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Literature / Max & the Midknights

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Max & the Midknights is a Children's Book by Lincoln Peirce, the creator of the Big Nate series.

One day, Nate turns in a book report about "Max & The Midknights" to Mrs. Godfrey for his history class. He assures Mrs. Godfrey that it is a historical report because it's set in the middle ages and features kings, a dragon, and a Wicked Witch.

The story is about Max, a young boy (actually a girl) who dreams of becoming a knight. However, she seems destined to become a troubadour under her uncle, "Sir" Budrick, who as troubadours go, isn't all that good a singer. Their travels bring them to the Kingdom of Byjovia, where Budrick spent his most formative years before leaving to become a troubadour (which he did so he didn't have to become a knight). He remembers Byjovia as a prosperous kingdom under the rule of King Conrad the Kind, who was loved by all but his brother Gastley, who sought to take the throne for himself. Thankfully though, Conrad banished him a long time ago. So, the two decide to go there.

Only, it seems Byjovia has become its polar opposite since Budrick was last there. Conrad set off a year ago to battle a monster at the land's borders, and never returned. In his absence, Gastley returned and took the throne for himself. Now Byjovia is a miserable place full of crabby, grumpy people, and it's actually against the law to be a vagrant, even if you're a kid. What's more, when Gastley learns that Budrick is an entertainer, he takes him into the castle to make him his jester, leaving Max out on the street.

However, Max won't take all this sitting down. Teaming up with fellow vagrants Simon and Millie, and new friend Kevyn, Max decides they will become the knights Byjovia needs to kick Gastley off the throne.

The book was published on June the 8th, 2019. It gained a sequel, Max & the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins.

Max & the Midknights contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Max and Millie. Max fights with a dagger and dreams of becoming a knight, while Millie uses magic.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Both Gastley and Fendra the Sorceress of the North are behind Conrad's false death and Gastley being on the throne of Byjovia.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Max's reaction to being told girls aren't allowed to do most jobs, including being a knight.
  • Black Bead Eyes: The boys have black dot eyes, while the girls have black vertical line eyes.
  • Exact Words: Some time ago, Mumblin' the wizard gave Kevyn's father a coin to summon him. He told him that, if he ever needed him, to hold on to the coin tightly, and Mumblin' would appear in the blink of an eye. Max deduces that Kevyn's father needs to blink WHILE holding the coin to get Mumblin' to come to him.
  • Foil: Conrad and Gastley are this to each other. Conrad is the rightful king of Byjovia, and is a very kind, jovial man who cares greatly for his people. Gastley is a false king who worked with a witch to steal the throne from him, only cares about being on top, and will throw even kids in jail for being broke and homeless. Also, Conrad is a very large and friendly fellow, while Gastley's Lean and Mean.
  • Forced Sleep: Millie casts a sleeping spel on a transformed Fendra before she can do anything to them.
  • Forced Transformation: Sir Budrick, who gets turned into a goose by Mumblin as a disguise, him being the most wanted man in Byjovia at the time.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Midknights are composed of two boys (Simon and Kevyn) and two girls (Max and Millie).
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": When Kevyn points out that Mumblin' was often the butt of jokes, Max can be seen with her hand over her mouth thinking "Ha! Kevyn said "Butt"!".
  • In the Hood: Mumblin' and King Conrad put on hooded cloaks to disguise themselves as farmers to get back into Byjovia.
  • Kid Hero: Max and the Midknights are little kids who go on an adventure to save the kingdom of Byjovia from Gastley.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Due to 'Max' being a name suitable for both genders, her masculine appearance, and Max having her hair covered by her hat in the cover, it can be very easy for new time readers to mistake her for a boy.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After turning King Conrad into a kid, Fendra casts a spell on him to make him forget who he is.
  • Medium Blending: The book switches VERY frequently between being presented in the written word and in comic format.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Gastley has gargoyles brought to life with magic so they can act as guards to keep intruders out of his castle.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Three zombies crawl out of their graves to attack the Midknights on the trail of the dead. Exposing them to sunlight sends them running back, though.
  • Rodent of Unusual Size: The Midknights encounter a large colony of giant bat-winged rats in a cave. The rats all run away when Bruce the dragon shows up.
  • Shoe Phone: At one point, Mumblin contacts the Midknights by talking to them through a banana.
  • Taken for Granite: When Mumblin the Wizard tries to turn two gargoyles back into lifeless statues, his spell misses them and bounces off a rock right back at him, turning himself to stone. Luckily, he has an emergency button on his back to undo it.
  • Wingding Eyes: Anyone who gets knocked out cold have plus signs in place of their eyes.
  • Wizard Classic: Mumblin'.