Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: The Invisible Tower (Otherworld Chronicles #1) by Nils Johnson-Shelton

Publisher: January 3, 2012 HarperCollins
Genre: Middle Grade
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads Summary
Part of the spell has already been broken.

The first stones have begun to crumble.

In Artie Kingfisher’s world, wizards named Merlin, fire-breathing dragons, and swords called Excalibur exist only in legends and lore— until the day his video game Otherworld springs to life.

You are special, Arthur,

Says the mysterious message in his game.

In one week’s time you will come to me at the it.

Cryptic clues lead Artie to a strange place called the Invisible Tower, where he discovers that nothing in his life is as it seems. Artie is none other than King Arthur, brought to life in the twenty-first century. Artie has won the battle in the virtual Otherworld —now the key to saving the real Otherworld lies in his hands as well.

Green dragons, hungry wolves, powerful sorcerers —suddenly Artie must battle them all as he wields Excalibur and embarks on a quest worthy of the Knights of the Round Table. With his sister, Kay, by his side, Artie steps into the Otherworld— straight toward his destiny.

Dr. Pepper Heads and Tom Thumb

I find Middle Grade reads rather invigorating because they can take you places that other books just can't with good clean fun.

The Good

The transition from old school legend to modern day gamers and technology in this book is fascinating. I don't know a child alive that wouldn't enjoy the idea that they could actually go into their video games. Now, what I know about the legend of King Arthur comes from the movie The Sword in the Stone so I'm aware that I only have one wonderfully colorful side of the story. It happens to be one of my favorite animated movies to date, and like that movie, this book has Merlin and King Arthur and a red-headed Kay although she is his sister. They appear to get along rather well for pre-teen siblings, but then again he is adopted.

This book follows Artie as he journeys to a video game store for a controller for his sister to use in a tournament and meets Merlin. It all goes wild from there. He is introduced to Tom Thumb and is on a quest for two incredible swords (one for him and one for sis). Excalibur in The Invisible Tower has a lot of awesome abilities. I don't want to go into a lot of detail and ruin it for readers, but I'm an adult and my 10 year old has been reading it, and we both enjoy the action and characters. Johnson-Shelton really knows how to talk to children and the child in us. I am not really sure what a Dr. Pepper head is, but I know that I love Dr. Pepper and definitely do things that people think are nerdy.

The Bad

While I grew close to a wide array of characters, there were some that felt flat.

The Romance

There is a little bit of crush action going on, but nothing really in the realm of romance.


This is a fun ride down a path in a modern world of video games, melded with an old school legend, riddled with obstacles, well-known names, and fun. Adults and kids alike that like these kinds of adventures will enjoy this book.


Wait. He was special? And he had a servant? A humble one? What?

Shoplifters will be punished. Malcontents will be banned. Loyalists will be blessed. - Management

Artie said, "Wait - did you say 'battle'?"
"Of course, my boy! You are King Arthur! One of the greatest warriors the world has ever seen!"

He saw Qwon, and Kay, and Kynder, and Lance, and thumb, and kids from school - even Frankie Finkelstein. He saw Merlin trapped in his invisible tower, sometimes screaming with rage, other times broken by solitude, yet others giddy with revelation. He suddenly knew some Welsh and a fair amount of Latin.

"I hear that you're quite safe - but a little uncomfortable - if a green dragon freezes you. I hope it won't happen, but if it does, the important thing is to remain calm. You have my word that I'll get you out."
     "Check, check, and ditto, Tommy," Kay said. Artie nodded.


  1. I love the idea of going into video games. Glad that you enjoyed.

    Happy reading,

    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. I enjoy a middle school book from time to time. Happy to hear this one was good.

  3. Sounds like a good middle grade read. :) Thank you.

  4. It sure is. Thank you for stopping by :)

  5. Very entertaining. Thank you so much!


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