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The Revenge of the Shadow King (Grey Griffins, #1)
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The Revenge of the Shadow King (Grey Griffins #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,569 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
This irresistible first novel tells the story of four friends who find themselves caught up in the dangerous quest to save their town when the wicked creatures from their card game come to life.

Max Sumner and his three best friends, Harley, Ernie, and Natalia--who form the secret club The Grey Griffins--seem to be the only people in their very normal Minnesota town to noti
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Orchard Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Michaela It's not a waste of time to read. I certainly don't regret reading the book either, however there are some cons along with pros for this book.…moreIt's not a waste of time to read. I certainly don't regret reading the book either, however there are some cons along with pros for this book. Summarizing: The main character Max and his three friends play a game similar to "Dungeons and Dragons" The place they play is an antiquities shop and the owner plans their adventures that they play out through special cards that are so rare and were supposedly once played by King Arthur and his knights of the round table. The girl in their group even dresses like an elf to get into the mindset of playing the game. Now the cards are NOT like in "Jumanji" where you play the game and the creatures come out to kill you and you have to finish the game to return them to the game. However they are more a training game that the owner of the antiquities shop uses to help introduce these important children to the world.
When Max discovers a book that was kept by his grandfather of a bunch of mystical beings filling it's pages that were identical to that of the cards (He alone since he is the man's grandson can open the book) he is curious. Hears a voice in his head and repeats magical words that release two creatures....which only adds to the crazy things that have been happening to him and his group of friends. Morgan Le Fey shows up and there are some interesting characters including the Knights Templars are thrown into the mix bringing it to a climactic save-the-world from evil themed book. It is written as a Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy book. So if you are an adult don't expect big words and fancy writing. It's inteligently written, but it Is for Young Adults. Again...I found it a decent read but since I am not too interested in Dungeons and Dragons myself and it seems to have been inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's "Jumanji" and "Zathura" (but not by much) and written by someone who probably plays Dungeons and Dragons or the card game Magic, makes me not entirely in love with this book. But that is because I am biased in that way.
Give this book a shot. I was surprised. Perhaps I will read it again later and see if my biases change. It's worth a shot.(less)

Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
Sigh. I was disappointed with this book because I think it tried to be too many things for too many audiences. This is another ARC I picked up at work, set for publication in March 2006, and clearly trying to be the next Harry Potter, not just in sales but in plot and character as well. (Tragically the writing is nowhere near as good as JKR.) I did like some of the connections and stretches of imagination the authors came up with, but most of it was trite or it came flying in from left field. (N ...more
Mar 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
Trite - don't bother - Here's some other recommendations...

Don't bother with this book. The story has potential but it's writen for a reader that is assumed to be completely unintelligent (and so are the characters).

Example: Kids are told not to do the NEXT SENTENCE they go and do it. No story build up, no circumstance that forces the kids into it.

Example: Here's a common writing method in this book...
"I don't get it" said Ernie. He was confused.
-Obviously he was confused. The wri
Kathy Davie
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
First in the Grey Griffins adventurous mythic fantasy + role play gaming series for middle-grade readers and revolving around four eleven-year-old kids, best friends since kindergarten: Max Sumner, Harley Eisenstein, Ernie Tweeny, and Natalia Romanov who live in the town of Avalon, Minnesota.

My Take
Benz/Lewis take role playing games to infinity and beyond in this tale of Templars and the King Arthur legend while using the third-person subjective point-of-view, conveying thoughts, feelings, opini
This book is the written equivalent of whipped cream. It's fun while you're eating it, but isn't very substantial and leaves a bad taste in your mouth afterward. If you want to know what a standard kid-centered fantasy novel is like, check this out. Mysterious, not-really-important prologue? Check. Set of stock characters? Check. Mildly entertaining gimmick to introduce your fantasy world? Check. Blandness? Check-check-checkity-checkface from checkville, checkania.
Our cast: Luke Eragon Rand Ha
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Max and his freinds Natalia, Harley, and Ernie play a very unpopular game round table only to find that the monsters witch's and last but most definitely not least the Templar are real! They go on and adventure fighting the which's and monsters with help from the Templar to save the world.

I thought this book was amazing it had alot of action was thrilling/suspencful.

I think this would be a good book people who have a wide imagination.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
My 9 year old and I both really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a good book for his age and up. Great books for boys.
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who liked the Spiderwick Chronicles (Ages 9-whatever)
Recommended to Michael by: My teacher, Mrs. Morris.
Shelves: already-read
This book is great!!! I'm done!
Barb Middleton
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Blue lightning bolt boy. That's Max. The only clue to his superpowers is thunder, the color blue, and electrical energy that crackles over his skin. Unfortunately, not enough is explained as to how Max got these powers. This is just one of many missing plot elements that makes this story fall short of its potential, BUT, students will like this series. There is plenty of action and the monsters are fun and scary. Just don't go looking for deep character and plot development. It ain't there folks ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
It's not a waste of time to read. I certainly don't regret reading the book either, however there are some cons along with pros for this book. Summarizing: The main character Max and his three friends play a game similar to "Dungeons and Dragons" The place they play is an antiquities shop and the owner plans their adventures that they play out through special cards that are so rare and were supposedly once played by King Arthur and his knights of the round table. The girl in their group even dre ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
I do not understand how this novel received so many positive reviews. It is really bad. The plot is predictable, the characters are two-dimensional and clichéd, new characters or unexplainable magic pops up to save the central characters from mishaps of their own creation; adults are absent and/or stupid.

