Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Accidental Highwayman - Ben Tripp

Title: The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, A Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides
Author: Ben Tripp
Publisher: Tor, 2014 (Hardcover)
Length: 295 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy, Adventure
Started: January 5, 2015
Finished: January 10, 2015

From the inside cover:

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 the 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 feisty Princess Morgana, gobbling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows...

The first book of a trilogy about the exploits of Kit and Morgana, The Accidental Highwayman is a swashbuckling tale of high adventure, otherworldly magic, and true love that you won't soon forget. Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and The Princess Bride by William Goldman 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. Following in his father's footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

I saw comparisons to The Princess Bride and I was hooked. Realistically, nothing can trump The Princess Bride, but this book is done in a similar fashion and is bound to endear readers to it for that reason alone.

Kit is the young servant of James Rattle, who is actually the highwayman Whistling Jack. When his master dies, Kit must take up an unfinished quest: rescue the fairy princess Morgana from her arranged marriage and find a place where she can escape to without being hunted down by various faerie folk. Throughout the journey they encounter goblings, a monkey, a pirate queen, among other amazing things. The writing is beautiful and does remind me very much of The Princess Bride, the level of language is sophisticated and there are even footnotes for some obscure words that the average reader wouldn't recognize. The dialogue between Kit and Morgana is quite entertaining, the scene where Kit asks how communicating by bee works had me laughing. Morgana is pretty awesome and I loved her instantly, Kit is quite appealing as a naive young man getting to know the magical world through trial by fire. And Willem is hilarious. I didn't have as much invested in this story as The Princess Bride, but the novel was a great adventure story.

If you love The Princess Bride, you'll want to give this a go. The writing is gorgeous and the characters are wonderful.

Thoughts on the cover:
There's a red version of the cover with white lettering floating around, but my copy had the black cover with gold lettering seen in the pic above. I'm liking the black and gold version slightly more just because it looks amazing.

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