fantasy books

Alfred: The Boy Who Would be King by Ron Smorynski

alfred cover

Alfred is a typical eleven-year-old boy who spends most of his spare time playing video games on a second-hand computer he was gifted. He is an only child and lives with his mother whom he sees as beautiful and sometimes odd in the way she speaks and dresses. Alfred sees it as old fashioned. Alfred is drawn to books, as well as video games of medieval times, something which has his mother uneasy every time it’s brought up. He also sends his mother into a frenzy when he asked about his father, whom he has never seen or heard of.
One night, Alfred summons an old wizard by saying the name “Bedenwulf.” He believes this to be his father name. The old wizard appears to be out of sorts and has no memory of who he is or what he does yet he manages to transport Alfred into another world, a medieval one. There, they learn the old wizard’s name is Tirnalth, and they meet a faithless cleric, Verbogen.
In the fantasy land, Alfred encounters creatures such as werewolves and gargoyles. He is told that he might be the only surviving heir to rule the kingdom and that an evil witch has driven the entire kingdom into despair. Alfred is determined to fit into the role of King and save his people.
This book was basically advertised as something similar to Harry Potter so immediately it caught my interest. It’s a brilliant middle-grade story and reminded me of Rick Riordan at times. I laughed during this book so the author captures humor well but here’s my concerns about things that could’ve been done differently. Firstly, Alfred is eleven years old and I feel like there are times he sounds more like a preschooler with the excited clapping, and at other times, Alfred is sharing all this knowledge with people. Maybe rework the characteristics for an eleven-year-old boy and the story would work beautifully. With a little editing, this story is a gripping and exciting one for fans of J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan.

xo Kat