Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark is the first book in Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers series. The stories, set in the Walt Disney World theme park, are geared towards young readers and include plenty of action, suspense, and adventure.
Disney Imagineers have created a new technology called DHI — Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging — which allows five teenagers to appear in the parks as holograms, leading tours and acting as ambassadors for the Happiest Place on Earth. Unbeknownst to the five real life teenagers (Finn, Maybeck, Phillby, Willa, and Charlene) who lent their talents for the hologram imaging , the technology is deeper than their contracts stated and much more powerful than they could have ever imagined. When they fall asleep, they wake up in the Magic Kingdom as half-hologram/half-humans with a cast of angry Disney villains after them! Led by Finn, the group meets up with an Imagineer named Wayne who directs them toward a quest to solve a riddle given by Walt Disney himself years ago. Can they save the Magic Kingdom (and the world!) from characters gone horribly, horribly bad?!
If that last part sounded a little dramatic, then I did a great imitation of the book, which goes from one tense chase scene to the next. The action never stops moving, and those plucky kids are way smarter than all of the adults who came before them. While there were some plot points left unexplained (or rather halfway explained in rushed “oh, yeah!” sentences right near the book’s conclusion), the book was still fun. The writing is definitely geared towards young readers, and while it isn’t up to the level of Harry Potter in terms of plot and character development, there’s just something really ingenious about (SPOILER!) the dolls on It’s A Small World coming to life and biting people and a giant T-Rex skeleton breaking free of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and going on a rampage. What is there NOT to enjoy about those plot twists, right?
Kingdom Keepers is a great read! I’m looking forward to reading the next books…
(And since writing this review, I’ve finished the second and third books in the series. It’s more of the same, set in different parks. Pearson’s fourth installment will be released this April and looks to be like the rest of the series. All good fun for young readers and Disney fans alike!)