Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Fortune's Fool - Kathleen Karr

Fortune's Fool by Kathleen Karr
Genre: YA, historical fiction, romance
Published on May 13, 2008
Published by Knopf
Pages: 208
Read From: 6.5.12 - 6.7.12

Conrad the Good, orphaned and left to make his own way as a court jester, has received one too many beatings at the hand of his lord, Otto "the Witless." So Conrad sets forth on a quest to find a wiser and worthier master, taking from Otto's realm only his wit, his noble horse, Blackspur - and his beloved, the servant girl Christa the Fair. 
But enlightenment and acceptance are rare in medieval Germany, and along with their quest comes newfound hardship. Fierce winter storms follow them through plague-stricken villages; there are bandits on the roads and wolves in the woods; and there are lords far more wicked than Otto in the world. But with Christa's disguise as a boy and Conrad's resourcefulness, they pass as traveling entertainers, and for all the hardships they encounter, there are as many unexpected joys and friendships found in surprising places. 
As always, their destination lies just beyond where they can be free to be together and be themselves.


Cover Blurb: The only reason it caught my attention is because it was clearly either historical fiction or fantasy, and if it was historical fiction I wanted to read it. I like the idea behind it being like a stained-glass window, but I wish it actually looked more like a real stained-glass window, rather than a colored picture.

What I Liked: Conrad was an awesome protagonist. He was funny, but was also capable of being serious. The romantic relationship between him and Christa didn’t feel rushed because the story began with them already in a relationship. The storyline, while simplistic, was entertaining enough. A good, short little read for when you have nothing else on your shelf.

What I Disliked: It could have, and should have, been longer. A journey story needs to have more happen in it.

Believability: Clearly the Author has done research on the era and circumstances she is writing about. And she wonderfully doesn’t ignore the fact that religion was a big part of the Middle Ages. So many modern Authors will have their protagonist undecided about what they believe spiritually - or just conveniently not bring religion up at all. That doesn’t work if one sets it in an era where religion was so important, like the Middle Ages. It lessens the authenticity of one’s character and overall story. Conrad questions some of the things that the Church teaches, but his questions aren’t “out of sync” with the time period. I imagine there were a lot of jesters who questioned why they couldn’t have the sacraments simply because they were entertainers.

Writing Style: It’s nice; it fits the story’s simplicity, and the dialogue is in keeping with the era without being difficult to read at the same time.

Content: Conrad is always wanting Christa in a sexual sense, and his longing for that gets tiring to read about. But nothing comes of it.

Conclusion: Again, I think this story ought to have been longer. But the conclusion was satisfying enough.

Recommended Audience: Anyone who is looking for a short historical novel. A younger teen audience could read it, even with Conrad always wanting Christa (the Author isn’t detailed about his wants). Both girls and guys would enjoy it.

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