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My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

My Sparkling Misfortune

by Laura Lond, Laura Lond

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8223147,013 (4.25)8

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He says he’s a villain, and he considers himself a good one — or would that a bad one? But he’s not. Not really. Not at heart. At his core, it seems that the Dark Lord Arkus (AKA the Lakeland Knight) is a hero in denial. In the course of this story, circumstances, and his reactions to them, make it increasingly difficult for him to ignore this.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll say little more about the plot.

The setting is a traditional fantasy world with kings, princes, knights, an evil necromancer with skeleton minions, and even a damsel in distress at one point. Then, there are the gormarks and the sparklings. They are described as ‘spirits,’ although they seem more like fairies or something like that to me. Of course, there are no good, commonly accepted scientific definitions for fantasy creatures like these. After all, they’re imaginary, but I tend to think of ‘spirits’ as a synonym for ‘ghosts,’ whereas the gormarks and sparklings definitely can take a physical form, and Arkus ends up with two of them physically following him. One of them is of the ‘evil’ gormark variety, and it wants to kill him. The other is a ‘sparkling,’ which everyone knows only attach themselves to true heroes.

The story is told in first person, with Arkus as the narrator, and the prose style makes it read almost like a journal or a letter (or, these days, a blog post). The vocabulary is simple, and although there were a few places where word choice or syntax seemed odd to me, overall the prose is well executed given the style.

An added bonus in this book is the artwork. There are several sketches of scenes, normally between chapters, and they are well done in an appropriate fantasy style. They are a nice addition to the story.

This is not a sophisticated book. It’s a fairytale. The simple message is that it is better to be loved than feared. It is better to help than to harm. There is little by way of satire, social commentary, or philosophical insight, but these timeless truths are worth repeating. The prose, straightforward plot, and length put this short book firmly in the YA category. Nonetheless, I think many older readers will enjoy it. I did. There is a good bit of innocent humor and it is a lot of fun. I recommend it for those who like to read about true heroes.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
the only thing "negative" about this book is that it is too short!
I really enjoyed reading, the interplay between the villain and the good spirit is hilarious - a very original idea! ( )
  Releanna | Apr 10, 2013 |
My Sparkling Misfortune is a wonderful story about a villain who becomes a hero despite his best (or more appropriately, worst) intentions. A delight for readers of all ages.

Received via Member Giveaway. ( )
  amanda4242 | Jan 25, 2013 |
Book 1 of The Lakeland Knight series

Castles, knights, kings, villains and heros - and humor?

Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle is a known villain, his respected enemy is King Ramian and his son, Prince Kellemar of Dalvanna. Lord Arkus wants to capture a gormack to serve him. Instead he captures a sparkling, Tulip, who he renames Jarvi. Jarvi must serve his new master for a period of 5 years.

Lord Arkus has only one fear - The Beast. His only safe spot is a white tower, the beast cannot harm him when he is near the white tower. Lord Arkus travels with Jarvi and comes upon a new land with a new king, his beatiful daughter and his son, Phillip. These people have no army, as they had not been attacked for many years. Lord Arkus somehow saves the princess (although his original plan was to capture her) and becomes their hero. No matter what he does, he continues to appear as a hero, not a villain as he truly is, even when all is revealed.

Comical cast of characters, heros, villains, royalty, etc. Very entertaining reading, not the serious type of works usually written. Short time frame, easy to see how book 2 could be very popular to continue the story. A few spelling errors that could have easily been corrected, but overall a very good read. ( )
  sewolf0310 | Jun 3, 2012 |

This is...going to be a bit of a weird, catch-all review, because the fact is, I have never listened to an entire audiobook.  I've tried, I really have, but generally the reader gets about 3 sentences out before I say, Um, no.  The farthest I've ever gotten in an audio was about 1/4 of the way through The Forest of Hands and Teeth - and though I really actually did like the narration, the only reason I even picked it up was to refresh my memory on the story and style.  So agreeing to review an audio was a gamble, as I let Laura know.  And I'm going to try to address both the story and the audio aspect, but in the end, I feel like I can't quite separate the two, and couldn't tell you whether I liked the story because of the narration, or liked the narration because of the story.

Because I did like it.  There was a huge adjustment period, though. Probably the first 40 minutes was spent with me not being able to focus and finding that my mind had drifted and 10 minutes of audio had passed with out me really absorbing a thing.  And I can't really blame that on the story or the narration, because I don't think either was to blame. It's just...I don't like being read too. I was the weird kid that didn't say "Read me a story" but said "I can do it myself!" My mom has this habit of bringing magazines or articles to my attention and saying, "Did you see this?" and proceeding to read them to me. I'm sure most people would find them endearing, but my mom should know better. She knows I hate being read to. I really, really do and I couldn't not tell you why. It just makes my brain feel...cluttered. And I'm sure part of it is some insane control thing, too. So yeah, like I said, this was a gamble. I process differently when I'm listening instead of looking, and it took my brain a bit to switch over and accept that this was how the story was being told.

And if this wasn't for review, I probably would have given up.  But I didn't. I had chores that needed doing, and where I normally listen to music while cleaning (because that is the only thing that gives me incentive to clean or *gulp* do laundry), I instead put in my headphones and settled into to listen to MSM.  I was all prepared to slog through, and you know what? I instead found myself really liking it. I guess having mindless busy work to do gave me enough to focus on that my brain couldn't wander, and I actually started to absorb the story! I did more chores so I had an excuse to keep listening. Guys, this audiobook thing is genius.

So once my brain switched over and I could actually listen to the story, I found I really liked it.  It's not necessarily anything I'm going to rave about or push on all of my friends, but my friends with sons will probably hear about it. It's funny and fairly wholesome, and I was surprised to find myself actually smiling on multiple occasions. Smiling is not something that normally happens while I do dishes... Weirdly, I think that the audiobook helped in this aspect. With an audiobook you can't look ahead, even accidentally, so things do take you by surprise and catch you off-guard, and this humor that crept upon me actually made me chuckle as a result.

And the voice acting was pretty magnificent. A.T. Chandler, who does the narration, reminded me a bit of Danny Elfman as the singing voice of Jack Skellington.  (And I know, you're like, Why doesn't he remind you of Chris Sarandon, who did Jack's speaking parts? Is there singing in this book? But there's just a way that Elfman uses his voice, and though Sarandon does it too, I'm sure, it's most memorable and noticeable to me in Jack's songs.) Chandler did lots of different voices, and they all seemed seamless; I never had trouble knowing who was talking, because the voices were all distinctive and memorable. And he was good at accents and ages/sexes.  The way he used his voice and the accents he used were part of what made me smile. I couldn't help picturing Jack, as I said, or Groundskeeper Willy, and a few other people.  It was...neat.  Where I generally have issues with the voices of narrators, I couldn't fault Chandler at all.

And in the end, I did end up liking Lord Arkus and his journey. He's a fun, unwillingly round character, who grows a lot and hates every minute of it (he says), and it was pleasant. I most especially loved the symmetry between Arkus trying to be a villain and ending up a hero, while his nemesis is trying to be a hero and ending up a villain. It was a charming, fun story that I think will appeal to young boys looking for an adventure story, and mothers who don't want their kid's adventure stories to be gruesome or age-inappropriate.
And it convinced me that audiobooks aren't the devil, so I have to give it points for that. :) ( )
  BookRatMisty | Apr 30, 2012 |
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Laura Londprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lond, Lauramain authorall editionsconfirmed
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