Friday, August 11, 2023

Today's read... Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug by Mark Leiknes

Today's read is all about adventure and ridiculous fun. This is the second book in the series, and I did read the first one (amazing, right?). The first one rolled along with tons of quirky humor and silliness, while adding adventure and sticky situations. So, I'm not expecting anything different in this one. Let's see how humorous it is!

by Mark Leiknes
Union Square Kids
Middle Grade Fantasy / Graphic Novel
368 pages
ages 8 to 12


It's been six months since the Quest Kids—Ned, Terra, Gil, Boulder, and Ash—saved a village from a furious dragon (no big deal) and turned their questing efforts toward finding Ned’s parents. But when the crew notices a serious sense of doom and gloom across the Seven Kingdoms, they set out in search of Doug, whose mysterious Dark Prophecy has the potential to send the world into even more dire darkness and dread.

With help from new and old friends, the Quest Kids sail through stormy seas, vacation on the newly rebranded Contentment Island, and venture into the Forsaken Lands to find Doug, whose wicked tunes and even wickeder plans are in full force. Can the Quest Kids get it together to counter Doug's plans and find Ned's parents—or must they watch as a triumphant Doug surfs on waves of fire and fulfills his terrible prophecy?



Quests and curses come together in the most unexpected ways in this silly adventure.

Ned and his friends are taking a rest after the last adventure, which had them up against a dragon. Of course, things can't stay quite. A gloomy prophecy from some guy named Doug has a dark shadow hanging over the kingdoms. If that wasn't enough to lure the group onto a new quest, Ned also has reason to believe that his parents might still be alive. Determined to get to the bottom of everything, the group sets off on a ship with a sailor, who may or may not know what he's doing. Either way, adventure is unavoidable, and it never comes as any of them might of predicted.

While this book takes off where the last one ended, it's still no problem to sink right in without having the entire background. In other words, this can be read as a stand alone.

After reading the first book in the series, I was ready to dive into a delightful mix of adventure and humor...and this book delivers. Ned and his friends have gained experience in their roles as questers, and hit these adventures with a little more experience. Not that it really helps, since the circumstances they run across are always unpredictable and, often, ridiculous. Nothing is as it first appears and requires very unique solutions. This mixes with more straight-forward humor to create a fun read the entire way through. The danger adds the right spark of tension to push the tale forward and has the reader wondering if the friends will survive.

The font is on the larger side and weaves with illustrations on every page. At times, this even swings into the graphic novel direction. The graphics bring across the friends and situations nicely and add to each scene. Despite both of these, the text isn't overly simple but does fit well to the intended age group. I'd even recommend this for the upper end of the middle grade range, not only due to this, but also because several puns or jokes seem to fit better to slightly older readers. 

It's a fun read with a very unexpected ending, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Ned and his gang are headed next.

And here he is...

Mark Leiknes lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and three kids. He produced a nationally syndicated comic strip (Cow & Boy) for eight years and now he writes and illustrates books for kids. Visit him online at

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