Monday 14 November 2011

Review - The Vagabond King by James Conway

The Vagabond KingThe Vagabond King by James Conway

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads

When his mother dies and he discovers the man he believed was his father is not, sixteen year old Chris is haunted by a mysterious apparition that forces him to question his pampered existence and embark upon a quest to find himself. Hoping she will “make a man of him”, he seeks sanctuary in the home of Magda, a middle aged waitress with a penchant for sex, only to discover she lives with her father, a cigarette smoking, beer swilling immigrant.

Chris hates his shabby new surroundings at the end of the street and the shabby old man at the end of his life who spends his days listening to old blues records and making Chris fetch him fresh cans of beer. But, when the old man tells tales of Communism, torture, escape and the mysterious medallion he wears, Chris learns that, like the old man’s skipping records, history repeats itself and the roles we play have been played many times before.

My review

Another book I fought between a 2 or 3 star rating. It had a fantastic start and a huge hooking line and I thought it was going to be a completely different story than it turned out to be. However I really struggled to get through this book after that until up until I was 70% through. It begins with Chris finding out his father is not his real father by his mother who is dying with cancer. After his mum dies Chris finds himself going from having his whole life planned out and being a straight A student to dropping out of school and leaving home with his belongings and nowhere to go. He finds himself at the mercy of the older but attractive waitresses house of his local diner and ends up staying with her and her father.

What follows is tales from Magda about religion, egyptians and mythology. This is the parts of the story that kept me going as I was really fascinated by the tales and of Magdas fathers stories of his life. Chris however I found a horrible character, he was whiney, self involved and very shallow until spending some quality time and learning life lessons from the Vagabond King.

The way the story came together with the suprise turn at the near end was very well done also and added another star onto my rating as I was torn between a 2 or a 3 as I really struggled to get into it when it was about Chris and found there was a bit of repetition throughout the book aswell. All things considered it is a 3/5 for me and thank you to the author for introducing me to his work.

This book is available for only £0.86 on amazon so worth checking out as other readers have loved it and gave it 5 star ratings.

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