Release Date: March 1, 2011
Received: Finished copy from author
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle readily admits that he is a villain and sees no reason why it should stop him from being the protagonist of this book. After all, Prince Kellemar, an aspiring hero, has defeated him in a rather questionable way.
Bent on revenge, Arkus attempts to capture a powerful evil spirit who would make him nearly invincible, but a last-minute mistake leaves him with a sparkling instead--a goody-goody spirit that helps heroes, watches over little children, and messes up villains plans.
Bound to Lord Arkus for five years of service and sworn to act in his best interests, the sparkling is not easy to get rid of, and of course his understanding of best interests is quite different from what Lord Arkus has in mind.
What a surprising little book!
I am so happy I read blogs. It was the collection of glowing reviews from A YA Reader, Brush Up On Your Reading, J'Adore Happy Endings, and My Precious that spurred me to contact author Laura Lond and request a copy for review. I am SO glad I did, because this book is such a gem!
Do you like to laugh?
Well, get ready to laugh! Lord Arkus is a villain and he relishes it. His first-person narration totally makes this book and had me snickering throughout the entire 164 pages--starting with the very first page. His snarky commentary and the way he revels in his villainy are hilarious.
If you like the tongue-in-cheek style of writing found in Patricia C. Wrede's (excellent) Enchanted Forest Chronicles or Vivian Vande Velde's novels and short stories, then I think you'll absolutely love My Sparkling Misfortune.
A story with heart
Lord Arkus and the laughs he inspired were enough to make me love this book, but there is so much more! The messages in My Sparkling Misfortune are pretty clear, but not so much that I ever groaned about them. Instead, I loved that they were there because they completely warmed my heart. This is such a feel-good story about friendship, self-worth, stereotypes, and how a person should be judged on their actions not their labels.
These touching messages, the way the characters delivered them, and the characters themselves made me grow so attached to this world. I didn't want the story to end and I hope Laura Lond writes more about Lord Arkus and his sparkling misfortune.
This is how you do it!
For only 164 pages, there's a surprising amount of plot. I loved how Laura Lond introduced bits of information throughout the book that slowly came together to form a bigger picture. I thought it was clever, but I think MG kids (the intended audience) will really get a kick out of piecing the puzzle together.
Not only that, but the elements that make up the book are a combination of wonderfully fractured fantasy themes and characters (again, think The Enchanted Forest Chronicles) combined with impressively original ideas. The whole concept of sparklings and gormaks was so unique. I'm still in delighted shock at how much depth Laura Lond was able to add to her world/creature-building with so few pages. Fantastic!
I hope there's more! The ending is left pretty open, though the main events are all wrapped up nicely. I want more resolution on one plot point in particular, but the biggest reason I'm chomping at the bit for more is because I'm so in love with Laura Lond's characters and world. As soon as a sequel comes out (please!) I'm snatching that sucker up!
Edit: In case you missed it, Lord Arkus himself has posted in the comments to inform us all that a sequel is in the works! My Royal Pain Quest will be out in October of 2011!
Extra bonus: The illustrations by Alla Alekseyeva are fantastic! Plus, it's super cheap right now on Amazon for the Kindle edition! (I'm not an Amazon Affiliate, so I won't profit if you do buy it. I'm just a shameless book pusher.)
Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key
Do you have any questions about My Sparkling Misfortune that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!
Feel free to ask in the comments!
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