General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms
Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Amy (age 16) for Reader Views Kids (02/2021)
“General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms” by David Bush is a clever fantasy for teens and young adults set in a world where animals rule with a respected imposing hierarchy that goes unchallenged — until man interferes, that is.
All the animals of the world are ruled by King Roar and his felines. King Roar’s rule is fierce and oppressive. When Chief of the Cats, a tabby cat named Miaow, meets Jack, a fourteen-year-old human, they initiate a plan to overtake King Roar in an epic battle. The two bring together the individual kingdoms, form their attack, and it’s a battle to the finish. Ultimately it is Jack and Miaow’s friendship that alters the destiny of the animal world.
This is a story unlike anything I’ve read and I was immediately drawn into the plot. The characters are captivating, the story is full of intriguing concepts, and the tone draws to mind a David vs. Goliath challenge where you just can’t help but root for the little guy. The author creates just the right balance between the dialogue and action to keep readers engaged. The writing is informative and dictates political and historical elements; it is also funny and witty as shown through the characters interactions and conversations back and forth with each other.
The author also adds visual elements to the story to enhance the experience. I like the drawings interspersed throughout adding another level of engagement. Though I did find some of the flowcharts mapping out the battle to be a bit confusing and they did pull me out of the story, but this is a personal preference as I can see others appreciating the added detail.
The characters make the story and Miaow, my favorite, is a well-constructed, multidimensional protagonist. I really enjoyed following his journey from being a timid cat with a lack of confidence to finding his inner hero as he leads the armies through battle. His journey doesn’t end with the battle though as he continues to fight his personal demons throughout his days.
The ending leaves way for another story, perhaps featuring Miaow’s grandson, Jackat. With elements of politics, good vs. evil, humor, life lessons and much more, “General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms” by David Bush is a story that will be enjoyed by all from young people in their teens to adults.