Reviews /

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

Authored by Jamar J. Perry
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books

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This is a wonderful book which will delight all those who enjoy reading fantasy and adventure.

It tells the story of Cameron, who discovers a magical book with moving figures and pictures, housed within his grandma’s attic. He remembers this book from his childhood and wonders why it is now forbidden to him. So, together with his friends Aliyah and Zion, he rediscovers the book and it takes them on a magical, yet scary, journey. During this journey, the friends attempt to save the historical fantasy kingdom within its pages from destruction.

I enjoyed the book, which for me had echoes of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Northern Lights. There are three inseparable friends comprising two boys and a clever girl who encourages the boys and is their equal in strength, skill and intelligence.  We also meet the mythical flying beasts called Mmo as the friends enter a magic land through the pages of a book. Having said that, there is so much originality too and it’s refreshing to read a book about Igbo culture which may challenge the stereotypical images that some readers may hold about the history of West Africa if they have not read anything like this previously. With Cameron’s grandmas blessing, the three young friends visit the Nigerian Igbo kingdom that lies within the pages of the book from the attic. Whilst here, Cameron learns the truth behind his parents’ disappearance and learns to fight tough battles to save others from having a similar fate.

As a reader, I learnt about Igbo culture, found the fight sequences thrilling and the details of the food, clothing and scenery wonderfully exquisite. My favourite part of the book was the Mmo creatures who always arrived when the story needed excitement and provided the helping hand necessary to move the text along. All in all, the ending wasn’t what I expected and so was a little disappointing, but it does suggest this book could become a series. I would also have liked the friendship between the three children to develop or face more jeopardy, but again, I’m sure this will happen in any future books in the series.

I would recommend this book to upper KS2 children. It would be a fabulous story for a teacher to read aloud to the class.