Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Middle Grade Review: The Prince of Warwood and The King's Key (Prince of Warwood #1) by J. Noel Clinton

The Prince of Warwood and The King's Key (Book 1)
by J. Noel Clinton

Xavier is just a normal kid. There isn’t anything special or extraordinary about him. He’s just Xavier Wells, the prince of geekdom. He’s a nobody, right? Wrong! So very wrong. And, soon Xavier’s normal life crashes down around him when he discovers he has magical powers. But, will he learn the truth about himself, his life, and his destiny before it’s too late?

My Review:
The Prince of Warwood is the first in a series about a boy who discovers he’s royalty among an offshoot of people whose physiology grants them a variety of mental powers.

I liked a few things about this story. First, I enjoyed the magic system, a blend of genetic inheritance, magic, and prophesy that tickled the fantasy fan in me. Another thing I liked was the banter between the characters, both old and young alike. And I also liked that Xavier doesn’t start off with superpower status and that he actually has room to grow as a person. He’s sassy and rebellious, often trying and failing to be better behaved.

As for things I didn’t care for, well, the bad guys torture Xavier and later his mother. It’s described in detail, not exactly something I’d have encouraged my son to read when he was of the target age for a middle-grade book, though he might have liked it. Also, I didn’t care for how his father goes overboard on making him respect adults to the point where his son is afraid to tell him some of those adults are mistreating him. 

Besides all that, I enjoyed the writing style and cadence of the story. It flows really well and the author is very good at bringing a scene to life. The characters are dynamic and interesting, and consistently true to their natures. Everything, even the stuff I didn’t like, had a purpose in the plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I couldn’t help but feel that it seemed tailored for an adult audience rather than for the middle-grade crowd the description and tone of the story seemed geared towards. As such, I’d recommend this to folks who like darker stories with youthful heroes, contemporary fantasy, and magic. However, I’d encourage parents to read this book first before deciding whether to gift it to their children.

I purchased my copy of this book while it was on a free promotion.

About the Author:

Who is J. Noël Clinton? Good question! Is she an author, teacher, sister, aunt, wife, or super hero?

If you'd ask her, she is all of those things and more. Well, okay, so she's not truly a super hero, but she sometimes will hum the superman theme as she enters her classroom in morning. Surely you'd have to possess some degree of super powers to teach middle school students!

Mrs. Clinton has been a public school teacher for 17 years where her students served as spectacular muses for story ideas. If you've ever taught, substituted, or observed in a public middle school, you know the antics adolescents will attempt on poor, unsuspecting individuals. It is the best of times and the worst of times of childhood after all. It is for this reason that Noël finds writing stories for adolescents engaging and entertaining.

Author Links:
Twitter @princeofwarwood

Books by this Author: