Reviewed By Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite: 5 stars
Kings and Criminals by Mungo Magennis is an interesting young adult thriller, compelling and inspiring. A sixteen-year-old boy can’t stand the distress and the brokenness he witnesses around him, and hooked on the idea of bringing change to the world, he comes up with a bold idea, one that has a powerful grip on him. Create a secret group of dedicated young men with unique skills and prepare them for positions of influence in the country. This is a bold idea and it seems easy, but has the young man considered the challenges that await them and how ruthless society could be? Will they have what it takes to succeed, to stand for each other when needs be?
The reader is immediately introduced to the setting and I loved the way it comes out in the opening part of the narrative: “The Scottish hills undulate behind the estate, gifting its visitors to views of rolling mist early in the morning and fabulous sunsets to the west as the evenings arrive.” Mungo Magennis describes beautiful settings, offers delightful views to readers, and explores cultural and political elements that make the setting one of the most important pieces in the story. The prose is beautiful, with turns of phrase that are unique to the author, perhaps reflecting the world of the characters. The dialogues are naturally woven into the narrative. This is one of the books that inspire young readers to go after bold and lofty ideas, a story that brilliantly showcases the themes of teamwork, loyalty, and sacrifice for the common good. It is as entertaining as it is inspiring.
I was given an advance copy of this book, which is released on 18.01.18.
I haven’t read much YA fiction, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was a fantastic and gripping read.
The book (which I understand is the first in a series) follows its main character, the 16-year old Max, as he firstly imagines then develops a strategy to reach the upper echelons of the British Establishment with the long-term aim of influencing from within.
Along the way, he recruits four like-minded brothers-in-arms - each with different skills and ambitions - to form a secret society with a view to infiltrating politics, the media, the armed services and the law in pursuit of what they believe to be the greater good.
Yet it is clear from the outset that not everyone shares Max’s pure intentions. Girlfriends and a couple of shadowy characters intrude on Max’s grand plans, leading the reader to question just how far the boys will go to protect themselves and avoid their plans being uncovered.
The themes will speak to all young adults - unwanted pregnancy, drug and alcohol misuse - but it’s by no means a depressing story. The author lifts the themes common to all YAs and places them in settings which will excite young readers - private jets, superyachts and luxury hotels - whilst also informing them of how the British Establishment works and the lengths people will go to in order to protect what they think is right.
A great read for all YAs - part coming of age novel, part spy mystery and best of all, a bunch of characters that will grow with the reader as the series develops. Can’t wait for the second book!
Oh my god! I can’t even! This was fantastic!
Kings and Criminals is the first in what I am positive will be a mind-blowing series!
“Whether such people become kings or criminals is mostly a matter of luck.”
How many people does it take to create influence?
Sixteen-year-old Max has a bright idea one day whilst reading a history paper in school.... groups are created to make terrorism happen so why can’t someone create a group to STOP it? Delve into a world of friendship, power and corruption as five friends find out if one teenager's dream can become reality. Or will it all end in tragedy??
By far the most intense, engaging and thought-provoking book I’ve read In a long long time!