Where Honesty Never Ends.
We hope you enjoyed our last review. It was the first time we ever more than two people review a work. We believe it’s a win-win situation because the author (and readers) get to see different perspectives on the same work.
The Review Board is at it again. This time, Nikki Vision, Mini Truth, and No Labels Unleashed share their thoughts on The Lost King.
The Lost King by Devorah Fox
First up, we have Mini Truth on her take of The Lost King.
King Bewilliam, Ruler of the Chalklands opens his eyes to find himself laying in a cow pasture. How did he get there and why? Amnesia seems to have clouded all of his thoughts.
This is how The Lost King starts. A great opening to a story.
Soon after the king, knowing that in his current condition, no one would believe that he’s a king, finds himself having to take on another identity. King Bewilliam becomes Robin.
This book is not so much an adventure as it is a chronicle. The author does a fantastic job of scribing, if you will, every occurrence that Robin faces on his day to day life in the process of trying to re-find himself.
During this long journey Robin meets his closest friends in the form of Meeyoo and Dunkin (whom aren’t necessarily human), along with a handful of individuals whom impact his life for good and bad. Still all of it leads to one place. The Chalklands.
Though there isn’t much action to be had during the story, you do find yourself submerged in the pages as Robin jumps to life, and is incredibly believable. I believe that in the entire story there are only two major action scenes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re more into a historical story with substance rather than empty action.
I was amused to see that per the story line, Robin was the brains behind creating frames for glasses, and a serrated knife, among other things.
The Lost King is NOT a rags to riches story. It is a Riches to rags story, which progressively becomes darker.
My favorite characters are Alexandra and Meeyoo.
If you are a patient person, that is willing to take your time to read a story that progresses slowly and steadily, yet keeps you interested, than The Lost King is for you.
In the way of spelling and grammar, their really isn’t anything that would take away from the enjoyability of the story. I spotted maybe one or two things but nothing that is terrible. As the matter of fact, it’s almost unnoticeable unless your eye is trained to see it.
There were a few intervals where I had to re-read the sentence or paragraph a couple of times as I was thrown a little for a loop. For example in the closing of one chapter Robin is just making sense of what memories he’d just regained, then the next chapter opens up with him telling the story to someone. Which led me to believe that the entire story up until that point was a recollection, a memory being told from his perspective. It wasn’t until a little later on in that chapter that I noticed that I was a little off.
Also, towards the end, at the closing of the story there is no mention of Meeyoo and Dunkin or any of Robin’s other friends. That left me kind of questioning what happened to them. I would’ve liked to know what happened to them as they were such a big part of the story.
There is only one thing that I’d like to mention. As much as I enjoyed this story, I feel as though the cover doesn’t do it enough justice. This is a story that historical readers would love, however it may be something that they’d bypass simply because of the cover. I think that a more attractive cover would be incredibly helpful as I’d hate that this story lose a potential audience simply because they’ve judged it by its cover.
I grant The Lost King a 9.5 out of 10 Stars.
That being said, The Lost King is a book that you’d want to read.
Now let’s explore what Nikki sees in the story.
Nikki Vision’s Observations:
This is a thoroughly charming tale of a king that is both lost and has lost his kingdom. Although it is billed as a fantasy story the author Devorah Fox, has written it in a matter of fact way, with lots of historical detail and good descriptions. I really liked the odd beginning of a cow in a castle and thought the story would become weirdly fantastical, but it turns out to be a dream, dreamt by the king who is lost. After that interesting start the story unfolds in a more matter of fact narrative as it follows the king on his journey to find his kingdom.
He is without money, so he has to earn some by doing menial jobs to raise cash. He works for a barber and plays harmonica, then he discovers he is good at sharpening knives and is offered a job in an iron works where he excels. He calls himself Robin and seems to enjoy his life as a serf rather than a king. I was thrilled when Robin was befriended by a stray cat he names Meeyoo who becomes his friend and travelling companion.
