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Battle of the Books

Winner of the 2011 Undead Poll

As the voting opened, A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS raced to a huge lead, commanding nearly half of the votes.  As the days went by, however, that lead was whittled down to 18%, still good enough to win, but never in doubt.  A TALE DARK AND GRIMM, THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK, and WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON all pulled in just over 10% of the vote.  So there’s your final three: KEEPER vs. THE RING OF SOLOMON vs. A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS.  Place your bets!

— Commentator Jonathan Hunt

Roxanne Feldman About Roxanne Feldman

Roxanne Hsu Feldman is the Middle School (4th to 8th grade) Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City. She served on the 2002 and 2013 Newbery Committees. Roxanne was also a member of 2008-2009 Notable Books for Children, 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and the 2017 Odyssey Award Committees. In 2016 Roxanne was one of the three judges for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. You can reach her at at


  1. I hope this one is the winner even though our finalists are fine books as well. I originally predicted that this one would be battling One Crazy Summer (and that there would only be two books because one of the two would win the Undead poll). We shall see. Based on my past results, I recommend that others bet the mortgage on Ring of Solomon, which I think should lose to Keeper.

  2. YAY!!!! I must say I was a little worried it wouldn’t win. I don’t know why. We fans are nothing if not seriously devoted.

  3. What a marvelous line-up! I am a die-hard fan of Megan Whalen Turner, whose writing is astonishingly good, but I must say The Ring of Solomon might just give Conspiracy of Kings a run for its money, if anything can. I feel like Keeper is a bit of a dark horse here; I’ve read a lot of mixed reactions to it. I do trust the Big Kahuna is wise enough not to hold the series question against Conspiracy. (I think that’s a minor issue, all things considered.) If I were judging, I’d pick Conspiracy of Kings, but I can see Bartimaeus’s brand of snark appealing perfectly to Richard Peck’s own brilliantly snarky sense of humor. Also, Peck’s inclination toward realistic fiction and poetic language might give Keeper the power to topple the other two…

    Nope. Can’t call it!

  4. Sam Bloom says

    Nice! I still haven’t read Ring… I may try to do so this weekend. I love Keeper, but I’m still hoping against hope that Conspiracy can pull off the upset!

  5. Yay! YAY!

    *shambles about in delight*

  6. Before the day is over I’m going to use shambles as a verb. One of the many reasons to adore mwt.

    I hardly know which book to champion. At some point, however, when a historical write-up of all that is great in children’s literature is compiled. I want it unilaterally proclaimed that Eugenides is the most marvelous character ever created. It would be fitting for him to steal the crown. (Although, this particular book is someone else’s story.)

  7. Go, ZombieGen!


    Like they said on Sounis, any time it looks like Gen has lost, he is secretly plotting his victory! Though, yes, this book is more about Sophos, he has definitely learned from Eugenides, and the growth in his character is so magnificently shown. And he DOES have Gen behind him, helping plot his victory.

    From the start, I was worried that Richard Peck wouldn’t be enough of a fantasy fan to pick CONSPIRACY OF KINGS. However, now it turns out that all three books in the Big Kahuna Round are fantasy books, so that will be less of an issue.

    If Richard Peck has read the other MWT books, I think CONSPIRACY OF KINGS is a shoo-in. If not, I still think it has a great chance. Both ACOK and RING are incredibly well-plotted fantasy. But ACOK has richer characterization and character growth. Both make points about the use of power — almost opposite points, but both thought-provoking. Where ACOK might lose it is if it loses the reader because he hasn’t read the earlier books.

    KEEPER is a much more gentle, slower-moving fantasy, rooted in real life, about love and belonging and good things like that. It could win if that is what the judge prefers or strikes him most in the reading.

    Whichever way it goes, I’m really looking forward to reading Richard Peck’s commentary.

  8. Go, Zombie Sophos! When I think about it, with all his scars, he’ll make an even more frightening zombie than Gen.

    I also realized that this is the first year that I’ve been a very big fan of ALL the books in the final round. Team Fantasy has done well this year!

    Of course, it’s also the first year that my favorite has made it to the Final Round. So though I might understand if it is defeated, I will still be sad about it.

  9. Yay ZombieGen!

  10. I am so excited!!!!! This will be an awesome ending! This has been a contest of some truly fantastic writing and really, any of these books is worth it’s weight in gold!

    That said, I’m going to have to go for Ring of Solomon, even though I haven’t finished it.

    I have been a strong advocate for Conspiracy of Kings since I read the series last year. I would NOT have read it if Kings wasn’t on the Heavy Medal blog!! So glad I did! I, of course, read all four in a row. I only gave CofK 4 of 5 stars because the voice was so far removed as compared to the other books. It was like reading through the eyes of someone who had to keep himself separate, either to spare himself the pain or spare us, I’m not sure still. I’ve re-read it twice since then and still love it, but I think I’ve come to agree that it’s a better story having read the previous books.

    I LOVE Keeper and she took Honors in our Mock Newbery, behind The Cardturner, which she ousted here, but I think it will have a hard time against two books for more mature readers.

  11. Sanity is regained! About carking time.

  12. Hooray! I will now reread CoK in celebration.

  13. I agree with Sondy that Conspiracy of Kings would have had a challenge in the Big Kahuna Round against contemporary or historical fiction, but MWT’s humor, action and characterization could win the day.

  14. Oh thank goodness! Welcome back Sophos and Gen, welcome back.

  15. Yes! Gen is the amazing!!! Really, there are no words to describe him. Sophos is awesome too.

  16. Agreeing with Irene, that Gen and Sophos are indescribable, but steaming with rage at the same time. “Why not Countdown?” I sob furiously at the very thought of Countdown not making even 18% of the vote! Outrageous, Insanity, and Absurdity I tell you people!


  1. […] huzzah! A Conspiracy of Kings has won the Undead Poll! So even though it lost in the first round of School Library Journal’s Battle of the […]

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