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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Alfie thinks he knows his destiny. As Prince Alfred, heir to the throne of Great Britain, he's fated to become the most disappointing king in the nation's history. Alfie longs for a way to prove himself, but little does he realize that with the throne of England comes an ancient secret. He who wears the crown must protect the country as the legendary hero -- the Defender of the Realm. Hayley is an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life. She certainly never believed in the mysterious superhero, the Defender. Then, after witnessing a very public battle at the Tower of London, everything is different, and Hayley is left with no doubt. The Defender is real. Two kids with two very different lives are about to get caught up in a centuries-long battle for the fate of a nation. Monsters and criminals, villains and dragons, together Hayley and Alfie must protect their home at all costs.…

Defender of the Realm

by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler

Overall Book Review:

Defender of the Realm is the kind of book that you don’t want to put down, but you don’t want it to end either. The page-turning writing is suspenseful and engaging as you follow the intense journey of a relatable Prince Alfie and clever Hayley. The content fascinates the historical fiction buff as well as the fantasy lover as you discover that things may not be as they seem. The reader also delves into the perils of what could happen if the way things are were overthrown by a villain.

What appears as a typical story of good against evil turns out to be more complex with the twists and turns of the story — revealing new layers and ending in a gripping, cliffhanger ending. This book leaves you wanting more. I hope there is another one in the works to answer my questions and mesmerize me with its gift of storytelling.

This book has a lead male character, but also a strong female lead and will appeal to both genders. There are many instances of violence, some of it is somewhat intense. However, the violence is of an adventurous nature and is captivating in the context of the story. It is perfect for the action-seeker.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore:  Threat of broken bones; adult getting whiplashed across the face with branches; reference to historic place where men and women were beheaded; reference to ghost carrying her head; gunfire bounces off of villain; villain smashed into historic location discarding artifacts; villain backhands guard with a sickening crunch, bloodied lips, and dies; sword hits villain throwing him like a car crash – loses a minor part of him; description of bullies tactics – punching, twisting, squeezing, pounding; minor throws metal trash can at another minor – misses; minor holds other minor’s arm behind his back; verbal threat of running him through. Extended violent scene – 4 pages – including: villain’s tail hitting character in the chest throwing him back, tail hitting 3 more times, character being held down by claw, character’s arm being squeezed to release weapon from grasp, attempt to smash creature with large rock, tail to chest of character resulting in blood and death; minor hits minor in nose; minor attempts to hit minor in nose; minor hits minor across desk and bookshelf; minor tackled minor; minor swats minor; adult lifts and threatens minor and tosses minor; minor threatens minor with prison; character experiences intense chest pain, cold, blurred vision, stabbing pain; report of death via heart attack; vision of battle; tapestries representation of fantasy animals and violence; report of character killed in battle; verbal threat to crush neck; minor pushes large object onto adult; minor rams walking stick into adult chest; adult aggressively grabs minor off of the ground; adult pulls gun on minor;  visions of slaughtering Vikings followed by attacks of dogs pulling screaming soldiers to pieces – description of muzzle with spittle and blood and red fire eyes; minor trips and scratches hand with blood present; training injuries; recounting of violent vision; magical dueling practice; destruction of bridge resulting in whirlpool and people treading water; adult face bloodied; minor unconscious; reference to creatures that threatened the country; minor kicked minor; broke down door; broke glass in door; bashing knee from tripping; implied intention of an animal trying to kill character; arm of statue snapped off – vandalism; pull sword from animal body; vision of pulling sword from animal body; vision of pile of dead dogs; vision of clash of swords – magic; fantasy violence – extended 10 pages – involving character taking fireball to chest – hurtling head over heels, attempts to hit villain with sword, character hit with tail, talon foot pins character down, character left on the edge of a sinkhole/volcano; lava results in destruction of castle, town, houses, and city – no casualties; minor fights minor; threat of more death; 12 pages extended fantasy violence and destruction of property including: villain lands and cracks marble, tail knocks down line of soldiers, fiery breath knocks down another line of soldiers, knocks chair over, destroys historic object, masonry cracks, pews topple, banners fall, people lay injured, soldiers prepare for another assault, implied threat that others would die, cathedral in flames, threat to family members, fire bringing more structures down, character kicked by villain, character tossed down aisle, sword hits with no affect, destroyed column, pew hits character, character rams pew in chest of minor, character cuts part of villain off, character poisoned by injury to hand, lots of flames, destruction of building, character buried by stone; minor hits minor in head; reference to historical head on spike; 2 characters fall into river after flames; adult in flames attacks; villain kills adult;.

Sex/Nudity:  Arms of minor around waist of another minor for security; minor kisses minor on cheek; 2 incidents of naked bodies – non-sexual.

Mature Subject Matter:

Bullying, parental expectations, family relationships, divorce, death, war.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My favorite books are ones that change me and my perceptions of the world in a significant way. My favorite genre is probably historical fiction with biographies as a close second.