10 January 2012

Tween Tuesday: The Invisible Tower by Nils Johnson-Shelton

Release Date: 3 January 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Goodreads description:
In Artie Kingfisher’s world, wizards named Merlin, fire-breathing dragons, and swords called Excalibur exist only in legends and lore—until the day his video game Otherworld springs to life.

Cryptic clues lead Artie to a strange place called the Invisible Tower, where he discovers that nothing in his life is as it seems. Artie is none other than King Arthur, brought to life in the twenty-first century. Artie has won the battle in the virtual Otherworld—now the key to saving the real Otherworld lies in his hands as well.

Green dragons, hungry wolves, powerful sorcerers—suddenly Artie must battle them all as he wields Excalibur and embarks on a quest worthy of the Knights of the Round Table. With his sister, Kay, by his side, Artie steps into the Otherworld—straight toward his destiny.
My Thoughts...

If you're looking for a light-hearted fantasy adventure, look no further.  Nils Johnson-Shelton brings to life a fun story of two contemporary tweens who find themselves pulled into an adventure to save the world the know and the world that they just discovered.

Arthur "Artie" Kingfisher was adopted by his family when he was just a baby.  Until recently he's never really questioned where he came from, but after a not-so-chance meeting with Merlin, he's curious.  The answers are not what he ever expected to find and actually, they're quite hard to really believe.  He's King Arthur? As he and his sister and knight, Kay, embark on a series of adventures to save the worlds, they'll have to face dragons, elves, witches, and any number of magical beings to free Merlin in hopes of saving the world.

Artie and Kay were really fun characters to get to know.  I really liked that they had a great family dynamic with their father, Kynder, and with each other.  Their personalities were also quite complimentary--when Artie was nervous, Kay was strong and vice versa.  As Artie learned more about who he was and Excalibur showed him new things, he came into his own (whereas at the beginning, Kay was clearly the dominant one). Kynder was a great father figure, but Merlin, Artie supposed wizard and loyal servant, was actually quite difficult to trust throughout.  I couldn't help but find him a tad annoying and untrustworthy throughout.

Overall, I felt like this was a good fantasy adventure for young readers, probably between ages 9-10.  While I personally didn't enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed some other MG fantasy novels, I felt like it had good pacing and a fun, adventurous storyline that will offer young fantasy readers something to enjoy. Slightly older MG readers may find that the dialogue and storyline is a tad simplistic and the non-ending is a bit unsatisfying.  I walked away feeling like the cliffhanger ending was unnecessary and they never resolved the one thing that they really set out on the quest to do--save the world. 

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