The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco by Jasmine Townsend
The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco is an epic fantasy adventure that starts with a prince and his servant trying to solve the Prince’s fiance’s murder, and ends up with kidnapping, magic, and an epic quest.
There’s a lot going on in this book, with an expansive plot line and four different characters narrating and following their own plot lines. In spite of that, this book is only 255 pages long, and the story quality suffers because of it.
The first issue is with being told what’s happening instead of shown. Conversations and incidents are skipped and then later rehashed by a character that wasn’t even involved. I believe it was an effort to speed things up, but we skipped so much of the group’s travels that I felt like I had missed a whole bunch of important interactions. Give me some history of the kingdoms, tell me about the jokes they shared around the fire!
Also, when the author was telling us about those flashbacks, the author would switch tenses. The story is written in past tense and the flashbacks should have stayed in past tense, but somehow the narrator would switch to present tense while telling of things happening in the past, as well as when they transitioned back to the present. There were other grammatical issues and misused words that could have been fixed with another read through by a different set of eyes.
There was also a big plot device (impending war that Sandy worried about the entire trip) but not one character had the idea to ask anyone they met about it! Impending war between two kingdoms is a big deal that even the remotest of kingdoms would know something about! It’s those missing little details that bother me when I’m reading.
The ending was also unsatisfactory to me. The main issue was taken care of, but that was it. Most of the smaller subplots were left open for continuation in the next book, and the character slated to be the Big Bad didn’t deliver. Had the story not dragged along despite skipping days and events at a time, I would not have minded the ending as much. But as it stands, the story had a promising first half and then sputtered out. Don’t get me wrong, the second half has a lot of good stuff, but execution is lacking.
Now on to the characters. I loved Sandy and Bastien. Their interactions reminded me of Arthur and Merlin and Sandy’s sarcastic humor made me laugh throughout the book, even when I was irritated with him and his cowardice most of the time. Sandy was, however, the smartest character there, with Winter being a close second. The other two, the muscles of the group, fit the stereotype fairly well and weren’t as interesting as characters.
Overall, this story has an interesting premise, but there’s too much and yet not enough of the story covered to satisfy me.
My Rating: 2.4/5
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