Ring of Solomon
Author: Aden Polydoros
Published February 21, 2023 by Inkyard Press
Summary: 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?
“Jam-packed with action and humor, Ring of Solomon is a rip-roaring good read. Buoyed by the fast pace and excitement of this Jewish mythology-inspired adventure, I plowed right through until there was no more left. I already miss Zach and the endearing cast of characters. Please, I need more!” —Graci Kim, author of The Last Fallen Star
“This exploration of a boy’s self is full of fun, humor, and Jewish mythology that I never knew could be so cool.” —Rex Ogle, author of Free Lunch and The Supernatural Society
“A fun, wildly imaginative, and wholly original tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat and grinning until the last page!” – Greg Howard, author of The Whispers and The Visitors
About the Author: Aden Polydoros grew up in Illinois and Arizona, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Northern Arizona University. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys going to antique fairs and flea markets. He can be found on Twitter at @AdenPolydoros.
Review: Zach’s discovery of the Ring of Solomon turns his boring town into one of life-or-death situations as the King of Demons is summoned by the ring. But his appearance is just the beginning of what seems to Zach as an end of the world apocalypse! The book is filled with action, almost from day one, quiet moments where you get to know the characters, flashbacks to get background on the mythology, and humor which makes the book so much fun to read.
Fans of Percy Jackson and other mythology-focused action/adventure books are going to want to grab this one!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like Rick Riordan’s books, Ring of Solomon could definitely be used to introduce Jewish mythology. It also will be a great addition to any school, classroom, or public library for independent reading.
- Why do you think Zach was chosen? Do you think it was purposeful or on accident?
- How does Zach surprise Ash?
- Were you surprised at the identity of Jeffrey’s father?
- Why would anyone want the apocalypse?
- What is the best way to deal with bullies like Jeffrey?
- What animal would you talk to if you had the power to talk to animals?
“I’m guessing there isn’t a genie in there?” I asked the ring, shaking it gently. “Someone who can teach Jeffrey and his friends a real lesson? If there is, it’d be really nice if you could show up.
The ring grew hot against my skin, warming my palm like the time I sat too close to the campfire. I held my breath. Slowly, the heat faded.
I waited a minute. Then another.
Sighing in defeat, I collapsed onto my back and closed my eyes. Maybe I could convince a pack of coyotes to chase Jeffrey or bribe some seagulls to pelt him with poop. That would show him.
“You called for me?” a smooth voice said.
My eyes flew open. I lurched into a sitting position with a cry, searching the darkened room. Overhead, the models swung in slow lazy circles, casting their shadows across the walls. Movement shifted in the corner of my vision. I swiveled around.
A figure sat atop the windowsill, backlist by the red streetlight. His form was immersed in darkness. As he jumped onto the bedroom floor, I caught a glimpse of spread wings, feathers as black ad glossy as spilled ink.
“Wh-what…” My lips trembled so hard I couldn’t even get the words out. I thought I might scream the way people did in horror movies, but it was like my voice had thickened to maple syrup in my throat. “Are you the guardian of the ring?”
Slowly, he eased to his full height. His wings ruffled and furled against his body, so long they nearly dragged across the floor. He wore a black tunic trimmed with gold thread around the hem and clasped with a jeweled metal sash.
A boy. It was a boy who didn’t look much older than me, his hair framing his face in a dark tangle. His gold eyes glowed in the moonlight. He wore a crown whose sharp tines curled like flames, and upon his wrist, a wide golden bracelet studded with garnets.
He wouldn’t been pretty, if he weren’t so terrifying.
As he stepped forward, the robe parted around his angles, exposing the taloned feet of a bird of prey. Oh gracp, was this my punishment for lying to the seagulls that I’d give them chips? Being cursed by some bird prince?
“Wh-what are you?” I whispered.
“Ashmedai.” He smiled, revealing teeth far sharper than those of any human. “King of demons.” (pg. 29-31)
Read This If You Love: Mythology, Rick Riordan books & Rick Riordan Presents books, Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano
**Thank you to Nicole Banholzer PR for providing a copy for review!**