Kingdom Keepers: The Insider

 

Its been three years since the Keepers encounter with Maleficent, Tia Dalma, and Chernabog in the Mexican jungle. Since, then they have only had minor missions within the parks. But when Wayne is seen in alliance with Overtakers stealing from Disney Archives in Burbank, California, the Keepers are called in to investigate.

But there mission in Disney Land quickly turns dark when Tia Dalma returns along with Evil Queen. With two of the Overtakers leaders back, the Keepers must believe that Chernabog has returned with them. And that means that the Overtakers have reached their endgame. The fall of Disney can not be far off.

Now the Keepers must go on a quest to return the king of Disney to power. For without him, they have no chance. With out him, the Overtakers will win. With out him, Disney will fall into darkness.

Can the Keepers finally defeat the Overtakers? Or will all thats magical and good in Disney be destroyed forever?

 

 

 

/*** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***\

**/** SPOILERS ARE PRESENT **\**

 

 

Just to begin, this was by far the best book of the series. The beginning ones (1-3)I felt had a very childish plot line. The later ones (4-6) were very dark and to a point a got a little bit away from the "Disney" aspect. But this one, The Insider, mixed a very highstakes, action-packed, young-adult, Disney plot line that captivated me through to the end. Ridley Pearson, this is your best book. Don't ruin it with the next Kingdom Keepers series.

For all of you, who just went "Theres going to be another series?!?!", Yes Ridley Pearson confirmed on tour that he is writing a another set of three Kingdom Keepers books, called "The Return". Book one is scheduled to come out Spring 2015. We got a year. In the meantime, please disect the last two chapters of this book (they set up the new series wonderfully).

 

Now on to the book...

 

First things first, the first two hundred pages of the books are obscenely boring. NOTHING happens. The only thing important about those pages at all is Jess finding out that "it starts and ends with lightning". Beyond that nothing happens. And thats probably why I noticed that the book is written in SECOND PERSON. Yes, second person. Not third person like normal. For awhile I couldn't get over that, but after the story line picks up I stopped noticing it as much.

 

The story line takes a very sharp turn after page 200. Wayne finally makes contact with the Keepers!!! This is like the first time since the second or third book, that the Keepers have physical contact with Wayne. But the reunion takes a dark turn with Wayne's message. He tells Finn, what arguably could be the only way to stop the Overtakers. Mickey. Wayne tells Finn that the Overtakers "destroyed Mickey", the most powerful of all of Walt Disney's "good" characters. They did this apparently by destroying Walt's first ever drawing of Mickey. And then all that's bad in Disney breaks lose.

Security, forces Finn and Wayne to end their conversation short. They both run. Soon, all the Keepers, as well as Jess and Amanda are in Disney Land, running throu into Toontown. And their they encounter their worst fears. Tia Dalma. Back at Disney. And then the fight breaks out. Tia Dalma uses dolls to control Finn and Philby, while a second Overtaker takes and holds a knife to Willa's throat. Amanda and Jess can't do anything, for fear of hurting (or killing) one of the others. As Amanda put it "I think we've lost". But, in a surprising turn of events, Wayne appears, along with Walt Disnye's pen. He gives the pen to Jess and tells her she can draw the future with it. Jess subsequently draws Willa free of the knife at her throat. Tia Dalma demands Wayne give her the pen or she will have Willa killed. The ever brilliant Wayne walks the pen up to her, flips it to Jess whos drawing comes true.

And then the excitement happened...

 

Willa is freed and the culprit knife fly's through the air. An Overtaker takes it and proceeds to stab Wayne with it. To death. And so ends the life of Wayne Kresky. After this, is when the book gets very good.

 

Now Jess drawing the future sounds cool, but is never really used much. Why it works is another matter all together. But still cool. Should definantly be utilized in the next series.

 

Second, Wayne's death. This was a wonderful idea on the part of Ridley Pearson. Wayne essentially ran the Keepers up through book five. Everything they did was run by him first. WIth his death, the Keepers are forced to do things the best they can without a Disney Imagineer as they guide. It also plays an important part in developing Finn's character into who he needs to be for the rest of the book. Wayne's death affected Finn the most of all the Keepers, and Finn used his death to spur him on at the end. He used Wayne's death to validate his own "suicide" jump during the battle with Chernabog. He used Wayne's death multiple other times to get through battles etc. This was the turning point of the whole book. After Wayne dies, the whole book takes on a much more serious dire tone. A, if we don't beat the Overtakers, Wayned dies for nothing tone.

 

And on to the next odd part of the book: "the Dillard". I have no idea the purpose of the Dillard. He seems more like novelty to me (even though he arguably saved the Disney Kingdom by solving the Osiris mystery) and I completely understand why Finn didn't want him at first. Whether he reappears in the next series is questionable but I don't really care one way or another.

But the Dillard did solve the a big mystery. At Wayne's funeral, Wanda gives Finn Wayne's watch. On the back of the watch are carved three Egyptian heiroglyphs. the Dillard is the one who figures out that the glyphs are related to the egyptian myth of Osiris. And that that myth is repeated throughout Disney multiple times. And then Finn figures out that the Osiris myth (as well as a quote from Wayne "it's all about time") is related to the finding and restoration of Mickey.

And so the important part of the book begins. Finn, Amanda, Willa, and the Dillard travel to Walt's Apartment, where they meet Minney and Violet (The Incredibles)(Violet continues to help throughout the rest of the story). They then travel to the Tarzan attraction, where Finn finds a matching glyph on a tree limb. Upon climbing the limb he sees a direct path leading due north. Meanwhile, the rest of the Keepers travel to the "Small World" attraction where Charlene climbs a hidden tower and finds a direct path leading to a large rock.

