This fast-paced fantasy novel begins with a nerdy boy reading in his refrigerator-box hideout, only to be whisked off to a kingdom filled with beauty and magic.
When 11-year-old Walker Watson meets red-headed, sword-bearing Prince Edward, he discovers that in the Kingdom of Nebula, “We live in light but we don’t forget that the dark is always present just the other side of the walls, and it could take over at any moment.” When the Warriors of the Black Shroud and their evil master strike Nebula, the reluctant Walker, his only friend Frances (a.k.a. Frankie) and Prince Edward take action. With the exception of the three young people, characters develop only enough to make sense within the plot and drive the action. This book falls into the traditional category of good-against-evil battles in which “elders have to be taught by children”; the explicit use of “Chosen One” to describe, well, the Chosen One further wedges it into its genre niche. Well-worn tropes aside, the climax and resolution have just enough surprise to satisfy readers.
This attractive world (warriors ride unicorns!) and likable characters—boy heroes with a strong girl sidekick—will give fledgling readers of fantasy a treat. (Fantasy. 8-11)