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Book Review: The Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom by Kam Karem

The Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom by Kam Karem

Ranger’s life as a typical 9th grader is upended when he discovers his extraordinary destiny: he is the newly appointed Guardian of the Forest and a demigod in training.

This revelation comes with the inheritance of a magical axe, a relic steeped in history and power. The very same axe was once wielded by the legendary demigod Gilgamesh—yes, the hero from the ancient epic—who used it to devastate Lebanon’s sacred Cedar Forest, inadvertently triggering a catastrophic Great Flood.

As Ranger grapples with his newfound identity, he, along with his sister Milly and cousins Art and Kara, are thrust into an unexpected adventure. They find themselves in a clandestine spaceship school, learning to navigate the cosmos as part of the Phoenician Merchant Marine. But their training is cut short when Gilgamesh resurfaces.

The malevolent king, bent on finishing his destructive legacy, seeks to reclaim the axe and complete his diabolical mission: to fell every tree and flood the world anew. Ranger, with the support of Milly, Art, Kara, and the formidable power of the axe, must confront this looming threat.

In a race against time and destiny, Ranger’s journey is more than a fight to save the world—it’s a quest to protect the legacy of the forests and the balance of nature itself. Can Ranger and his allies thwart the king’s sinister plans, or will the world be submerged under a new Great Flood? The fate of the earth hangs in the balance in this epic tale of power, legacy, and courage.

Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom has been honored with many awards, including a Gold Medal in the Global Book Awards and won its category at the International Book Awards.

The Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom Review

I was compensated with a small amount for my time and effort in reading the book and writing this review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are based on my honest personal experience reading the book. Nor did the publisher in any way shape or form ever pressure me to give a positive review.

Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom follows Ranger, a seemingly typical ninth grader who learns that he is a demigod-in training and the Guardian of the Forest, an incredible destiny. After Ranger, his sister, and his cousins receive a magical axe that was previously used by the great Gilgamesh, they are sent to a secret spaceship school where they learn how to travel beyond space.

This book truly embodies a sentiment I’ve had for a long time: just because something is intended for children, it shouldn’t excuse it from being of high quality. Works aimed at younger audiences have the potential to be exceptional, resonating not only with children but also with adult consumers. This principle is evident in the enduring appeal of Disney and Pixar works, which have garnered acclaim from audiences of all ages. Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom continues this tradition. Despite being geared towards a younger audience, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in its narrative. The story exhibits remarkable depth, with rich world-building and nuanced character dynamics that are executed with precision. While it’s clear that the book caters to a younger demographic, its quality is undeniable, making it a captivating read for readers of all ages.

In fact, Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom incorporates a lot of well-known cliches that appeal to young readers for a long time. The story follows a well-known path, from the main protagonist realizing they have “special” skills to enrolling in a famous institution where they must refine them. However, it is precisely these features that captivate readers, building suspense as the protagonist makes their way through their singular journey. If I were younger, I could totally see myself absolutely loving this book based on this trope alone.

Even while some people might think these clichés are overdone, I find myself drawn to them and excited to see how they are used in the narrative. Ultimately, a story’s quality is determined by how well its clichés are woven into the narrative, and not to be immediately dismissed just because it’s not a completely original trope. When written by a skilled writer, well-known tropes can be brought back to life, giving readers a new viewpoint and an engaging narrative experience.

I recognize that the book’s story patterns perfectly suit my tastes and I really appreciate the quality of the novel, but I can’t help but believe that if I had read it when I was younger, I could have appreciated it even more. Don’t misunderstand, I had a great time reading it. But there’s a nagging feeling that I could have enjoyed it more if I had read it as a younger self. The best way I can describe my feelings on the matter is it’s like when you can physically taste how good the food is, but you can’t bring yourself to enjoy it because you are just not as hungry as you were before. That’s the sentiment I find myself having with this book. It’s not a lack of enjoyment, but rather a wistful acknowledgment that perhaps my appreciation would have been even greater had I encountered it during my formative years. Nevertheless, the experience was undeniably delightful, and it serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of well-crafted storytelling, regardless of age.

One of my favourite parts of the book was the incorporation of Gilgamesh as a villain in Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom, which took influence from the Epic of Gilgamesh. My only exposure to Gilgamesh was through the popular anime series Fate, in which he also had a villainous role. The coincidence did not go unnoticed to me and did make me chuckle occasionally from the coincidences when reading. These kinds of instances highlight the connections between storytelling in other media, which improves my appreciation of the book as well as my overall understanding of culture.

Ultimately, if the idea of Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom appeals to you, I strongly advise you to read it regardless of your age. Even if you’re not the main target readership for the book, the storytelling in it is simply excellent. The depth of the characters, the rich narrative, and the captivating plot will fascinate you even if you’re an adult reader reading a book meant for a younger audience.

Essentially, reading this book is an invitation to go on an adventure that has no age limits rather than merely a suggestion. Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom offers a satisfying reading experience that will leave you fully entertained and fulfilled, regardless of whether you’re looking for a sentimental trip back to your younger years or just a well-crafted novel to immerse yourself in.

If you liked this review and want to see other book reviews like this one, check out my book reviews collection!

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About the Author of The Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom

My mother’s family, the Karems, immigrated to the United States from Becharre (Bshari), Lebanon in the early 1900s. In Becharre, they, and the town’s other inhabitants served as “Keepers of the Cedars of God” for generations. This famous grove was part of the tremendous forests that used to cover most of Lebanon. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh seeks fame and glory by cutting down Lebanon’s cedar forest. I thought this ancient tension between protectors of the environment and developers made the perfect foil for Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom, and I hope you will too. I’m proud to say, The Guardian Chronicles, book two is also out. In Ranger Nader & The Unsolvable Riddle, Ranger “borrows” the legendary six-bull ship and tries to fly it solo to solve a mystery, a riddle, and a crime. It’s a fun filled syfy-fantasy adventure where Ranger makes some bad choices and learns to be a team player.

When I’m not writing, i represent people as they navigate the tricky pathways of our legal system. I have a Masters in Litigation from Emory University, a JD from the University of Louisville, and a BA in Political Science and International Studies from Bellarmine University. My law practice is located in Olde Town Conyers, Georgia and we are strong supporters of our local community. For the last two years, I’ve been co-Chair of which my law firm sponsors. For those who are interested, I have two cats, three children, and one husband. In my spare time I run, hike, and read, read, read.

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