About the book:
Title/Author: Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot / Michael J Bowler
Genre:Urban Fantasy / Teen Fiction
Date of publish: October 2015
Recommended Ages: Middle Grade to Teen
Book Links: Amazon Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot (The Knight Cycle) (Volume 6)/ Goodreads / Barnes and Noble / Riffle / Smashwords / IndieBound
Not being familiar with the series this is spun off of, I handed it to my twelve year old to read and review, as it something that seemed to be in his interests. He handed it back fairly quickly, complaining that it was like studying for a test. That was not was I expected from a fantasy kids novel. It didn’t take me long to figure out what he meant. There were so many facts thrown into just a few pages of the first chapter, I could see how it might be overwhelming. It was a trend that continued through the entire book, often upstaging the story. To be honest, if I had not made a promise to review the book, I wouldn’t have finished it either, which would have been a shame. I wanted to like it. It is a terrifically written, well paced action story with plenty of vibrant personable characters, written in language that is imminently relatable to the twelve to fourteen year old kids, I am assuming, are its target audience. It is about kids achieving great things. It should have been a great read.
Once I got used to the environmental treatise vibe there were even many things I liked about it. For instance, the hero is a real hero and exactly the self effacing type of person who should be leading and the kind of hero kids should be reading about. I like the way that the politically charged issue of climate change is handled and the call for recognition and compromise between the two sides. I like the erasing of labels and pointing out that no one specific group of people is the most responsible for the environmental problems facing the world. I love the “We” versus “Me” mentality. I did like the admission that lower income families will find it more difficult to adopt the lifestyle being requested, a fact most Green Gurus tend to overlook in their zealousness. I can definitely see the Arthurian themes running this story and the selflessness engendered in the myth is certainly the germ of this tale as well. There is also a fairly comprehensive list of kid-friendly resources to help kids become eco-warriors, in addition to the much mentioned 50 ways list from the book. What I didn’t like about the book was pretty much a deal killer, even for fiction.
I have seen many times, first hand, the change that kids my son’s age are capable of achieving and I do believe that his generation will be one of greatness for the world when those kids are allowed to become leaders. Also, I firmly believe children should be encouraged at this age to be aware of how government works and to communicate with those in government who represent them. No one takes governing more seriously than a group of twelve to seventeen year old kids on a student council. I have personally seen just such a group of kids that age take on a state senator with detailed questions that conveyed just how dialed in they are to issues that affect themselves and their communities. I just can- not- get on board with the methodology used in this book to take on big government, even knowing that is fiction and agreeing with the outcome.
The children’s actions are first and foremost an extreme disrespect to authority. That is explained away later in the book, but it seemed more like a back peddle than true belief. Used as it was in this book, it is a form of emotional blackmail, economic terrorism, and it actually undercuts the foundation of our governmental system. The idea that anyone would try to force elected officials to write laws dictated by an outside source (no matter how well meaning or benign) is horrific. Maybe I can’t wrap my head the economic chaos such an action would create. For instance, in my region the school district is the largest employer. The cascading effect should those thousands jobs be lost, even for just a few weeks, would be catastrophic for everyone in the entire region. Yes, changes need to be made and I love the idea of inspiring kids to be that change, but outside the rules makes it just as bad as what needs to be changed in the first place
Finally, the adults against the kids thing was just too much. Adults are not inherently evil, hypocritical, unmotivated, or motivated by vice, not anymore than teens are lazy, apathetic, or insolent.
This book will find an audience, it is after all a well written story as its many higher rated reviews will attest to. It did make me curious about the series of books this is related to and it did do its job in making me think. Ultimately, I think it pushed too hard. It reminds me of a young man in this book actually.
As for fun reading fiction I can’t give this more than a 3 rating. However, this book’s amazon page offers an e-book edition to educators for free if they contact the author by email or social media. From an educational viewpoint, I can definitely see its usefulness a jumping off point in opening discussion to sustainability and the role of government. I’ll compromise on the rating.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair an honest review.
Goodreads Summary: The future looks bleak unless eighteen year-old Lance and his New Camelot Earth Warriors can save the planet from catastrophic climate change.
Spurred by twelve year-olds Billy, Enya, Itzamna, and his ten-year-old brother, Chris, Lance creates a branch of Earth Warriors, a youth-led movement designed to save the earth from its greatest enemy – greed.
His involvement leads to Earth Warrior crews springing up all across America. Millions of kids leap into action, paralyzing the country and alarming the rich and powerful.
Having adopted his father’s philosophy of doing what’s right, rather than what’s easy, Lance makes serious enemies when he calls out New Camelot donors who represent fossil fuel or other polluting industries, and then barely escapes a series of “accidents” designed to kill him.
When he challenges the United States Congress to step up and act immediately on the climate crisis, the attacks on him escalate. With the majority of America’s kids on his side, Lance and his young Earth Warriors prepare for the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris, where they will call upon world leaders to stop talking about sustainability and start acting on it.
But whoever wants him dead isn’t giving up. Will Lance and his crew live long enough to even get to Paris?
Warrior Kids is a standalone tale set within the Children of the Knight universe.
Author Information: http://www.michaeljbowler.com