 

Ather these discoveries the Keepers rendezvous near the Skystation, which at the time was the Overtakers base of operations. There, Storey Ming enters the story. The Keepers, in alliance with Prince Phillip and other knights from the carousel proceed to attack the OT's stronghold. But part of the way through the fight, an earthquake breaks out and the OT"s, including the Evil Queen and Tia Dalma disappear.

And now the real fun has begun. A massive earthquake has destroyed a decent portion of DisneyLand. Overtakers are running rampant. And Chernabog is climbing the Matterhorn. Hell has broken lose. So the Keepers agree ... there is no time to lose. They have to find and resurrect Mickey brefore its too late.

 

Charlene, Willa, and Philby go and find the twelve pieces that were already found in the vault at Disney. Meanwhile Finn goes with Storey and Violet to recover the last piece.

Finn believes the last piece is found on the Mark Twain Riverboat (thank you the Dillard and Google Maps) and he travels with Storey and Violet there. But something seems wrong to Finn about Storey. Just before they set off,the Dillard mentioned something a child of storeys ethnicity going overboard on a ship. Finn, still thinkning of a traitor from within, now begins to think of Storey. And when she does not follow the plan teh three of them agreed upon, Finn's doubts turn into a reality.

 

Aboard the ship, Storey transforms into Ursula, and attmpts to steal what is believed to be the last piece of Mickey. During that confrontation, Ursula mentions the Overtakers as rebels, which leads Finn to the notion that their is another force working within the parks (probably the plot line of the second series). Eventually, Finn, Violet, and the real Storey Ming (Yes still alive) make it to shore. There, Finn finds a petrified tree that matches a picture he saw in Walt Disney's apartment. Violet detsroys the tree (almost killing herself in the process), and Finn finds the final piece of Mickey inside.

I did not at all expect the buisness with Storey. I had never thought of has as a potentional spy. But I guess someone had too. But now the real question is, who was Ursula working for? Not the Overtakers. So who?

 

The Keepers rendezvous again and Jess, with Walt's pen, bringa Mickey back to life. And so the Keepers have completed their quest. Mickey is back. The Overtakers are through. Right.

Wrong.

 

There always has to be more.

 

the Dillard has begun to synthesize out the Overtakers plan. As he begins to explain it, Philby figures it out. When the earthquake occurred, it ruptured natural gas lines which were now spewing gas into the park. This gas was heavier than air and thus stayed low to the ground. A storm on the horizon which was producing lightning was coming closer. A crane was moving a large metal statue toward Thinder Mountain one of the tallest points in the park. And so Philby deduced that the OT's were going to use the lightning storm as a means to light the natural gas and essentially blow the park up. We can assume he is correct.

 

And so everyone but Amanda, Willa, Finn, Mickey, and now Elsa(Frozen) travel to destroy the statue that if going to be used a lightning rod. This whole sequence, during which Maybeck kills like five or six OT's would have made a wonderful movie scene (we can hope it will one day).

 

Meanwhile the three Keepers as well as Mickey and Elsa go to stop Chernabog atop the Matterhorn. But it is only Finn who is involved in the final battle.

 

After a several page long fight between him and Chernabog. Finn finds out a possible meaning behind Jess mantra "its starts and end in lightning". "it ends" could mean the end of the Overtakers he thinks. And Wayne's quote "its all about time" may be referneceing his watch as a lightning rod. And so, in an ill advised bid to save Disney, Finn jumps onto Chernabog and uses the watch as a lightning rod, effectively frying both himself and Chernabog.

If the book had ended with Finn sacrificing himself, I would have hated the book. There is only only book I have ever read in which the lead protagonist dies (Allegiant (Divergent Book 3)) and I hated the book. So thankfully, Repunzle's hair heals Finn and brings him back to life, while Mickey uses his magic to restore Disney Land. And so ends the Overtakers. Or so we hope.

 

 

But the book does not end there. In the last chapter, Philby tells Finn that he believes that Wayne or Walt left something for them to hear in a music box in Walt's apartment. It is heavily hinted that it is yet another "Call to Action" and that Philby knows what it is. But the last chater ends before we find out. 1) I hate when thinks like that happen. 2) What the hell are they going to hear. I don't want to wait a year to find out.

 

Ol' well too bad.

 

And then epilogue. As I said in my review of, Exposure (Kathy Reichs), I don't really read epilogues. But this was a series finale, so I did. And it about an unnamed thing putting ingredients into a potion. The only ones directly mentioned are a bat wing and bones from a dragon. Now anyone with deductive reasoning skills here can figure out where those igredients came from, Chernabog and Maleficent. But what are they being used for? And by who? Guess we won't find out unril Spring 2015.

As to what exactly is going on in the epilogue, I believe that Tia Dalma is resurrecting some combination of Chernabog and Maleficent. This sounds wonderfully brilliant. How are the Keepers possibly going to defeat a combination of those two Overtakers. That is ... assuming thats who is resurrecting them.

 

But anyway. This book was a wonderful conclusion to the series. What the Keepers had to do, they did. The antagonist, Chernabog, is defeated (as should all antagonists). And enough was left open for the next series to be incredibly captivating. and much anticipated. I can't wait for this next series.

And as a final note to Ridley Pearson, having some of the fans help write the book was completely unnecessary. Stick to writing it yourself. And please write in third person again.