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The Secrets Of Droon is a children's fantasy series written by Tony Abbot and illustrated by David Merrell. With almost 40 books (none much longer than a hundred pages), the series is intended to get children to continue reading after one book.
The plot centers around three children, Eric Hinkle, Julie Rubin, and Neal Kroger, who find themselves in the world known as Droon after finding a magical staircase in Eric's basement closet. For the first ten or so books the plot is relatively straightforward, chronicling the adventures the children have with their new companions Princess Keeah and the wizard Galen to stop the Evil Overlord from taking over Droon. Pretty soon, though, things start to expand and many genuinely surprising twists and turns come about. The plot gradually encompasses a massive amount of characters, several different worlds (including the Upper World, the "real" world where we live), and some long-needed subplots.
While the books themselves are rather predictable kids books, and fall victim to many cliches, the series is quite enjoyable. It may not be complex, but it's fun, interesting, and can entertain just about anyone who reads it, regardless of age.
The Secrets Of Droon provides examples of:
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The red Ninns.
- Ambiguously Human: Sparr. He's never really referred to in a way that would reveal his species. He has a human body shape, except for, well, the fins behind his ears. He's obviously not a Ninn, either.
- Artifact of Doom: Three of them. (The Three Powers.)
- Badass Longcoat: According to the artwork, Lord Sparr alternates between sporting this and a Black Cloak.
- Baleful Polymorph: The Eye Of Dawn turns Lord Sparr into a scaled-up monster, and Keeah (accidentally) turns Neal into a bug.
- Big Damn Heroes: So, our three main characters are about to be eaten by giant serpents, they've found out that there is, in fact, no way out, and suddenly... Young Galen shows up and zaps the kids out of trouble.
- Brainwashed: The nobles of Droon get brainwashed by the Golden Wasp.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Lord Sparr starts out as this. He undergoes a bit of character development and shakes it off, though. Well, for the most part.
- Cool Plane: Sparr has one.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: The below mentioned Gilligan Cut leads into a pretty funny scene.
- Cryptic Conversation: The oracle Portentia attempts to have one with the heroes, but fails miserably when she can't come up with rhymes fast enough.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Knights Of Silversnow contains several parallels to slavery and imperialism with the history of the Orkins.
- Damsel in Distress: Eric imagines Keeah as this in his dream in Dream Thief.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Neal laments the Droonians' use of the word "doom" at one point.
- Down the Rabbit Hole: Or rather, Down The Luminescent Staircase In A Closet.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: All three of the kids dream about upcoming adventures in Droon before they happen.
- Dumb Muscle: Slag.
- Eccentric Mentor: Galen.
- Enemy Mine: Sparr and the heroes in book 23.
- The Everyman: The three main characters are pretty much supposed to be anyone within the target audience (children).
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Oh, Keeah.
- Evil Laugh: Pretty much every villain in the series has done this - all written out, of course.
- Evil Overlord: Lord Sparr. The guy should get an award for encompassing just about all the cliches associated with this character.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: They call it "the evil fortress of Lord Sparr" in-universe.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Keeah.
- Fangirls: The 'Giggle Twins' become instant fangirls of Neal. They want to touch his hair. A lot. Neal even lampshades it:
Neal: Now I know what it feels like to be a pop star. And I don't like it!
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Is there any creature that isn't in Droon?
- Fire-Forged Friends: Sparr, the kids, and Keeah for several books.
- Five-Man Band:
- The Hero: Eric.
- The Lancer: Neal.
- The Smart Guy: Julie.
- The Big Guy: Usually filled in by whoever happens to be accompanying the Band-- Galen, Sparr, etc.
- The Chick: Keeah, although she subverts it by displaying a lot of traits not associated with The Chick, and slips into the role of The Lancer often.
- Floating Continent: The floating city of Ro.
- Forbidden Zone: The Forbidden City Of Plud.
- Funny Animal: Among others, the Oobja and Mooples. The Lumpies would count, except that most people don't count pillows as animals.
- Gilligan Cut: When Neal and Keeah want Eric to dress up as a girl to sneak into Maliban's court...
Neal pulled a blue gown off a rack and draped it over Eric's shoulder.
