Adventure · Jean R

The Syndrome | by Ridley Pearson


The Syndrome by Ridley Pearson
(Disney-Hyperion, 2015, 304 pages)

The Syndrome by Ridley Pearson with Brooke Muschott (as Jess) and Elizabeth Hagenlocher (as Mattie) is a new Kingdom Keepers adventure. The Kingdom Keepers is a series of seven books written by Ridley Pearson involving five teenagers who serve as holograms on the Disney properties. In book seven in the series, the five teens known as the Kingdom Keepers saved Disneyland from the Disney villains. In this new adventure, all five Kingdom Keepers are stuck in Sleeping Beauty Syndrome (SBS). SBS means that the teens bodies appear to be sleeping, but their holograms are separated from their bodies and must be returned for the teens to wake up. Three friends of the Kingdom Keepers, Amanda, Jess, and Mattie, must try to locate the holograms and return them to their sleeping bodies.

The three friends of the Kingdom Keepers all have special powers. Amanda is telekinetic. Jess has dreams which provide clues to the future. Mattie can read minds. All of these powers will be needed to save the Keepers.

The Syndrome is interesting and appears to be an introduction to the new Kingdom Keeper series. However, the novel was not well edited. There were words missing or in the wrong order. I found the mistakes disappointing. However, I am looking forward to reading the next Kingdom Keeper novel, The Return: Disney Lands.

Adventure · History · Jean R · Non-Fiction

Astoria | by Peter Stark


Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Peter Stark
(Ecco Press, 2014, 384 pages)

Astoria by Peter Stark is the true story of John Jacob Astor’s plan to form an American empire on the yet unsettled West Coast. In Jefferson’s final term as President, John Jacob Astor consulted with him about building an empire in the West. Lewis and Clark had already made their historic journey. Jefferson was interested in having an American presence in the West. Astor wanted to build a fur trading empire out there. Astor took it upon himself to plan and finance the making of a West Coast empire with a trading post to be established at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Astoria covers the years 1810-1813. Astor sent 140 men (and 1 Indian woman with 2 small children) to create this empire. Some were sent by sea. The rest were sent by land. Both routes presented hardships and danger including starvation, Indian attacks, and stormy seas. Of the 140 men, nearly half died. Ships were lost. For a short time, a trading post was established on the Columbia River and the surrounding territory was called Astoria after John Jacob Astor. But the War of 1812 and other circumstances intervened and the Astor enterprise was lost.

Astoria is an interesting tale of adventure, hardship, and determination. It is well written. I would recommend this book to those interested in U.S. history or anyone who likes to read about adventure.