This is a book I’ve seen and contemplated reading for a while now. I really love Disney (Disneyland, Disney World, Disney movies, Disney store…) and I loved the Peter and the Starcatchers series that Ridley Pearson co-wrote. There are just a lot of them (7.5 so far) so it’s been hard to start that series… But alas, the time came that we were still waiting for our next How to Train Your Dragon book, and there was nothing else we could check out, so I found this on CD at the library. Perfect timing.
Overall I think I’d give is 2.5 stars and since I can’t do half stars – I’d lean toward 3.
I feel like this book had more potential than it actually delivered. I found myself a bit disappointed with it, though I still enjoyed it enough. Most of the characters I didn’t get attached to or really even like. The characters that I liked were Finn, Amanda, and Phiby. I really disliked Charlene, Willa and Duddard. I go back and forth on how I feel about Maybeck. The characters didn’t really have any growth in this story and they all seemed pretty one-dimensional – though some were just really annoying. The narrator also didn’t help with the unlikeable characters. The only female character voice he did well was Amanda’s. I couldn’t stand it when either Charlene or Willa was talking.
I enjoyed the parts that described the Magic Kingdom and the rides, as I used to go to Disneyworld often as a kid and was just there about 3 years ago. Some of his references date the book (such as ToonTown is now gone and MGM is now called Hollywood Studios) but I still enjoyed it. I’m interested to see if the later books address those changes. I really enjoyed the part about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the end – I attended this event at Disney World 3 years and loved it. It wasn’t as good at Disneyland last year.
I’m still a little fuzzy on how the whole crossing over thing works at night. It was something that was hard to believe and hard to accept. Then there were also parts where they have virtual characters in a game. Listening to that part was really hard because it was hard to follow who was what screen name and it just read really strange. That part would have been better physically reading it.
I didn’t feel like it really captured the magic of Disney at all. The characters and the theming are what make Disney so magical, and they were lacking in this story. The only character they really interacted with was Maleficent. Some of the dolls from It’s a Small world attacked them, but the way they “defeated” them was absolutely ridiculous! I have to remind myself though that this wasn’t written for adults, it was written for middle graders…
The book also just kind of abruptly ends. There is no wrap up at all, and you don’t get much of a conclusion. I was really disappointed with the ending. If I end up with nothing else to listen to again, I’ll probably pick up book 2. But I won’t seek it out specifically.