Neal: This one even matches your eyes. How about it...Erica?
Eric stomped his foot and began to shout.
Eric: I won't, I won't, I won't-
[End of chapter, next chapter...]
Eric: Are you sure this dress matches my eyes?
- Girl Next Door: Julie to both Eric and Neal.
- Good Parents: Relna and Zello, Keeah's parents.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Justified, since, as a book for kids, Abbott pretty much had to do this. "Holy crow!" and "Oh, my gosh!" are the most common offenders.
- Grand Finale: Special #8 concludes the series.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Galen VS Ving, Keeah VS Sparr, Demither VS Sparr... pretty much any time two characters fight in the series.
- Hand Wave: In The Knights Of Silversnow, it's established at the beginning that the marmots infesting Droon are the main problem. They are promptly forgotten about until the last three pages, when it's revealed that the Orkins are known for making cheese.
- Heel Face Turn: Sparr after becoming a child.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Prince Maliban is Lord Sparr. However, Gryndal is not.
- The Ingenue: Keeah, at first.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: A dragon suddenly comes in for no reason at all in The Sleeping Giant Of Goll, despite there being absolutely no mention of dragons before this.
- Invisibility Cloak: Galen gives one to the kids in the first book.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Oddly enough, Galen.
- Large Ham: Every single major character in the entire story. And 90% of the non-main characters as well.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Each book introduces a minimum of five new characters. With almost 40 books...
- Magical Girl Warrior: Keeah.
- Magical Land: Droon, of course.
- Magic Music: The harp Friddle made for Relna.
- Merchant City: Tortu in The Mask Of Maliban.
- Missing Mom: Keeah's mother, Queen Relna.
- Mobile Maze: Sparr traps Keeah in one in Into The Land Of The Lost.
- Mooks: The Ninns.
- Mundane Fantastic
- Nice Hat: Galen wears the stereotypical pointy wizard hat.
- Overly Long Gag: "It's a
boatship!" In Voyage Of The Jaffa Wind.
- Petting Zoo People: Max.
- Plot Coupon: So many. In the first book alone there's the soccer ball and the Three Powers, and later we have Julie's bracelet, Eric's father, the individual powers...
- The Pollyanna: Relna.
- Power-Up Food / G-Rated Drug: The Tangfruit, which allows Eric to both communicate with the Mooples and hear what the hawk bandits are saying.
- Purity Personified: Again, Relna.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Keeah does indeed wear a crown, and her mother has a Pimped-Out Dress.
- Reverse Mole: Sparr in In The Shadow Of Goll.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Both King Zello and his daughter are warriors, and work for the good of Droon.
- Sealed Good in a Can: The titular Knights Of Silversnow in book 17.
- Skilled but Naive: Eric with his powers.
- Sssssnaketalk: Lord Sparr talks like this when he's Prince Maliban.
- Standard Fantasy Setting
- Talking Animal: What animal in this series doesn't talk?
- Talking in Your Dreams: Dream Thief. Dreams are also Keeah's way of bringing the kids back to Droon in the earlier books.
- Third Person Person: Hob talks like this.
- Thirsty Desert: Panjibarrh.
- Up the Real Rabbit Hole: For the first book, the kids refer to their world as "the real world", although they don't show too much interest in going back.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Sparr.
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Oh, where to begin! It's a series about three kids who find a magical rainbow glowing staircase in a closet with the lights turned off, and in the first book alone meet a spider with a human head, a tunic-clad princess, a wizard whose magic consists of shooting sparks out of his fingertips, and an Evil Overlord with fins growing behind his ears. And those are just the main characters. Don't even get me started on the other creatures/events.
- Winged Humanoid: The Hawk Bandits Of Tarkoom.
- The Woobie: Max sometimes fills this role.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ye gods, Sparr. As if living his life in captivity with Ko, then losing his mother wasn't enough, then his brother has to go and become his Arch Nemesis. Even with the whole Take Over the World thing, you'd have to have very little heart not to feel sorry for the guy.
- World of Ham: Oh, yes.
- Zany Scheme: Meatballs?! Really?! (It Makes Sense in Context.)