Daniel Max and the King in the Tower

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One year has passed in the town of Bleak Shadow since the mysterious disappearance of Daniel Max’s dad. There isn’t a day that goes by that the eleven-year-old wonders about the red smoke that consumed his parent’s bedroom when he went searching for his dad, let alone the sinister laughter that accompanied it. Unfortunately, Daniel is the only person who witnessed this ominous event, and he has a difficult time convincing his mom, his nine-year-old sister Dana, and even his best friend Jake. Things become more believable when Jake discovers “a gate clouded between two trees” behind the gym of their school — Edgar Alexander Dark Elementary –and he, Daniel, and Dana enter this strange aperture. Hoping to find Daniel and Dana’s dad, the threesome have no idea that they are about to encounter the most bizarre adventures along the way.

Written in third person, Daniel Max and the King in the Tower begins with background information on the ominous coincidences that befell Edgar Alexander Dark, the founder of Bleak Shadow, back in 1865, which then quickly shifts over to the present into the Max family and their strange situation. Yet this is only the beginning of strange situations. Sipper’s first book for tweens has all the outlandish elements of Alice in Wonderland and then some. Aside from Daniel’s personified yet grappling conscience (for example, Curiosity, a polar bear, shies away from Fear, a cat) that try to help him make decisions, he, his sister, and best friend confront a plethora of menacing and helpful talking creatures as they travel through a strange labyrinth-like world. Their adventures are temporarily interrupted by flashbacks into Edgar’s mysterious developments back in his day. The correlation between the past and the present provide plot cohesion while Daniel, Dana, and Jake go from one confusing circumstance to another.

Sipper has done a stellar job of creating a fast-paced and very engaging fantasy that will definitely keep tweens on their toes. There are plenty of riddles to solve as well as new words to learn along the way. Closing with a cliffhanger, readers will be anxiously awaiting its sequel!

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Moshe Sipper
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 192 pages
Publisher Amazon
Publish Date 30-Jan-2014
ISBN 9781495387678
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Tweens
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