Book Review: My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

10384734Title: My Sparkling Misfortune
Author: Laura Lond
Genre: Humor, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Epic Fantasy
Rating: 4,5 stars
Goodreads | Smashwords
Review copy provided by the author.

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 the hilarious fantasy tale of the evil Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle. Being a villain, and pretty good at that, Lord Arkus is well on his way to becoming the most notorious villain in the entire kingdom. However, when a deal with Prince Kellemar – the supposedly good guy of the story and hero-in-the-making – goes horribly wrong for poor Arkus, involving a raging animal and the destroying of several protective white towers, Arkus is forced to leave the kingdom, and hopefully find a way to protect himself from the monster that’s trying to eat him alive, and meanwhile re-establish his position as criminal mastermind. In an effort to solve his problems, he incidentelly catches a sparkling, a creature often seen accompaning heroes. While Arkus certainly is no hero, the sparkling called Jarvi feels like giving the ol’ lord a shot anyway. That’s when Lord Arkus goes through an adventure that might not only change his life, but his entire reputation as well.

The award for most hilarious villain ever definately goes to Lord Arkus. Whereas he is a nasty fellow who enjoys torturing messengers, doublecrossing princes and backstabbing other villains – but only after they have backstabbed him first, he does have manners – there is quite a noble side to him as well. He is hilarious in the way he describes both himself and his opponents, how he analyzes his own actions and those of others. He is a brilliant character who at times made me laugh out loud. A lot of books try to be funny, but it feels forced and unnatural; that’s definately not the case with My Sparkling Misfortune: this book simply is hilarious, even without trying.

Although aimed at middle graders, the adventure of Lord Arkus and his sparkling Jarvi, may appeal to fantasy fans of all ages. While telling a humorous tale, the story offers some valuable lessons as well. One of them being that a villain must not always remain a villain, and that not all heroes are as good and decent as they might appear. Prince Kellemar is the prime example of this. Although being a prince, and aiming to become a true hero one day, he doublecrosses Lord Arkus in their agreement at the beginning of the book, and continues to do things throughout the novel that made me very skeptic about his worthyness for the hero status. On the other hand, the fact that the sparkling Jarvi sees something in Lord Arkus that nobody else sees, and decides to give him the chance to actually do the right thing for once, also holds a very valuable lesson, namely that sometimes you just need to believe in people to make them do the right thing.

The story is action-packed, fast-paced and highly amusing. The dragons, castles, magical creatures, all make the story come to life, and actually read like a classic fairytale. Lord Arkus and his misfortunes could be standing right next to Cinderella and Robin Hood on the bookshelf. If I had to give a complaint about My Sparkling Misfortune (and the reason why I gave 4,5 rather than 5 stars) is that it’s too short. It seems like the sequel-virus has gotten hold of Laura Lond as well. She leaves an open ending, and hints at dark events in Lord Arkus’ past on several occasions, leaving the path open for a follow-up. I would have liked it more had she made this book slightly larger, and added all the additional facts, and a proper ending to this one. My Sparkling Misfortune is strong enough as a stand-alone novel, and although I would enjoy reading more about Lord Arkus’ misfortunes, I do also like it when a book is nicely tied up.

Although Lord Arkus is by far the most witty, sarcastic and intriguing character in this novel, Jarvi/Tullip is quite the enjoyable fellow as well. He is entertaining, good-natured and kind-hearted, and totally the opposite of the Arkus we meet at the beginning of the novel. That they even get along at al, is amazing. Another nice bonus is that the book is filled with wonderful illustrations of the characters and their adventures. The art looks really good, and it adds a nice touch.

I would advise everyone who loves a good laugh, from middle graders to adults, to read this book. It’s a quick read, and it will make you laugh aloud and forget all about the world around you. Lord Arkus is an admirable character, for a villain, with an amazing writing voice and a hilarious personality. The story itself is anything but predictable, the writing style is amusing, and the premise (a story from the villain’s point of view) is very original. What are you waiting for? Go read My Sparkling Misfortune!

Comments

  1. I got the chance to read this book some months ago, and I caught myself laughing aloud sometimes, which isn’t that common an occurence for me when I’m reading. I really enjoyed My Sparkling Misfortune, and I think I agree with just about everything you said in your review. 🙂

  2. I recently read this book and found it absolutely adorable! I also like the lessons it teaches, too. What a great book for both young and old alike.

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  1. […] My Sparkling Misfortune Author: Laura Lond Genre: Humor, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Epic Fantasy Read my review! Goodreads | Smashwords Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle readily admits that he is a villain and […]

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