Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp [Review]

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides (Adventures of Kit Bristol, #1)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp
Series: The Adventures of Kit Bristol #1
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Release: October 14, 2014
Hardcover:  304 Pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Ugh, I wanted to like this book so much!  I loved the description and was very excited to read it.  But I was just...bored.  It had so much potential! Was it the book?  Was it me?  Either way, I ended up skimming through a lot of it.

What I Liked:
- I like the setting of 18th century England and the little history lessons peppered throughout the story.  I'm always impressed when an author that weave in historical and cultural references and teach us a little about them without it coming across as pedantic
- The story is definitely unique, even as it skewers the archetypal fantasy plot.  There are a lot of things that will stand out in my mind after reading this book.
- I liked the how the story is written by Kit many years after the events took place and include the reader in the story.
- I liked the little illustrations throughout.

What I Didn't Like:
- It was, as previously mentioned, a little boring.  And it frustrated me because there was so much happening that it shouldn't have been boring at all!
- While the reading level was perhaps YA, it felt a little young.  And as much as I liked the historical references and footnotes, they didn't help to dispel my feeling that this book is better geared to a younger audience.
- Kit was brave, loyal, but kind of a dolt.
- It felt long.  Partly because it was kind of boring, but also because I think it was too long.

Overall, it just wasn't as enjoyable as I had hoped.  But it is getting a lot of good reviews so it is very possible that I just didn't gel with it.  I encourage you to read it if you've been interested to see if you have the same conclusions as me.

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