Defender of the Realm
Defender of the Realm

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Annotation: Reluctant heir to the throne Prince Alfie is challenged to assume a secret identity as the nation's defender and teams up with ordinary girl Hayley to end a centuries-long battle involving monsters, villains, and dragons.
Catalog Number: #161530
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 306 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-545-93666-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1361-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-545-93666-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1361-0
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Hayley and her grandmother are touring the Tower of London when the Black Lizard, a humanlike reptile, smashes through a wall to grab the Crown Jewels, only to be foiled by the Defender, England's enigmatic superhero. Meanwhile Alfie, next in line for the throne, sneaks out of Harrow School and makes headlines by hiding in a trash can to avoid a news photographer. Soon after the king's sudden death, Hayley and Alfie become allies in thwarting the Black Lizard, who's attempting to seize power by finding and reassembling the hidden shards of the magical crown of King Alfred the Great. Can two 14-year-olds save the realm? Readers will find it hard to resist a young noble who aspires to be known as Alfie the Not So Bad, while biracial Hayley brings courage, kindness, and common sense to their mission. The trappings of British history and royalty are here, along with elements of fantasy and humor, but adventure drives this fast-paced chapter book. An unexpected twist on the last page will leave readers eager for sequels.
Horn Book
After his father's murder, bumbling Prince Alfie becomes Defender of the Realm, charged with protecting Britain from monsters. Soon Alfie must confront the Black Dragon, a creature with a human alter ego bent on ruling Britain itself. This adventure, blending fantasy with the mystique of the British royal family, is hampered by an unsupported last-minute revelation of the true villain's identity.
Kirkus Reviews
A reluctant heir to the throne learns that the king of England's job is more dangerous and fantastic than he imagined. Alfie, named for Alfred the Great, does not dream of defending the country against Vikings but of being just a regular white kid. But as Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, his life is mapped out for him. Fourteen-year-old mixed-race Hayley is visiting the Tower of London with her Jamaican-born grandmother when she witnesses an epic battle between the Black Lizard and the mysterious white knight known as the Defender. However, even though dozens caught it on video, any evidence is quickly squashed. When his father dies unexpectedly, Alfie must become not only the monarch, but the literal Defender of the realm. But the key to defeating the Black Lizard might lie in the lizard scale that Hayley retrieved from the Tower battle. The familiar theme of reluctant hero-turned-determined savior is enlivened here by a combination of fast-paced action and intriguing characters. Alfie, with his clumsiness, fear, and insecurity, is decidedly human. Hayley is tough, determined, and bright—in short, an excellent sidekick. An obvious reveal at the end only diminishes the story slightly. The open ending hints at more adventures to come. A thrilling mashup of history and fantasy. (Fantasy. 8-12)
Word Count: 62,137
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.0 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 189492 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:15.0 / quiz:Q72258

Alfie thinks he knows his destiny. As Prince Alfred, heir to the throne of Great Britain, he's fated to become the most disappointing king in the nation's history. Alfie longs for a way to prove himself, but little does he realize that with the throne of England comes an ancient secret. He who wears the crown must protect the country as the legendary hero -- the Defender of the Realm.

Hayley is an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life. She certainly never believed in the mysterious superhero, the Defender. Then, after witnessing a very public battle at the Tower of London, everything is different, and Hayley is left with no doubt. The Defender is real.

Two kids with two very different lives are about to get caught up in a centuries-long battle for the fate of a nation. Monsters and criminals, villains and dragons, together Hayley and Alfie must protect their home at all costs.

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