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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Prince of Knocknafay - Truly a Noble Bastard of a Man!

Today, I am reviewing the mythological stew of a story Travers McCraken: The Prince of Knocknafay by Bret Bouriseau. A self-styled “grown-up bedtime story,” Travers reads more as a goulash of old-world faerie tales and Christian and Islamic myths, bundled up into a well-seasoned meal.

I give this book a 4/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 4.5/5. Bouriseau has definitely spent a lot of time with his characters; they’re distinct, lively, and credible as beings. The good ones are good (though often roguish), and the bad ones are bad (to the tune of eating human flesh). Their banter is entertaining and definitely gives off the impression that these people have known each other a long time. That being said, some of the supporting characters - in particular Margay, the current object of Travers’s affections - fell a little flat. On occasion, she felt like her main purpose was to stand in awe at the things Travers was doing or showing her, and I got very little in the way of development from her actions.

Plot/Storyline: 4/5. Simple but effective. The rakish Travers McCraken steals away a sultana from an angry lord, and the story splits in two as he prepares to bring his treasure and love interest to Cibonay while the aggrieved Sultan hatches his own plot to destroy Travers. The fun part comes in the interplay between the characters and in the flipping back-and-forth between the antagonist group and the protagonists. It made for a fun reading experience that I’m eager to return to.
Flow: 3.5/5. Bouriseau chose to use a heavy brogue to represent his characters’ speech patterns. While I was able to understand most of the speech, there were times when I had to backtrack or sound it out to myself in order to piece it together. As a fast reader, the brogue felt like a speedbump, tripping me up and ripping me out of my verisimilitude. That was the only negative quality about the flow, however; the story moved at just the right speed, and we spent a good amount of time with each character and scene without dragging it out.
Spelling/Grammar: 4/5. Bouriseau’s editor and proofreader did a solid job. There were a few issues - mostly missing quotes at the end of a paragraph or line - but nothing that disturbed me or presented an issue.

Overall: 4/5. Solid and entertaining. The world of Knocknafay is engaging, intriguing, and a load of fun. While the book isn’t perfect, its flaws do nothing to detract from the ingenuity and creativity of the author. I look forward to the next installment, which drops around Christmas!
For those interested, you can find Travers McCracken: The Prince of Knocknafay at Bret Bouriseau’s website: http://knocknafay.com/.

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