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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Mud Crab Kingdom is a young adult fantasy adventure by Dr. Joel Anthony Hamilton. All thirteen-year-old Marcious Leojé wants is to build his kingdom in the muddy mangroves alongside his best friend, Etel Duetman. Son of the fair-skinned King Leojé, Marcious inherited his mother's mud-skinned tone, making him a pariah amongst the nobility. After barely surviving a brutal assassination attempt that left his mother dead, Marcious and Etel flee to evade capture by King Leojé's men, finding sanctuary in the house of a warrior called Sal, who teaches them how to be men. However, tragedy strikes again, and Marcious sets off to create his kingdom where everyone is equal, quickly learning the discrimination that mud-skinned people face. But what will he do when he realizes he's different even among his friends?
A coming-of-age story about a young man's journey of self-discovery, Mud Crab Kingdom touches upon some increasingly relevant issues of our times. Dr. Joel Anthony Hamilton's engaging fantasy story makes a poignant point that discrimination in society can come through various factions in several ways and it is our responsibility to nip it in the bud and embrace diversity. The protagonist, Marcious, goes through a grueling character arc, losing his friends and family to become who he was always meant to be. It is easy to sympathize with his plight and root for him while he overcomes the hurdles life throws his way. Young adult readers will enjoy this one.