Thursday, July 11, 2013
Crap Kingdom: a review
Info: Viking Juvenile, copyright 2013, 360 pages
A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): The grass is always greener on the other side, or a really pathetic kingdom.
THE CHOSEN ONE MUST BE RETRIEVED FROM EARTH
HE WILL BRING DOWN THE WALL AND RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO GLORY
HIS NAME IS TOM PARKING
With this mysterious yet oddly ordinary-looking prophecy, Tom's fate is sealed: he's been plucked from his life and whisked away to a magical kingdom to be its Chosen One.
There's just one problem: The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. Okay, well, two problems: the king hates Tom. Also, the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. And being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats' noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery.
So, basically, the kingdom sucks.
When Tom turns down the job of Chosen One, he thinks he's making a smart decision. But when Tom discovers he's been replaced by his best friend Kyle, who's always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom wants Crap Kingdom back—at any cost. And the hilarity that ensues will determine the fate of the universe.
Tom wishes his life was more exciting. He wishes there was a kingdom with fierce dragons that needed saving...and he, yes he, was the one to do the saving. He wishes all of that until it actually happens. So what if the portal into this other world is through a clothes donation bin in the parking lot of a Kmart. So what if the land is made of tossed aside clothes from Earth, and his guide through this new kingdom is a man named Gark who seems to be the court jester. He's the chosen one. Until he's not. And then he kind of is again. Okay. It's complicated.
Pierson is a funny, witty author who does an excellent job getting into a teenager's head. Despite the fantastical elements (which, grant it, is the point of the book) Tom's thoughts, feelings, concerns, and fears are genuine and often times overwhelming.
There is a character named Gark. Awesome.
The Not So Awesome
The pacing is a bit slow, and while the every thought in Tom's head is amusing, it also keeps the story from moving forward.
Have you seen The Neverending Story? The fantastic film from 1984 in which a young boy, Bastian, finds himself as "a chosen one" that must find courage to save a fantastical kingdom. And the story includes a flying dragon/dog think. Yeah. Crap Kingdom reminded me a lot of The Neverending Story. Maybe that's why I liked it so much. It could have been shortened, but overall, this highly creative, amusing book was an excellent summer read.