Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Robe of Skulls (Tales from the Five Kingdoms, Book 1) by Vivian French (4/5 stars)

I must admit this is a book where I saw the cover and immediately wanted to read it.  After reading the description it sounded amusing, so I picked it up from the library.  This is the First Tale from the Five Kingdoms by Vivian French.  Last I heard she was contracted for five books in this series.  It was an amusing read.

The Sorceress Lady Lamorna wants a new gown, but she doesn't have any gold.  So she devises a plan to turn princes into frogs and blackmail their parents to pay her money to turn them back.  Unfortunately she doesn not factor in all the trouble the people she meets will cause her.

This book is completely tongue in cheek.  All the characters are way over the top and completely stereotyped.  For example Gracie Gillypot, the Trueheart, can find happiness in the most grim of situations...even if that situation is being locked in a dark, dank cellar.  The Lady Lamorna is your typical evil queen villain sort.  If you don't like over-the-top, excessively crazy characters than this is not the book for you.

The book is well done and engaging, as well as a quick read.  The whole book has a sharp wit to it that is highly amusing and is told in a very fairy tale-like manner.  There are pictures in each chapter that are well-done and fit the crazy fairy-tale demeanor of the writing.  This was also a very quick read, maybe two hours at the most. 

Overall I enjoyed it, chuckled some, and rolled my eyes at some of the overly blatantly craziness and silliness.  At points it almost gets too silly, but never quite manages to cross that line.  If you like zany fairy tales with overly dramatic and ridiculously stereotyped characters then you will get a kick out of this book.  If you aren't into that sort of craziness I would look for something else.  I will definitely read the next book in this series "The Bag of Bones".  I am not sure if I will read beyond that because I think this level of silliness might get old quickly; we will see.  For this book though I enjoyed it.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge
- 1st in a Series Reading Challenge

The Robe of Skulls: The First Tale from the Five Kingdoms (Tales from the Five Kingdoms) 

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