The Bravest Warrior in Nefaria

The Bravest Warrior in Nefaria
Age Range
Release Date
September 05, 2023
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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.

Editor review

1 review
A strange way to make friends
(Updated: September 07, 2023)
Overall rating
Writing Style
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What worked:
Bobert is a virtuous, kind young boy even though other characters treat him like he’s invisible. He doesn’t get angry with anyone and never acts out. He doesn’t push himself into other people’s business although he hopes to be invited into their conversations. Even when the children in Matt the Evil Wizard’s army are told to grab sleeping bags, Bobert thinks it’s fair to go last since the others have been there longer. He feels guilty if he causes discomfort to anyone else. Bobert’s primary motivation throughout the book is to be noticed by others, and hopefully become friends, but he never sacrifices his principles.
The author uses a weird conflict to provide humor to the plot. Matt the Evil Wizard is tired of not being respected and admired so he has an outlandish plan to take over Nefaria. He’ll create an army of kids because adult knights will never fight young children. It will be so easy! He casts spells on a gumball machine in the town to capture the kids and make others forget about them. He can’t have anyone looking for them while he waits months and years to seize enough to make his army. He’s accompanied by a sassy parrot and mangy cat but he finds that he may need more help to make his plan work.
The story uses alternating narratives that follow Bobert, Matt, and Candelabra, a popular girl from school. Candelabra’s storyline is curious because she is the only person who senses something is wrong. She blames herself for her sister’s demise from last year and that makes her sensitive to the possibility of evil schemes. Readers will need to wait to find out about that traumatic event. Candelabra doesn’t exactly remember Bobert but she finds evidence that he must have existed. Because of last year’s mistake, she’s unwilling to give up her search for him even when everybody else has serious doubts that anyone named Bobert ever lived in Nefaria. It's quite admirable for a character to be so determined to rescue a “stranger” that might not even exist.
What didn’t work as well:
The narrative may be zanier than some readers might like. Matt casts unusual spells like the gumball trap but his magic can’t keep armored children in his army from falling over and not being able to get up. The silliness of his scheme results in a conflict that never develops any tension or suspense. I wish the author had done more to add interest in the conflict as the story went on.
The final verdict:
Young readers will probably enjoy the daffy parts of the story and the focus on loneliness and friendship will resonate too. The conflict doesn’t feel overly serious so it doesn’t touch readers’ emotions as much as it might. However, it’s still a fun story and I recommend you give it a shot.
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