the title “Kingdom Keepers”. Gimme a break. It makes it very confusing for the casual browser to figure out where a book falls in this series.

My Take

Is Pearson getting a kickback from Disney? First Bridge to Never Land from Peter and the Starcatchers series and then this one set in Disney World. The idea in this series, Kingdom Keepers, is cute but Pearson isn’t respecting his readers very well. Maybe I’m not being fair, but if Rowling can write Harry Potter so well and appeal to young kids then I expect Pearson to do the same. Instead, his segues are abrupt and the writing itself seems aimed at kids without a lot of brainpower.

What’s with telling Finn to look for the moon to be in the same place? He’s in the same part of the state and close enough to Disney World that he can take a city bus to it. There is no way the moon is going to change position so I don’t see how Pearson can claim this will prove Finn isn’t dreaming.

He does do a nice job of catching young teen interactions.

The Story

The Overtakers are planning to take over Disney World unless Finn and his gang can solve the puzzle of the Stonecutter’s Quill. At least that’s the story Wayne is telling Finn. It seems that Finn and the others were carefully screened for the position as DHIs; they would become the only people able to see the Disney characters who come to life and save the Kingdom from being taken over by evil. These five would become…drum roll…the Kingdom Keepers.

It’s something that Walt Disney had anticipated. That with all the imaginations coming through the park, their beliefs would eventually bring both the good and the evil of stories like Cinderella and Snow White alive. And it is coming alive. Rides are being disrupted, taken apart. The kids are attacked when they visit the Kingdom as their dream selves. The animatronics are also becoming aware of the world outside the Kingdom. Unexplained thefts are occurring where the cameras never catch anything. It’s up to the Keepers to solve the puzzle and prevent evil from spilling forth.

When the gang crosses over into the Kingdom through their dreams as the DHIs, they are still half-human. All they have to do is think light and they become light that passes through anything. However, it also works in reverse. When they’re back in the real world as full humans, the Overtakers are tinkering with the computer servers in the Kingdom and each computer glitch is affecting them in the real world.

Slowly, they begin to solve the puzzle based on clues from the story of the stonecutter and they look through the rides that epitomize the clues. Where they find yet more clues which lead them to the origin of the Magic Kingdom and the clue that will save the day.

It isn’t safe.

The Characters

Wayne Kresky is one of the original Imagineers and he has a message to pass on from Walt Disney himself. Brad is a new Imagineer and filmed the kids to create the DHI hosts.

Finn Whitman is a middle school student and one of the actors whose body was filmed to function as a holographic guide at Disney World. A DHI, or Disney Host Interactive. Dillard Cole is his best friend. The others include Charlene Turner, Isabella “Willa” Angelo, Terry “Donnie” Maybeck, and Philby.

Amanda Lockhart is a new student at Finn’s school and she latches onto Finn particularly when he’s off saving Disney World. Aunt Bess “Jelly” Maybeck is Terry’s aunt with whom he lives; she runs a pottery shop.

Maleficent, the nasty witch from Sleeping Beauty is the chief villainess with Jez as her assistant.

The Cover

The cover is a metallic hologram of mostly silvers with reds and yellows. It’s the castle from Disney’s Magic Kingdom against a cloudy night sky and a sliver of moon looking down as pirates chase three of the DHIs through the Kingdom.

The title refers to Finn and his friends’ role in preserving the Kingdom, the world; they’re the Kingdom Keepers roaming around in Disney After Dark.

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