The Kingdom Keepers: The Return Series Continues with Legacy of Secrets

Ridley Pearson’s wildly popular Kingdom Keepers series is the story of five teenagers chosen to be Disney theme park “guides”, who discover that the gig is a lot more dangerous than expected; they soon find themselves battling against Disney’s own villains and witches to save the Magic Kingdom from destruction. The final book in that series saw them triumph against all odds, but every terrific series calls for an encore, does it not? The Kingdom Keepers: The Return series is the offshoot fans have been begging for, and it offers the brilliant twist of sending the original cast of characters back in time — to opening day of Disneyland, circa 1955! Featuring a genius premise and a perfect mixture of science fiction, history, magic, Disney trivia, and adventure, this middle grade romp is as tough to put down as a delicious raspberry Mickey Macaron.
The first book in the spinoff series, Disney Lands, was filled with riddles and puzzles, and ended on a nail-biting cliffhanger; luckily for us the second book, Legacy of Secrets, jumps in at full speed right where we left off. Our original five Kingdom Keepers friends (Finn, Charlene, Willa, Maybeck, and Philby) are continuing to follow clues left behind by their mentor, Wayne, which will hopefully help them protect the future of Disneyland. At the same time, unofficial Kingdom Keepers and Fairlies Jess and Amanda (Fairlies are humans with unusual abilities, but they are still “fairly” human, zing!) have their own dark and dangerous backstory returning to haunt them as they try to help the Keepers solve the mystery from their position within Disney’s School of Imagineering, in current-day 2016. Believing that the Overtakers they (presumably) defeated during the first series are gone, the Keepers try to keep the opening week of Disneyland safe, while hunting out the source of Walt Disney’s magic. Along the way they stumble onto the Legacy of Secrets, as well as a real life, flesh and blood villain who may do more than throw a hitch into Walt’s opening ceremonies.
In a succession of short chapters that keep the action always at the forefront, readers race alongside the characters to solve a series of clues woven into Disney history. As they zip from the fabled Lilly Belle train car, to Walt’s backyard, to deep in the rare books room at the Los Angeles County Library, and across more than 60 years of time and space, fans will find themselves absorbed in the magic and engaged by the mystery. Impressively, throughout all of the talk of technology and time travel, the book stays grounded; rooted as it is by characters that grow and change — people you care about and root for no matter what year it is.
Of course, the second book leaves us with nearly as many questions and cliffhangers as the first. Still, it answers many of the questions from Disney Lands, and reveals surprising facts from the original series, which will delight longtime fans. The real strength of Legacy of Secrets is the suspense that doesn’t let up. Each clue opens more avenues for exploration, and everything that you think you know about Disney is called into question. As a bonus, the Barnes & Noble Exclusive edition comes with a map that helps you navigate Disneyland circa 1955 (it would also look terrific in a frame for any Disneyland fan!), which is surprisingly different from the park we know and love today.
Fans of the series won’t be able to put this installment down, Disney lovers will adore the journey into Disneyland’s origin, and anyone who loves a good mystery will be engrossed.
Legacy of Secrets is in stores March 29.
Originally published at http://www.barnesandnoble.com on March 25, 2016.

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5 Series For Young Readers Who Can’t Wait For Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo Series

 

Rick Riordan knows how to craft an otherworldly adventure that spans space and time, with mythical heroes, and storylines that celebrate the power that comes from learning about who you are and what you are capable of. Riordan’s page turning novels, from his Percy Jackson series to his Magnus Chase series, are essential middle grade reads (and fun for adults, too!). To help keep the adventures going even when you’ve finished his current canon (and while you’re waiting for The Hidden Oracle to drop on May 3!), hook your young reader on a few of these other adventure-filled series and help them welcome in a new year of reading!

Secret of the Forbidden City (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Treasure Hunters Series #3), by James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein, and Juliana Neufeld
In the third and most recent installment of the Treasure Hunters Series, the Kidd siblings continue their rapid around the world adventures to save and find the greatest treasures imaginable. Now they are off to Egypt and China to find priceless art stolen by the Nazis. Fast paced, filled with action, and loaded with cool historical and geographical features from every country, the Treasure Hunters series is a classic, page-turning, highly illustrated adventure that young readers will love.

Kingdom Keepers Boxed Set: Featuring Kingdom Keepers I, II, and III, by Ridley Pearson and Tristan Elwell
This sci-fi Disney themed adventure novel series seriously has something for every reader. Love danger? Wonder how movie villains who have come to life through technology might sound? Ever dream of getting trapped in the park overnight and fighting to save the Magic Kingdom? Each book gives you the sense that this could really happen to you, which just makes the adventure more fun for readers who want to be fully absorbed in the story. Fans who dig this series will definitely want to check out the first novel in the new Return series Disney Lands (Kingdom Keepers: The Return Series #1).

Warriors Box Set: Volumes 1 to 6: The Complete First Series,by Erin Hunter
Hunter’s spellbinding series tells the story of several clans of wild cats who have long shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their ancestors—until a new player, an ordinary house cat, steps in and changes everything. With a richly developed world, unforgettable characters, and tons of imagination, this series is especially perfect for animal lovers.

Wings of Fire Box Set, Books 1-5 (Wings of Fire series), by Tui T. Sutherland
After years of war between dragon tribes, a prophecy tells of five dragonets who will end the bloodshed and choose a new queen. Drama, intrigue and action follow as everyone takes sides and fights for what they believe in. Fans of the mythology and fantasy aspects of Riordan’s books will feel right at home in Sutherland’s world of Pyrrhia. This box set is a great starter for those new to the series, and longtime fans can pick up the newest novel, Escaping Peril (Wings of Fire Series #8), in stores now.

Star Wars The Force Awakens: Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka and Phil Noto
If you’ve just seen the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, happen to love a thrilling space saga, or just want to get young fans of the film franchise to lose themselves in a book, there are a number of great new middle grade novels that fit the bill perfectly. Each story in the Journey To Star Wars series follows a character who has to deal with their past, live up to their potential, and take on overwhelming odds (like Riordan’s heroes!). The novels Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure,  Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, and Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure, follow the beloved characters from the original trilogy, while the newest book, Star Wars The Force Awakens: Before the Awakening introduces readers to the stars of the new film. Kids and adults alike will want to unwrap any and all of these, no doubt.

What adventure series are also beloved by the Percy Jackson fan in your house?

Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on January 21, 2016.