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For Readers Age approx. 14+
Grades 10+
 

Prince Andy & the Misfits: Shadow Man - Review
< Back to reviews for ages 14+>

 Publisher's Summary:

Gammons, Karen. (2011). Prince Andy and the Misfits: Shadow Man. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing. ISBN 10-9781616636197. Litland.com recommends 14+, appropriate for younger advanced readers.

 

Publisher Description:  Andy thought he was just an average sixteen-year-old kid... But one day his world is completely turned upside down as he learns the unbelievable truth of his identity: he is the prince of a faraway kingdom called Filligrim in the Valley of the Misfits a magical place where pixies, elves, wizards, and dragons are just as likely to be inhabitants as humans. He was brought to this world following his birth the only way to keep him from being murdered by his evil malicious grandfather. Sounding more like a fairytale than reality, Andy at first thinks he must be dreaming. But then his aunt Gladdy reveals even more astonishing news: his mother, the Queen of the Misfits, is in trouble; she's been captured by goblins, and it's up to Andy to rescue her. Still in shock, he makes a decision that will forever alter life as he's known it. He will return to Filligrim and, with the help of six heroic Misfits, will embark on a mission to save the kingdom from the clutches of evil. In Prince Andy and the Misfits: Shadow Man, Andy encounters one adventure after another as he works to uncover a traitor, rescue the queen from goblins, retrieve a stone of immense power, and solve the mystery surrounding the Shadow Man the sinister mastermind behind it all. And perhaps most importantly, he must ultimately discover if he has the heart to become a true prince.

   

Respect for self and others: This includes integrity (adherence to a code of conduct or value system), honesty vs. manipulation or lying, compassion, caring for others (characters not focused on getting their way no matter what) self respect--main character does not let others denigrate him or her; use of self control and self-discipline ; taking charge of own behaviour; fairness to others (such as taking turns and avoiding the blame game). Reader should ask themselves “How does the protagonist depict their peers?” “Would you want others to treat you this way? Should everyone act this way?” This includes true friendships that do not involve regular lying, deceit or manipulation; considering consequences of actions prior to acting; owning up to responsibility once an action has been taken.
 

Respect and integrity are central to this story. Self-talk and dialogue demonstrate characters who “walk the talk”, risking their own lives to do “the right thing”, so moral integrity is prominent but not preachy in presentation. Respect for others is also continuously demonstrated. For example, Andy dislikes Kwagar but tries to get to know him rather than mistreating him. Andy acts inclusively and with sincerity, not with any self-serving motives. He demonstrates a good example of how to treat another peer when you don’t hit it off with them.  In other scenes, we see characters apologizing for their mistakes.  And Mystic ponders her broken friendship with Gladdy. 

Prince Andy also is outward focused rather than self-centered, thinking of all that others have done for him “many lives had been put on hold for his sake. He hoped to one day make it up to them”. A sense of responsibility as his Brother’s Keeper rings true.

 


Portrayal of Authority figures: The positive portrayal of parents, teachers, police officers and other “good” authority figures common in a child’s life is a positive influence upon the child’s own moral development. This includes actively-parenting mother and father figures. Minimization of parental involvement in the character’s activities or the portrayal of authority figures as inferior present poor role models. Also to be avoided are main characters that deceive parents and teachers to accomplish goals, and overuse sarcasm towards authority figures. Ask yourself “Are parents seen as positive or negative influence in the character's life?”
 

As the prince, Andy has every opportunity to boss around his guards, servants and elders. However, just as his followers show respect to him as Prince, he shows respect to all elders. He never acts more knowledgeable or tries to assert superiority over them.  Hierarchy in family and kingdom is prominent throughout the story and realistically portrayed.  Elements of leadership underlie the storyline.  As for authority within the family, Prince Andy respects and obeys his Aunt Gladdy even when in doubt; shows respect in addressing her. Never whines or argues.


Citizenship and Patriotism: Loyalty to family, team or group, school, community and world; caring for and being considerate of these groups. Pride to be part of that group or nationality.
 

Well, certainly there would be no story if the characters were not loyal to their royal family and preserving their kingdom!  Defence of their country is the purpose to their adventure. This is adequately portrayed throughout the story, and contrasted with the lack of  loyalty of the goblin prince to his father, the king.  We also see Prince Andy’s loyalty to his own family, such as being worried about meeting his mother...would there be room in his heart for both of them (mother and aunt)? He recognizes Aunt Gladdy gave up everything to raise him.  

Secondarily, obedience is shown in honoring the arranged marriages: Elsfur is betrothed to another and committed to honoring his family’s plans for him.  

Brotherhood is solid amongst the misfits including Andy.  


Justice and Balance: A just distribution between good and evil (with good outweighing evil in the presence of the storyline); demonstration of right and wrong; making decisions to enact the above values rather than simply choosing from two bad possibilities; Ask yourself “Is the emphasis on the positive elements or negative?”

 

The contrasts noted above distinguish clearly good vs. evil. Sufficient emphasis is placed on negative behaviours and attitudes as needed to add depth and intrigue to the story, while virtuous behaviour is the clear choice of action to take. Justification is given for acts such as beheading, and it causes Andy to vomit, further reinforcing that killing is not glory. A good ol’ fashioned tale of chivalry and honor.


Aesthetic aspects Of life ExperienceLook for a storyline portrayal of beauty, health, and selfless love vs. hedonistic behaviours (sexuality, selfishness, obsessiveness, materialism), profanity, gore and violence. Are nature and environment respected or exploited? Look for dark elements; watch out for humor that is negative, denigrates others excessively, uses metaphors to denigrate the sacred.
 

The author’s casual writing style invites readers of all ages into the Kingdom of Filligrim while being sufficiently rich in description to maintain attention too. The Enchanted Kingdom is...enchanting! The description of the yellow woods places us center into the magic of the experience. And scenes are quick paced so we feel in the scene without it being drawn on endlessly.  

Subtle humour occurs throughout adding to the story’s fun. Example, likeable characters named Snollygob, comments like “Andy not only got a good look at him, but he smelled him as well”, and characters who like to be...gross.  

Finally, elements of suspense hold our interest too. Will Kwagar end up to be a trustworthy comrade? Does he have special powers unbeknownst to others? Who is the traitor? And who are the real enemies? The story ends in a cliffhanger as we are introduced to the Shadow Man.



Other things to Consider:Other aspects of this book of interest or importance. For example, does it portray Wiccan practices and accurate use of tools of which some parents might object, does it contain hidden meanings in metaphors that may prove offensive to some families; does it address personal issues such as puberty or pregnancy.
 

Some action sequences such as beheading opponents exist, although kept to a minimum and well explained.  Overall book demonstrates exemplary behaviour with realistic flaws, as told in an intriguing tale.

 

So what do YOU think? Read our thoughts on the book and join in the discussion: Litland's Blog   


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