The Beast of Buckingham Palace - David Walliams
Walliam's latest offering is set 100 years in the future.... and really doesn't seem that unrealistic! England's political system seems to have disintegrated and the monarchy is corrupt. Young Prince Alfred has been kept inside for all of his short life, sheltered and sickly, until his mother is sent to the Tower of London and it's up to him to help save her and all of England! There's magic, monsters and manipulative bad guys, all with Walliams' signature sense of humour.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. I feel like this was a lot darker than Walliams' other novels. This certainly doesn't make it bad by any means, but I usually enjoy the way he mixes serious issues into his humorous plot lines in a way that they feel much lighter. I've read (and loved) many dark and serious kids' books before, but I feel like this didn't quite know what it wanted to be.
Age Suggestion: 9+ in general. Kids who live in the UK or have British family members might be able to connect to the setting and content a bit younger, but there's lots of references that benefit from that background knowledge.
Ability Range: 8+ for confident readers. It's a hefty book, but there are pictures and the writing itself isn't overly heavy.
Content Notes: Alfred has both a grandparent and parent die in front of him, there's some murder and stabbing, munchausen-by-proxy-type behaviour, and some ritualistic/cult magic. Walliams includes some political humour that is more likely to appeal to the adults reading, and there's also plenty of toilet humour - the best bit about a Walliams novel!
But don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself!