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Kingdom Keepersby Ridley Pearson
Synopses & Reviews
In this fantastical thriller, five young teens tapped as models for theme park "guides" find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls.
Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI — which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging — Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park.
The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary. Soon Finn finds himself transported in his DHI form into the Magic Kingdom at night. Is it real? Is he dreaming?
Finn's confusion only increases when he encounters Wayne, an elderly Imagineer who tells him that the park is in grave danger. Led by the scheming witch Maleficent, a mysterious group of characters called the Overtakers is plotting to destroy Disney's beloved realm, and maybe more.
"This far-fetched, high-concept story will find an audience despite its fuzzy premise and the creaky workings of its plot. Finn Whitman, 13, is one of five 'hologram hosts,' middle-school students whose likenesses have been digitally captured so they can appear constantly, guiding visitors around Disney's Magic Kingdom. Finn awakens one night, inside the park, as his hologram self. He's met by Wayne, one of the original 'Imagineers,' who tells Finn that all five hosts are needed to solve a riddle left by Walt to prevent the villainous 'Overtakers' from wreaking havoc inside the gates and throughout the world. Their mission to solve the puzzle, which involves 3-D glasses and trips inside rides such as It's a Small World and Splash Mountain is enough fun that most readers will set aside some nagging questions (e.g., how did Walt, who died five years before the park opened, leave clues inside structures that hadn't been built yet, and why are a bunch of seventh-graders the only ones who can save the place?). The threat rings hollow anyway. Only one 'Overtaker' materializes — Maleficent, the witch from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Finn is the sole fleshed-out character (the two girl hosts are given little to do and seem indistinguishable), and some passages read like an ad (as when Wayne catologues the Disney empire: 'the Disney parks, the cruise line, the Broadway shows, the Web sites, Disney on Ice'). Still, with Finn and friends traversing tunnels and battling the creepy Audio-Animatronic characters, readers will likely line up for this ride. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[T]he illicit thrill of seeing all the things you don't normally get to see (both real and imaginary) makes this a must-read for serious Disney fans." School Library Journal
"[P]eople who are into fantasy with a little bit of sci-fi will enjoy this book." VOYA
"Though the adventure makes cunning use of Disney's mythos...flat characters and an anticlimactic finale detract from the cleverness." Kirkus Reviews
In this fantastic thriller, five teenagers are hired by Disney as actors for its newest technology, Daylight Hologram Images. Soon, the kids are pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside the park's walls.
When Disney comes looking for five teenagers to serve as actors for a new technology-Daylight Hologram Images, or DHIs-there is more to it than meets the eye. Strange things have been happening inside the Florida park: parts from one ride are found mysteriously moved to another; in the Fantasmic! show, the dragon unexplainably triumphs over Mickey; little blips in story lines and "offstage" antics by characters trouble managers. Finn Whitman, a middle-schooler, goes to sleep one night and has the dream of a lifetime: he "wakes up" inside Disney World as his DHI character, a glowing hologram. He meets an old man there, Wayne, who claims to be one of the original Imagineers and explains to Finn that he "and your friends" have a mission to save the park from forces that humans can neither see nor hear. Not believing his dream, but not totally discounting it, Finn, back in real life, sets out to find the four other kids who were chosen to be DHIs and in doing so he learns an eerie fact: he is not alone in this "dream." The others have had similar experiences. What if this is for real?
About the Author
Whether it's writing frighteningly real suspense fiction, playing his bass guitar, or the inherent joys of new fatherhood, Ridley Pearson has mastered the art of keeping people up all night. With twenty novels under his belt, best selling author Pearson has earned a reputation for stories that grip the imagination, emphasize high-tech crime and dazzling forensic detail, and, all too often, imitate life. His work includes The Body of David Hayes; The Middle of Nowhere; The Pied Piper; Beyond Recognition; No Witnesses; The First Victim; Undercurrents; and Parallel Lies. In 1991, Ridley was the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Oxford University. In addition, he secretly wrote The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, which was a companion book to the ABC-TV production of Stephen King's Rose Red.
Raised in Riverside, Connecticut, Ridley, his wife, Marcelle, and their two daughters, Paige and Storey, divide their time between the Northern Rockies and the midwest.
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