Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom

The Guardian Chronicles

Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
264 Pages
Reviewed on 04/30/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom is a young adult fantasy adventure novel by Kam Karem. Fourteen-year-old Ranger Nader's life turns upside down after being given a powerful and magical ax called Nightmare by the Lady of the Forest. Plagued by visions of the ancient demi-god king Gilgamesh, Ranger learns from his grandfather Jid Joe that he belonged to a long line of Sun-Kissed people who were blessed to channel the power of Solar Sails. With his sister Milly, and his cousins, Art and Kara Hayek, Ranger travels to Bcharre, Lebanon, to attend the mysterious Solar Sails Academy. Soon he becomes a key member of the Grateful Guardian. He also meets an unlikely ally in Frederick Wasis, his great-uncle. Now, Ranger must train for a final confrontation with Gilgamesh and stop him once and for all.

An action-packed fantasy adventure saga at its finest, Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom is a blast to read from start to finish. Filled with magic, humor, and adventure, author Kam Karem's entertaining fantasy odyssey draws inspiration from ancient Sumerian mythology to create a mesmerizing tale that will appeal to kids and young adults in equal measure. The plot moves at a blistering pace, taking unexpected twists and turns to keep your eyes glued to the pages. The characters are colorful and full of life. Any scene involving Ranger, Art, Kara, and Milly is a joy to read, as the banter between the siblings and cousins keeps you entertained all the way through. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

Liz Konkel

Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom by Kam Karem is the first book in The Guardian Chronicles. Children inherit various attributes from their families and Ranger is no different. Only he inherited a new title and a purpose that involves stopping King Gilgamesh from destroying the world. From rescuing his crush at the pool to a Phoenician Galaxy Cruiser Ranger, Ranger embarks on an epic journey on a ship with his closest friends at his side as he discovers what he's truly capable of and learns what he's fighting for. Stepping into the world of Ranger Nader is an unforgettable foray into science fiction that's fun, epic, and original.

Kam Karem delves into an arc that creates a classic hero's journey - learning to control abilities, facing off with a villain, and learning valuable lessons such as respect having to be earned. The emotional aspect of his story adds a layer of longing to the tone and poignancy that grounds his character in a real place as a kid who just wants to be seen. Ranger has a certain excitement about fighting King Gilgamesh and journeying on this futuristic ship, which gives him the opportunity to step out of his family's shadow and into a spotlight of his own as the responsibility to fight this ancient king falls on his shoulders. The emotional journey pairs well with the science fiction setting and is a genuine way to ground the world. As with every epic adventure, Ranger has a crush that serves a significant purpose in the story as more than a love interest. The story has a fun nerdy quality to it that's delightful with references such as Starbuck of Battlestar Galactica. The story has several characters in his life with Jid Joe, Art, Kara, Jamal, and Milly, with each playing a part in Ranger's adventure and overall arc. Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom is an enjoyable adventure that is fast-paced, succeeds in its originality, is fun, and delves into what it means to be a hero.

Stacie Haas

When Ranger Nader and the Sunstruck Phantom by Kam Karen begins, Ranger Nader is an ordinary teenager with a crush on a local neighborhood girl. He hangs out with his cousins, who are his best friends, and his sister, Millie, who along with Ranger, manage along just fine even though their parents are always gone on special missions. Just before his fifteenth birthday, Ranger’s life inexorably changes when he has a seemingly other-worldly experience that involves a dangerous and menacing ax named Nightmare. He quickly learns that he possesses extraordinarily rare powers passed down from his royal Lebanese family, a trait he shares with his sister and cousins who had kept him in the dark. The foursome embarks on a journey to Solar Sails, an elite academy for kids with the same powers. While in Lebanon, Ranger is given a mission in an ancient cedar forest and learns of Gilga of Mesh, who destroyed the forest and brought forth the great flood. With his powers exceeding most of his classmates, Ranger becomes the newest in a line of Guardians, which haven’t been seen in decades. Is it possible that Ranger is the only one who can fix what went wrong several centuries before and save all his people?

Kam Karem has created a fascinating journey in Ranger Nader and the Sunstruck Phantom. Drawing on her family’s Lebanese roots and the stories of the people who served as “Keepers of the Cedars of God,” an ancient grove of trees that used to cover most of Lebanon as well as the Epic of Gilgamesh, who cut down the forest, she has woven an exciting tale that puts the character of Ranger right in the middle of an enduring battle between those who wish to protect the environment and those who wish to use it for their own purposes. I enjoyed this book very much and appreciated the world that Kam Karen built for Ranger and his family. It was exceedingly fun, and I must admit, my favorite parts were those that transported Ranger back in time to see through the eyes of Gilgamesh. With tons of action, like Ranger’s adventure with Nightmare, to his pod training to get bulls, to Ranger’s inevitable battle with Gilgamesh, the story never lags. The stakes are clear, the characters vivid, and the ending satisfying. Recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom: The Guardian Chronicles is the first book in a series by Kam Karem. The story follows Ranger, a simple guy who thought he was an average 9th grader, but he was in for a surprise. Ranger was incredibly powerful and that was why he attended a school that helped him hone his skills, keep control of his powers, and become the master of his abilities. But that wasn’t all. He was also given a magical ax that he must understand, and he needs to face Gilgamesh, a demigod set on destroying the world and the forest. It was now up to young Ranger to defeat Gilgamesh, protect the world, and live up to the title of Forest Keeper that he inherited from his family. The responsibility was almost too much, but if anyone could do it, Ranger could.

A modern setting for a fantasy novel like this is the perfect way to grab the attention of teenagers and pre-teens (and 27-year-old readers like me). Ranger was a smart choice for a protagonist. Kam Karem did a fantastic job of creating a world that was credible and enjoyable at the same time. I was a little skeptical when I started reading the story, but as it progressed I became intrigued and didn’t want to stop. Ranger’s development was smooth, gradual, and wasn’t rushed at all. He didn’t accept his future easily, he struggled with his powers, with his ax, and with the massive task placed on his shoulders. However, the author made him into a well-rounded character with personality quirks that many readers can relate to. With an excellent plot, Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom is the perfect start to a new series!