The Bravest Warrior in Nefaria
Published September 5, 2023
About The Bravest Warrior in Nefaria
Phineas and Ferb meets the Despicable Me series in this hilarious and heartwarming middle grade debut from acclaimed author Adi Alsaid about a wannabe hero who lives in a goofily evil kingdom where nefarious schemes abound.
Welcome to Nefaria, where nearly every day the kingdom faces another evil scheme.
Most are harmless, though, so the citizens of Nefaria simply learn to live with the latest hijinks and go on with their lives. This includes Bobert Bougainvillea, who is much more concerned with the fact that he seems to be invisible. From the teachers in his school to his classmates, almost no one notices Bobert, no matter how visible he tries to be. Then everything changes when Bobert follows his classmates to a cursed gumball machine.
Before he knows it, Bobert is sucked into one of Nefaria’s most villainous evil schemes, a plot that has been a long time in the making—too long, in the evil wizard Matt’s opinion. And retreating into invisibility this time won’t do, not when Bobert is the only one with the drive, knowledge, and—if his newfound courage doesn’t fail him—bravery to foil Matt’s plan.
I’ve read a couple of young adult books by Adi Alsaid, and when I heard about his middle grade debut, I could totally see how his writing style would suit middle grade as well as young adult. He has this incredible sense of when to shift point-of-view and how to piece scenes together to show all the important moments in a story.
THE BRAVEST WARRIOR IN NEFARIA is packed with silliness. Think A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS in a fantasy landscape. The characters’ names are silly, from the main character, Bobert, to the kids he hopes to call his friends, Candelabra, Stanbert, and Jennizabeth. They live in a kingdom in which evil schemes are as common as Mondays and sometimes annoying but harmless.
Before the story truly gets underway, Bobert already has a problem in which he is invisible to the people around him. He mostly winds up following other kids around and staying near them, but not really interacting with them, until one day, he plows right into the back of a group of kids walking toward town. I loved the way the story resolves this particular problem of Bobert’s and the way what he experiences changes how he feels about his invisibility.
On the whole, the absolute refusal to take itself too seriously and the never-ending antics make this book lots of fun. It’s got subtle messaging wrapped in humor, a fabulous combination. I hope Adi Alsaid writes more middle grade– though I thoroughly enjoy his young adult novels, too!
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Bobert is described as having an olive skin tone.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some characters have the ability to perform magic. Spellbooks teach how to perform or undo spells.
Situations of peril. References to evil schemes that have caused harm. Kidnapping children. Controlling others (using magic) against their will.
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