Ridley, Pearson, Disney at Dawn

Posted January 15, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

Disney at Dawn (Kingdom Keepers, #2)Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson
Series: Kingdom Keepers, 2
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second in the Kingdom Keepers fantasy adventures series for children.

My Take

Maleficent plans to take over Disney World. Again.

I enjoyed the adventure and Pearson does provide an interesting series of action adventures for the kids as they work out the clues and reconfigure the computer feeds and follow the network path. That alone makes it a worthwhile read. I’m just irritated with the rather “dumbed-down” level of writing. There’s no reason Pearson couldn’t have upped the quality to a Harry Potter level. They certainly could have used an editor for some of the minor glitches I ran across.

The story does promote teamwork. It’s pretty cool how the kids use a virtual game to meet up and exchange information; Philby can use it to trace data traffic to find the server as well as redirect the security feeds to just one camera so Amanda can track the entire park. Then they make good use of IMs to keep in touch with each other. It makes you feel like you’re actually participating.

The odd note is that Wayne is able to find them adult helpers and it’s really only Finn who has the ability to phase in and out of his holographic mode so I don’t really see why Wayne needs the kids at all except it makes a great kids’ story and we get to tour Disney World behind the scenes. I sure enjoyed the talking recycling can!

The Story

Since their earlier adventures (see Disney After Dark, Kingdom Keepers 1), the Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK) has been shoved behind a firewall and the Imagineers had “corrected the problem” of the DHI hosts being able to cross over into the Magic Kingdom in their sleep. A definite drawback if you need to protect the Kingdom!

It’s the opening day parade celebrating the DHIs coming back online that starts off the action. The five Kingdom Keepers: Finn, Charlene, Maybeck, Philby, and Willa are on one of the floats when Philby notices the weather balloon, Finn catches sight of Amanda and Jez, and the character on one of the floats is suddenly missing—the most villainous Disney character that exists! Then they notice the monkeys following…Amanda and Jez! Where would the monkeys have come from?? Then Amanda realizes that the real Jez has disappeared and been replaced by a DHI! And Maleficent has escaped.

When Finn gets an IM from Wayne, the true horror comes out. They must find Jez and locate and destroy a second computer server that contains cloned DHI data. Maleficent intends to take out the kids and Wayne so she can take over Disney World! And they have to do it without going to sleep!!

The Characters

Finn Whitman is a natural leader for the Kingdom Keepers. Charlene Turner is the “clean cheerleader type with uncanny physical ability. Isabella “Willa” Angelo. Philby is the geeky sports enthusiast with a talent for computers. Terry Maybeck is the oldest of the group and generally looks out for himself.

Amanda Lockhart and Jezebel “Jez” are Fairlies; something more than human and Jez has been having nightmares about the park for quite some time. Wayne Kresky is the old Imagineer who started them on their original adventures. Now he’s in hiding within the Magic Kingdom trying to contact the kids. Rob Bernowski is Jez’s boyfriend.

Maleficent is the evil witch in charge of the Overtakers plotting to take over the Kingdom Keepers and Wayne the way they had taken out Maybeck in Disney After Dark and get them out of the way.

DHIs is short for Disney Host Interactives. Holographic tour guides at Disney World.

The Cover

The cover is of Finn whizzing along a zipline from the castle tower similar to the initial escape. The fireball chasing him along the zipline is strictly the cover artist blending later fireballs that Maleficent hurls…and not along a zipline. There are a few holographic touches in the buildings and in creating the title

The title refers to the time the Kingdom Keepers all plan to meet at Disney World to take Maleficent down. Yeah, baby, it’s Disney at Dawn.

View all my reviews