Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Kingdom of Oceana
Author: Mitchell Charles
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release date: November 27th, 2015
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SURFER SHARK TAMER FIRE WALKER EXPLORER TEENAGER HERO Five Centuries Ago, On the Island Now Called Hawaii, There was a Kingdom Filled with Adventure, Beauty, and Magic. When 16-year-old Prince Ailani and his brother Nahoa trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to destroy their tropical paradise. As warring factions collide for control of Oceana, it sparks an age-old conflict between rival sorcerers that threatens to erupt-just like Mauna Kea, the towering volcano. With the help of his ancestral spirit animals, his shape shifting sidekick, and a beautiful princess, Prince Ailani must overcome his own insecurities, a lifetime of sibling rivalry, and a plague of cursed sea creatures brought forth by the tiki’s spell. Can peace be restored to the kingdom? Can Prince Ailani claim his rightful place as the future king of Oceana? ONLY ONE CAN RULE.
The Kingdom of Oceana is an adventure teeming with Hawaiian culture about two brothers’ rivalry and the fight between good and evil. It stands as a light, entertaining read reminiscent of Percy Jackson, though some aspects left me wanting for more depth.
I can’t say with authority how well all the elements of Hawaiian culture were represented, but I could tell the author did its best to give a respectful insight by including study guides and a glossary aimed at Middle Grade students. The whole mythology was fascinating and I loved learning every piece of it. The pitfall lies with how many elements were included. If the novel would have narrowed its scope, it would have ground the story better. That way, I would’ve enjoyed the twists more. Without that focus, I knew anything was possible and nothing came as a surprise. I took everything that happened for granted.
The plot, as I mentioned before, was quite entertaining and filled with action. I wasn’t sure where it was going, so I just let it take me through the adventure. This made it fast and fun to go through.
On the other hand, I knew exactly what to expect from the characters. They were quite predictable, especially the brothers Nahoa and Ailani, as they represented good and evil in a very clear-cut way. The story was based on these archetypes, but without adding anything new to them. I was especially disappointed with our main character as a hero. Prince Ailani depended on absolutely everyone to advance and he never truly showed an interest in growing. He was pretty clueless and went with the motions, pushed by the events surrounding him. It exasperated me how little he knew about everything!
The ever-growing pile of fantasy novels I’ve read have made me a tougher critic for these adventures, but this is a genre that always brings something good to my reading experience. With its highs and lows, The Kingdom of Oceana is a story with heart that we might know, but not with the same unique elements. It holds an appreciation for Hawaii that I’ll carry with me.