The “hero” is a poor little rich boy from a broken home. His posse includes an asthmatic, cowardly young boy with a junk food jones, an uber-smart yet unpopular girl who doesn’t know when to kee
Barb Scott
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Max Sumner is 11 years old. He and his best friends Harley, Natalia, and Ernie have formed a group they call the Grey Griffins. They love to play a card game called Round Table. When a goblin from the game appears to Max and tries to attack him, it leads to the discovery of a book called the Codex Spiritus. When he opens the book, Max unleashes a creature called a spriggan. Soon more and more creatures from the game appear in the real world and an all-out war between the Griffins and the magical ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Middle Grade/pre-teen fantasy
Recommended to Daisy by: Gabby
Shelves: audiobooks
This was everything I look for in a Middle Grade Fantasy book. The characters were original, amusing and loveable (although Natalia felt very cliché at times), the plot was exciting, and the writing flowed well with some awesome description. A very strong first book to this trilogy – I'm certainly intrigued to see where it goes next! The audiobook, narrated by Erik Steele, was thoroughly enjoyable – definitely recommended – as Steele does a superb job of distinguishing each and every character's ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
The book “The Revenge of the Shadow King” by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis, told a story of how four friends fight off dark forces that are invaded their peaceful town of Avalon. In my opinion the book was quite boring. The book seemed to be more for a younger audience than myself, and it told of your average spooky story. I kept waiting for something to get me excited, or on the edge of my seat, but instead it felt like reading the book was a chore. The book talks about goblins, witches, unicorns, ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The revenge of the Shadow King

The book I am writing a review is “The Revenge of the Shadow King” by “Derek Benz”. The book takes place in a town in Minnesota called Avalon. The main character is Max Sumner and his friends. Him and his friends have a group called the Grey Griffins. They play a ancient card game that only they have. Iver the man that gives them their cards said ‘They’re one of a kind’. Max’s grandpa has passed away for a while and Max uncovers some deep history. What did max find?
Mr. Cool (Dylan) Carter
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
this book was filled with adventure and danger at every turn with not just monsters but with bullies!i had to sneak it into my room to read before i went to sleep!!!can they save the world from the evil shadow king?
Angel Aponte
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was decent it wasn't the best one I have read. It was a good starter to the year short and quick to read. It was a fantasy book so I get into it really fast which is why I read the whole thing even though it wasn't too good.
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Max and his three best friends, Harley, Ernie and Natalia, must stop creatures from their favorite card game, from entering and destroying their world, not to mention the infamous and wicked Morgan LaFey, half-sister of King Arthur
Parker Towles
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
If you think you might want to read it don't it's terrible
Ysabela M.
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my favorite books! It has the right amount mystery, adventure, and fantasy all mixed together, making the perfect combination.
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: m
Excellent children's book, but equally enjoyable for adults. My son and I both loved it.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
It's been said that Jon Lewis and Derek Benz, the authors of this story, were childhood friends who used to hang out together and pretend that they were running from goblins, monsters and other things as they acted out fantasy stories. For better or for worse, it shows in this book and helps shape it.

The Revenge of the Shadow King is a fantasy book about a group of friends who always hang out together, and enjoy playing a card game called Round Table. When strange events start to occur, it begi
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kai Nosack
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book is called The Revenge of the Shadow King.It is written by Derek Benz. There are 369 pages. Not including the glossary.
Jenny Nimmo, author of New York Times best selling Charlie Bone books said that, “The revenge of the Shadow King has all the ingredients that make for great fantasy. I was hooked from the first page.” This book I thought would be perfect for people who love card games and fantasy.
I thought that the book was interesting because of their card game. I thought that the chara
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although definitely a story for a younger audience, this book had a lot of compelling aspects for those older as well. A rather long story, and only book one at that, with some historical aspects, and violence too. It’s easy to see why many, both young and not so young, would enjoy this story. I’d definitely consider reading the rest of the series, as I found the story to be quite compelling.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read these to my nieces and nephews aeons ago on a long car trip. We all loved them! Exciting, great characters, great books!
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a thriller, though it may be a little frightening at times. It's a book you can't put down until you finish it.
Makenna Appleyard
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not a bad book just seemed a bit all over the place.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: borrowed
I was loaned this book by a friend's daughter who recommended it very highly. I loaned her a book in return and set to explore what 13 year old fantasy enthusiasts are enjoying nowadays. Now I'll admit it's been a while since I was thirteen and my tastes have expanded and refined since then but I firmly believe that even at 13 I would have felt this book was mediocre at best.
The plot in The Revenge of the Shadow King is the standard 'young boy discovers he has magical powers and a destiny to ful
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I don’t understand why this book has so many good reviews. It is quite possibly the most cliché and superficial children’s book I have ever read.

Within the first pages of this book is an acknowledgment from the authors to a consulting firm. This, coupled with the book's lack of innovation, made me imagine this scene between the firm and authors…

“So, what do kids like?”
“Card games! They are in love with collecting cards for games like Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, and Yu-Gi-Oh!”
“Then we should
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The sequel to its predecessor, Deeper, is like that attraction at Disneyworld that you want to ride over and over and over again.
One of my pet peeves with books is bad cliffhangers. I hate it when you finish a book with a cliffhanger ending, and you really want to know what happens next. You finally get your hands on the sequel, but chapter one doesn't pick up from where you left off- it takes a couple chapters to get back to where you left off. Deeper is not one of those books.
Deeper quite lit
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Born in the wrong place, and unquestionably the wrong time, Derek Benz spent most of his early years trying to figure out where he was and why he was different than everyone else. By the age of five, he had stumbled upon the answer: the rest of humanity was really nothing more than an elaborate hoax of cleverly disguised robots, and he was the only real human among them. Having overcome that myste ...more
More about Derek Benz...

Other Books in the Series

Grey Griffins (3 books)
  • The Rise of the Black Wolf (Grey Griffins, #2)
  • The Fall of the Templar (Grey Griffins, #3)

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