The Invisible Tower, by Nils Johnson-Shelton, is an Arthurian tale for middle grade students. I love any and all versions of King Arthur and Camelot that I can get my hands on, so I picked up this one eagerly. In this modern version, the main character, Artie (alias King Arthur), gets strange messages through his video game. Many modern pre-teens have fantasized about their video games coming to life, I’m sure, so they will be drawn to this. As Artie uncovers clues with the help of his sister, Kay, they move into Otherworld and are confronted by Arthur’s world of dragons and knights and an invisible tower that imprisons Merlin. Artie and Kay, of course, must attempt to release him.
I love the concept of a video game sending clues that bring Artie and Kay to Otherworld. I love the Merlin story line. Unfortunately, I kept waiting for the story to grip me. It had so much potential, and it just didn’t deliver. I suppose the most telling thing is that two weeks after I read this I actually tried to download the ebook again–I’d already forgotten I’d read it. If you are a reader of fantasy, skip it. If you are a lover of King Arthur books, skip it. If you like complicated, well-written plots, skip it. If you are a preteen video gamer that wants a quick break from your most current game, give it a try.