Book Title: Ring of Solomon
Author: Aden Polydoros
Release Date: February 21, 2023
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Jewish Mythology, LGBTQ+
My rating: 4/5 Stars
This exciting and adventurous start to a middle-grade trilogy follows a queer boy and his family as they try to halt the chaotic effects of a mysterious ring, drawing upon Jewish mythology to navigate magic, mayhem and the search for pride in one’s identity.
The little beachside town of San Pancras is not known for anything exciting, but when Zach Darlington buys a mysterious ring at the local flea market, his quiet little hometown is turned topsy-turvy by monsters straight from Jewish folklore and a nefarious secret society focused on upholding an apocalyptic prophecy.
Zach discovers that the ring grants him strange powers, and he’s intrigued; maybe he can use the ring’s strengths to halt the slew of anti-Semitic and homophobic bullying he’s experiencing at school. But soon the ring brings unexpected visitors—Ashmedai, King of Demons, in the guise of a preteen boy named Ash, and the local chapter of the Knights of the Apocalypse, a secret society intent on completing a creepy prophecy that will bring three monsters to Earth to start the events of the end of times.
Now responsible for the ring and its consequences, will Zach and his friends, with the help of Ash, be able to stop the Apocalypse and save the world?
Ring of Solomon was a fun, quick, and action-packed middle grade novel that I flew through in a matter of hours. This story, which is based off Jewish mythology, follows a young queer boy, his best friend, and their newfound ally, who is key to saving the world.
I really enjoyed the Jewish mythology aspect to this story. I’ve only read one other book that features Jewish folklore this way, and it was also a middle grade. I love that younger kids are getting all kinds of representation these days. It’s so important and so desperately needed. Reading about Zach’s adventure was so much fun, and I learned a lot that I didn’t know about the mythology before, which was really cool.
The book features an adventure plot that almost feels like it could be a quest story. For those who enjoy the books in the Rick Riordan presents series, this one will be a hit, especially if you’re looking for something a little shorter. When Zach and his sister accidentally stumble across a magical ring, he has no idea what he’s in for, but he rises to the challenge with agility and determination.
Even though the book is short, the characters all stand out, and their relationships are developed well. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Zach, Sandra, and Ash, the prickly and a little confused demon king. Ash was my favorite, and he had me chuckling a few times at his bewilderment surrounding the human world, but also his awe and curiosity. He might have been thousands of years old, but he fit right in with Zach and Sandra.
Ring of Solomon also includes discussions of identity and bullying. Zach is a queer kid with a crush on another boy in his class but is struggling to articulate his feelings. Additionally, he’s being bullied by other students, which is making it more difficult to find the courage to express how he feels. Zach grows as a character and in his identity throughout the story, and it was something I particularly enjoyed seeing, especially in a middle grade book where topics like these are so important.
My only critique is that I wish it had been just a little bit longer, so we could’ve gotten even more lore and action, but if you’re looking for a quick and fast-paced read, then this book will be perfect for you.
Overall, I enjoyed Ring of Solomon and I’m glad I read it!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Check out my last post: My Dear Henry (Audio ARC Review)