Literature / The Kingdom Keepers

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A series of novels written by Ridley Pearson, otherwise known for writing horror and suspense novels as well as another Disney series Peter and the Starcatchers, that take place in and around Walt Disney World.

Finn Whitman is an Ordinary High-School Student who lives in Orlando near Walt Disney World. He and four other teenagers from the area - Willa, a shy girl with a love for animals, Maybeck, a snarky distrusting boy, Charlene, an athletic girl, and Philby, a homework loving boy - are selected to be turned into DHIs, holographic hosts for the Magic Kingdom that would give prerecorded speeches to guests. However, soon after they find themselves being transported into the park at night when they fall asleep. There they learn from an elderly Imagineer named Wayne that they were chosen specifically to stop the plot of the Overtakers, a group of villains apparently led by Maleficent. The Overtakers scheme to take over the park and beyond, and since they start out Invisible to Normals, the Imagineers needed someone to stop them. Along the way, they have to deal with two mysterious girls: Amanda, a schoolmate of Finn's who has an interest in him, and Jez, a goth like girl. Both of them appear to be hiding something.

There are seven books in the original series:
  • 1. Disney After Dark (2005)
  • 2. Disney At Dawn (2008)
  • 3. Disney In Shadow (2010)
  • 4. Power Play (2011)
  • 5. Shell Game (2012)
  • 6. ''Dark Passage' '(2013)
  • 7. The Insider (2014)

In 2015, a Spin-off novella, The Syndrome was released, followed by the first book of ''The Return''. The Return will be a trilogy:
  • 1. Disney Lands (2015)
  • 2. Legacy of Secrets (2016)

The books provide examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy:
  • All Part of the Show: The final battle in the first book.
    • As well as several other confrontations.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Finn's parents.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Amery Hollingsworth and his Legacy of Secrets.
  • Antagonist Title: Legacy of Secrets refers to Amery Hollingsworth and his Big Screwed-Up Family
  • Artistic License:
  • Ascended Fanboy: The DHIs.
  • Asexuality: Philby.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Dillard pops back in during book five, but is killed at the end of book 6.
    • After being conspicuously absent for most of book 5 and all of book 6, Cruella de Vil reappears mid way through book 7 and is killed a few chapters later.
  • Back from the Dead: A lot of villains that were killed in the movies they were in.
    • Tia Dalma resurrects Maleficent at the end of Legacy of Secrets
  • Bare Your Midriff: Amanda is noted to do this, as is Charlene's VMK form.
  • Big Bad: Chernabog. When he's not present, it's Maleficent, and when she's not present, the Evil Queen.
    • And now there's the possibility that Maleficent has overthrown Hades after being sent to hell, making her an even greater threat.
  • Bigger Bad: The Return trilogy sets up Amery Hollingsworth as this, being the one ultimately responsible for both the creation of the Overtakers and Barracks 14.
    • In the original series, Chernabog often acts as this when he is not present.
    • Maleficent is speculated to be this, now that she has seemingly conquered Hades.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Imagineers in the first book.
    • Ariel and Mulan in the fourth.
    • Stitch and King Triton (By proxy in the latter's case) in the fifth.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Disney At Dawn: The team has rescued Jess, but Wayne has been captured, Maleficent succeeds in freeing Chernabog, and the two villains escape in a freezer truck.
    • Power Play: Maleficent and Chernabog's prison break is successful, but the Disney characters are pitching in to help the Kingdom Keepers in the battle against evil.
    • Dark Passage: Maleficent has been Killed Off for Real, Tia Dalma has been captured, and Chernabog is trapped forever in the underground labyrinth. But Finn is tricked into accidentally killing Dillard, leaving him extremely shaken.
    • The Insider: Disneyland is saved, Mickey has returned, and peace has been restored to the kingdom. But the Overtakers' leadership remains at large and Wayne left the Keepers more mysteries to solve.
    • Legacy of Secrets: In the past, the Keepers have solved the mystery and temporarily thwarted Hollingsworth's schemes, and Finn is reunited with Amanda when she comes back into the past. But now they have to wrestle with the question of whether to change the past and prevent the Overtakers from ever existing, while in the present Maleficent has come Back from the Dead.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Finn's only "borrowing" Walt Disney's pen.
  • Blow You Away: Maleficent, briefly.
  • Bound and Gagged: Maybeck when he's kidnapped in the first book. Also, Finn attempts this in the fourth book.
  • Brainwashed: Jez, or Jess, as her real name is. Stitch is this way at the beginning of the third book, but is back to normal by the fifth.
  • The Cameo: For a series taking place inside the Disney theme parks, several of these are to be expected.
  • Chick Magnet: Nearly every female teenager is attracted to Finn. Maybeck claims to be this trope as well.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Deconstructed. The entire reason the world's in danger is because enough people believe in the Overtakers to let them come alive.
  • Creepy Monotone: The Crash-test dummies speak in this manner.
  • Curse Cut Short: In Shell Game Maleficent was in the middle of calling Ariel the B-word before being attacked by a legion of crabs.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Finn explaining his injuries to his mother.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Jess for most of the second book.
      • Willa becomes this when she gets captured while trying to rescue Jess
    • Finn's mom in book 5. Played with, however: she isn't captured, but spends most of the book Brainwashed and Crazy, forcing Finn to figure out how to free her.
  • Darker and Edgier: Dark Passage
  • Deadpan Snarker: Maybeck.
  • Deadly Dodging: Against the T-Rex at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • Dem Bones: The T-Rex skeleton at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (the train goes through this right before the final set of brakes).
  • Demonic Possession: Ursula was doing this to Storey Ming all along
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Maybeck in book 1.
    • Philby in book 2.
    • Wayne for the end of book 2 and most of book 3.
    • Dillard in the last third of book 6.
  • The Dragon: Maleficent for Chernabog, Frollo for the Evil Queen.
    • Dragon-in-Chief: Maleficent. She does so much more than any of the other villains, Chernabog included, and it's obvious that Chernabog would never have been freed without her. And while Wayne said that she was a pawn, after her death, this may not be true anymore, supposedly taking control of hell from behind the scenes.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Wayne.
  • Drowning Pit: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh under Maleficent's control.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Wayne
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chernabog
  • Enemy Civil War: the seventh book reveals that the increasingly public actions of the Overtakers that led to the creation of the team in the first place was the result of a power struggle between Maleficent and Ursula.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Thanks to Maleficent.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: A pair appears in the beginning of Disney at Dawn, foreshadowing the book taking place in The Animal Kingdom.
  • Evil All Along: Storey Ming. It wasn't exactly willing, though.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Maleficent, oh so much.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Storey Ming is a appears in the heroes' lives unexpectedly in Book 5. The male characters are all immediately attracted to her despite having just met her and not knowing if they can really trust her. This makes sense considering how Ursula essentially pulled the exact same thing with Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid, providing a subtle clue to who Storey Ming really is.
    • After an earthquake in Book 7, Overtaker Mooks are seen putting out fires that started because of the damage to natural gas lines. this is later revealed to be because they're waiting for the gases released by the earthquake to collect inside Disneyland before igniting it all at once with a jury-rigged lightning rod.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Space Ranger Spin becomes a lot more real after you cross over.
  • Good Costume Switch: Jez /Jess
  • Grand Finale: The Return
  • Grumpy Bear: Maybeck
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Fairlies are human/fairy offspring.
  • Hazardous Water: Splash Mountain.
  • Hero Secret Service: The Disney employees who aren't Obstructive Bureaucrats are usually this trope.
    • Violet and Elsa serve as Mickey Mouse's bodyguards while he and the Keepers get into position for the final battle with Chernabog in the seventh book.
    • Mulan also serves as a getaway driver for the Keepers in book 4.
  • Idiot Ball: In the first book, Finn and Philby explore Splash Mountain without a log car or any plan to survive the big drop.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The plan for defeating Maleficent.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Overtakers and other Disney characters.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: When Ursula is defeated in Book 7, Storey Ming loses all memory of everything that happened after Ursula took her as a host.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Jez is brainwashed, she's Amanda's sister, and they're both magic.
  • Legion of Doom: The Overtakers.
  • Let Me Get This Straight
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Audio-Animatronics used in the rides are brought to life and used by the Overtakers.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Dillard, though the best friend part is lost once Finn becomes a DHI.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "I'm Jez. Short for Jezebel. It's from The Bible."
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Audio-Animatronic Pirates of the Caribbean riding Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin cars!
  • Noodle Incident: How Maybeck's aunt Jelly got her nickname.
  • The Obi-Wan: Wayne before his death in The Insider.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Higher up Disney employees and Imagineers tend to be this in later books. Particularly in The Return trilogy. Somewhat justified given that they have to deal with megalomaniacal villains on top of running the company on a day to day basis, so the Obstructive part only comes when their way of handling a situation conflicts with the heroes' way of doing it.
  • Obviously Evil: Jez wears black, has pale skin, and that name...
    • Subverted in the end though; she's not really evil, just brainwashed by Maleficent.
  • Official Couple: Finn and Amanda appear to be this, although despite acknowledging their feelings for each other in The Return, they still haven't officially gotten together yet.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: The Keepers.
  • Parental Abandonment: Maybeck's parents "aren't around". Also, Amanda and Jez live alone with no supervision.
  • Perky Goth: Jez, with good reason.
  • Playing with Fire: Maleficent can throw fireballs.
  • Posthumous Character: Walt Disney himself.
  • The Power of Friendship: Invoked on the "it's a small world" ride.
  • Punny Name: Fairlies are "fairly human".
  • Resigned to the Call: Some of the kids aren't too happy with their new position, but as Finn points out they're going to cross over every night anyway.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Insider reveals that Urusla and an unspecified number of others are part of one.
    • Before that, Power Play indicates that Jafar and Shan-Yu are each working independently of the Overtakers.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: There's a scene in the first book where Finn's thoughts become this way.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect
  • Romantic False Lead: Storey Ming for all major pairings from Book 5 to Book 6. Revealed in Book 7 to be a weaponized version of this trope so Ursula could manipulate the Keepers into destroying Maleficent for her.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Finn in the first book.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Walt Disney's first pen.
    • And an actual sword in the third book, stolen from Maelstrom.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Now part of Maleficent's bag of tricks.
  • You Are Grounded: Finn in the first book, though this only allows him to go to bed early without suspicion.
    • A constant worry for some of the Keepers.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The rule of the DHI form seems to be that you're as solid as you believe yourself to be. Somewhat averted in version 2.0
    • Arguably all the Disney characters who are coming to life because everyone believes in them so much.
  • You're Insane!: Philby's parents think this whenever he mentioned the DHI crossover.

Alternative Title(s): Kingdom Keepers

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheKingdomKeepers