Page Count: 164 (Paperback)
Published: 2010 by Dream Books LLC
(Buy this book on Amazon)
Recommended For: fantasy fans, anyone who likes a good twisted fairy tale
*Review copy provided by author in exchange for honest review
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
My Sparkling Misfortune is a relatively short read, to the misfortune of all who read it. (Yes, I really did just make a pun that terrible.) That said, the author manages to pack in an epic's worth of action, adventure, and humor between this book's thin covers. This book is aimed towards middle grade readers, but will be just as fun and enjoyable for fans of YA and fantasy in general. The play on traditional fantasy stereotypes made me laugh out loud again and again while I was reading.
The first few pages of the story are a bit difficult to get into, but I immediately loved Lord Arkus-- our villain protagonist. He comes across as a typical fantasy villain (lives in a castle with a band of his faithful hench-villains and is bent on taking down the royalty of the land), but soon proves to be a twist on the norm to say the least. His dilemma with a certain scaly monster-- which reminded me of Captain Hook's notorious ticking crocodile-- leads him to seek out a malicious spirit to get revenge on the prince who tarnished his evil reputation. Arkus fumbles and instead ends up capturing a sparkling-- an irrevocably benevolent spirit who assists heroes in their good-doings. The Sparkling's name is fitting for his occupation... Tulip. :) Arkus immediately renames his newly-bound spirit Jarvi and the two set out to reclaim Arkus's good (bad?) name as a villain, but things take a surprising turn when Arkus inadvertently rescues the princess of a neighboring land and is catapulted into her father the King's good fortunes. Misplaced hero-worship and the accidental teaching of fantasy-world morals ensues.
Overall, I really enjoyed My Sparkling Misfortune. It is one of those rare, great stories when you find yourself rooting wholeheartedly for the villain of the piece... and end up wondering how much of a villain he really is, in Arkus's case. The story ends abruptly, promising an equally funny and hopefully more revealing sequel. (Many questions about Arkus's past and the fate of the characters are left unanswered.) I'll definitely be looking forward to the release of the second book in the Lakeland Knight series.
Overall Rating: 4/5