My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

Illustrations by Alla Alekseyeva

Summary: Lord Arkus, a self-proclaimed villain, goes to capture a gormack, an evil spirit, to help him execute his wicked deeds.  But he mistakenly captures a sparkling, a good spirit who is now bound to him for five years and has a much different interpretation of what is in Lord Arkus’s best interests.

Review:  I have seen a number of glowing reviews of this book, so I was very surprised when I began reading it at how bad I thought the writing style was; not a single review had mentioned it.  Of course one might expect a children’s book to be written in a simpler style, but a lot of the phrasing seemed very awkward to me and there were poor transitions between ideas and events.  It is easy for me to imagine that if I had pulled this book from a shelf in the store, unaware of said gushing reviews, and glanced through the beginning pages that I would have put it right back.  That said, Lond’s style does improve as the book progresses, with only occasional relapses into awkwardness.  I have every hope that with the experience of writing this book, and several others, Lond will have perfected her craft and I will not have the same issue with the forthcoming sequel.

Unfortunately, the structure of the book was also problematic, and I am not sure this is something Lond will fix.  Throughout the story, events would occur with absolutely no lead-up.  They were not fun and surprising, just random and ultimately confusing.  Several times important transitions between events were so glaringly missing that I actually stopped, reread the same sentences, and checked to see whether my edition were missing text or pages.  I have never done this with another book (besides an edition of The Silmarillion I own that actually is missing pages.)  Again, I seem to be the only reviewer who thinks this is a fairly major flaw.

However, I must make it perfectly clear that I really did like My Sparkling Misfortune.  Structural problems aside, it is a charming book with a great cast of characters including Lord Arkus, his sparkling Tulip, the would-be hero Prince Kellemar, a beautiful princess, a frightful monster, and others.  It is clever, imaginative, and quite hilarious.  I laughed out loud several times at poor Arkus’s “misfortunes” and his annoyed commentary on the matters; sometimes I actually pointed and laughed at his expense.  If you want a light, very quick read to cheer you up and make you think good things about the world, this book is for you.  I definitely recommend it for anyone who likes fantasy or who has a sense of humor, and I am looking forward to reading the sequel, My Royal Pain Quest.

Published: 2010

Note: I read this book because of Small Review. (She’s somewhat kinder to it.)

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