Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms | Jamar J. Perry


Out Now from Bloomsbury Publishing; 320

Content Warning: Death, trauma, violence

About the Author: “Author of the middle grade fantasy series, Cameron Battle, Jamar J. Perry attended Berea College in Berea, KY, majoring in psychology and English literature and Education. After graduation, Jamar became a middle school teacher in the Washington, D.C. area, hoping to instruct the next generation of scholars, thinkers, and writers. He is currently finishing up his PhD, focusing his research on Black boys, the history of traditional and Black masculinity in America, and racial literacy.” (Bio taken from author’s website)

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“I cannot allow my ancestors’ memories to be tarnished because I didn’t want to fight back, to prove myself. I have to fight back because they have fought for me.”

Jamar Perry’s debut novel Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms follows the story of Cameron Battle, who is growing up under the watchful eye of his grandmother, following the death of his parents two years prior. Though his mom and dad have been gone for two years, Cameron still feels a connection to them through his memories; the most vivid being his family heirloom: The Book of Chidani. The book tells the stories of the legendary kingdom Chidani, that separated and hid itself from the world to save the Igbo people. After his parents’ disappearance, Cameron’s grandmother stored the book in the attic because it held such painful memories for her. One rainy day in Atlanta, Cameron and his two best friends Zion and Aliyah read the book and get transported into Chidani. When he arrives, Cameron finds a realm in trouble; the corrupt Princess Amina is attempting to open a barrier between their worlds and make herself Queen. As a Descendant of the Book, magical heritage passed down through his mother, Cameron has the ability to pull down the passage between worlds. Equipped with newfound magic and fighting abilities , Cameron, Aliyah, and Zion go on an adventure among spirit demons, flying warriors and powerful Igbo gods in order to save Chidani and their home.

Jamar J. Perry’s Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms is a book full of authenticity and heartfelt emotions. Cameron is everything a middle-grade protagonist should be: he’s courageous, caring, and loyal. Cameron is impossible not to fall in love with as he searches to find his place in life and to understand his identity. Perry’s worldbuilding also deserves applause, Chidani dazzles on the page. The magical realm is full of not only West African mythology and Igbo legend, but family heritage and hidden secrets the Cameron spends the book uncovering. Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms is perfect for any reader interested in an action-packed adventure with magic, friendship and joy.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Editor and Writer Frances Drye