I came across this book when the author contacted me at WriteHive Conference. I had read the full-length version of Pansy’s shower rap (as shared in my Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted”) in their poetry open mic night, then he reached out to compliment my poem and share his interest in “Don’t Date the Haunted.” When he described how similar the concept was to his own books, I looked them up.
The main character is Harold (quickly renamed Hero), a teenage boy who’s transported to the fantasy world of Kingdom. There, he meets Planet (a pixie) and ventures to find five fairy tale princesses. With his knowledge of each princess through the fairy tales, he becomes an oracle of sorts to “predict” the future and explain what must be done to save the princesses.
However, Kingdom isn’t exactly the same. Little Red Riding Hood’s woodsman is cursed, Snow White doesn’t have a prince, and Cinderella’s kidnapped instead of locked away. Oh, and one of the other princesses is threatened by zombies. 😛
“Kingdom Come” is the first in a series, though it can easily stand alone. Enough happens that it almost feels like a trilogy of its own. Not only does it retell six fairy tales, but it continues the story as the princesses must fight for their world.
The magic system has both hard and soft elements. Fairy magic is very soft (all we know is Planet’s sister is much more powerful than Planet), but the magic of the princesses is strictly defined with what they can and can’t do. This is also seen in JRR Tolkien’s books as Gandalf’s magic is very loose, but the power of the ring is hard and defined.
Even though each of the princesses is a little stereotypical “perfect,” they do have little characteristics that set them apart from the others.
The setting and concept of “Kingdom Come” is so similar to my book, “Don’t Marry the Cursed,” that I’ve actually suggested “Kingdom Come” to readers who get squeamish from my book. It plays with the same concept of a fantasy land where fairy tales are current events and the main character knows the “rules” to get through. If you love innocent fairy tales, “Kingdom Come” is for you. There’s no swearing and no sexual references (just kissing and discussions about appropriate public displays of affection between love interests). There are scenes of violence (these aren’t strictly the Disney versions of fairy tales), but all within PG range. “Kingdom Come” is perfect for any middle schooler (or older) who loves fairy tales and isn’t intimidated by a long book.
“Kingdom Come” was Jim Doran’s first book, and he admitted to me that his other books are better. I still enjoyed the characters as they all had appropriate flaws and strengths. The story dragged a little during the many travels, but I understand that was in part to explore every section of Kingdom. Otherwise, I enjoyed the tension and creative twists on the fairy tale retellings. In the end, I give it **** 4.5 Stars*****