There is a lot of attention to detail when Devorah describes the smelting process;it is almost a history lesson. Even though the author says she has taken liberties with historical fact, her descriptions were very convincing and I believed everything I read. I was surprised when a dragon appeared and thought the fantasy element might kick in, it didn’t. I did enjoy the humour between Empress Alexander the feisty young dragon slayer and would have liked her to become one of his travel companions.
Somehow it was all a bit too nice for me. The Robin and Meeyoo characters are sweet and engaging, but nothing much happens in the way of conflict and drama. Despite that fact, I kept reading because the author’s style is so simple and Devorah has clearly done a lot of research into medieval times and how people worked and lived.
I liked the descriptions and some of the colloquial dialogue. However, for me, there is little in the way of a compelling story. Many of the characters are two-dimensional and not a lot happens other than Robin discovers he has many skills that weren’t realised when he was king. I suppose it is a moral tale in that King Bewilliam, discovers his true potential through his lowly jobs and will work his way back up to the status of king eventually and become a better ruler for his experiences.
Vision Says: I award this a 7 out of 10 TRB Stars.
Having said that, I did enjoy reading this book. The writing is great, full of medieval references that are fairly accurate and the author made me want to read on because of the richly descriptive narrative.
Now let’s hear from the Unleashed One.
I’d like to expand on Mini Truth’s statements about the cover, simply because I am in agreement.
The cover of The Lost King doesn’t creatively do the richness of the story within its pages justice. At first glance one may perceive it as being about a farmer (due to seeing the cows) being king of his herd. Although I do understand the direction the author was going in, I would have liked to have seen something a little more in alignment with the beauty of the tale (an image of a helpful MeeYou the cat comes to mind).
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Although the read may be considered a bit lengthy to some, Devorah Fox has a way of conveying the story in such a smooth, simplistic way. Before you know it, you are at the end of the tale. I really like the pace of the narrative and how it was presented.
Similar to Nikki Vision, I, too, was impressed at how realistic so many of the historical aspects were in this work. I really felt like I was there and forgot there were elements of fantasy in the work. I really feel the blurred lines between fantasy and reality were high points and a method of storytelling that the author should continue to adapt for the next installment of this series as well as other works.
The characters were also very engaging. I felt the pain and struggle of Robin as he tries to adjust to what has happened to him. I am also a fan of Alexandra: her spirit and her humor. However, the most favorite character in the tale isn’t even a human. It is a cat. The trusting, sweet, and faithful MeeYou the cat. He not only provided the “aww” moments for those animal lovers out there, but he also plays a great role as a hero. MeeYou could easily serve as a rendition of “Puss in Boots” (from Shrek): only without the boots and less talking.
The element of The Lost King which impressed me the most is how the events that the villages are experiencing parallel what’s occurring in the modern world: the fallacy of trying to live beyond one’s means.
The Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac fiasco kept playing in my head as I read the plight of some of the villagers.
Example: You are living all right. Not overly glamorous, but things are getting taken care of. You are presented with an opportunity to achieve and have more. You take a gamble and it goes bust, then you start to fall behind. Someone comes along and offers to save you from your plight immediately and you can repay in increments over time.
Instant gratification vs. Struggling Over Time. The former is more attractive, so the deal is made. Yet, sooner than expected, the person extending the help wants his ends paid in full, mainly because the one lending you the help got greedy and over-promised his borrowers on how quick the return on investment would be on the money.
Similar to the housing epidemic, where the bankers were being risky by lending out money to those who were credit risks, some of the villagers borrowed money once certain gambles they took didn’t pay off. The person they borrowed money from was at first very understanding, but when he wasn’t getting paid back as quick as anticipated, he started demanding full payment, even though he knew the villagers were struggling.
Unleashed Says: The descriptiveness, the thoroughness of the story line, and endearing characters (especially MeeYou) warrants this a 9 out of 10 TRB Stars.
After adding the stars from Truth, Vision, and Unleashed, overall The Lost King gets 8.5 out of 10 Stars from The Review Board.
Thanks for stepping in to checking out another threeview (three person review). Look forward to all likes, shares, and subscribes! Please feel free to comment.