Monday, February 16, 2009

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools by Philip Caveney

Sebastian Darke needs a job. Since his father passed away, his family is completely broke. The only thing Sebastian can do is travel to Keladon and attempt to continue in the family business by convincing the King to hire him as court jester. Unfortunately, the trip is more treacherous than expected. Sebastian also harbors fears that he will be a terrible jester as his talking, sarcastic buffalope, Max, cringes at all of his owner's jokes. Max is an important part of the story, despite having the personality of Winnie the Pooh's friend Eeyore.

The trio of adventurers is completed when they meet Captain Cornelius Drummel. Though small in stature, Cornelius is a fearsome fighter. The three make quite a team reminding me of a less serious, funnier version of J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring.

After some bouts with some opportunistic barbarians, Sebastian and his team save Keladon's heir to the throne, Princess Kerin. The princess is a spoiled brat who gets on Sebastian's nerves, but nevertheless earns his allegiance. The plot does descend into standard fare as they strive to protect the princess and some of the characters lack some needed depth. Overall though, the author's wry sense of humor keeps the story moving along quite enjoyably.

I'm excited that more Sebastian Darke books seem to be forthcoming. Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools is a great new fantasy for teens that recalls Derek Landy's fun and exciting Skulduggery Pleasant series.

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