If You Like…
- Dark comedy
- “House of Cards”
- A quick read
Then You’ll Like…
The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
So, if you’ve read my review of Battle Royale, you may remember that I used to work in a used book store in my local library. I had a great time, and spent many a dollar on books that I still possess. One of the first ones I grabbed when I started working there was The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross. Patterson has done quite a bit of co-writing in his career, but this was the first I’d seen. Also, I typically associated Patterson with procedural, detective dramas and murder mysteries. The Jester is one of his outlier works with Andrew Gross. It’s a historical fiction revenge story, worthy of The Count of Monte Cristo and A Song of Ice and Fire. I live for fantastic revenge tales (the aforementioned books, along with “House of Cards,” to name a few), so I was wholly surprised to find this fit in that category. Let’s take a look!
First, a summary: Hugh De Luc returns home to his village after fighting in the Crusades, only to discover that his property has been destroyed and that his wife and son are dead. He sets off to confront the Duke who presides over their lands, and is injured along the way, taken in by kind Emilie. She lets slip that the Duke is in need of a new jester, so Hugh apprentices in the jester trade in order to infiltrate the fortress where the Duke lives and take down the powers from within.
While the story seems simple and almost silly, it’s much more intriguing than it seems. Hugh is an immediate likable character, showing sacrifice during the Crusades, and weaving sentiments about how he met his wife as a traveling juggler. You want him to succeed, but you also enjoy the way he goes about it. He was raised in a traveling troupe of sorts, and draws on his wit, wordplay and flexibility to get in and out of situations.
Hugh also grows throughout the book, becoming a more patient hero. His initial reaction to his situation is to go gung-ho on this Duke, but learns that he must bide his time. The scenes where Hugh performs for the Duke as his jester are pretty suspenseful.
This is what I would consider a fast read. And I mean fast. James Patterson’s style in all his books are short, succinct chapters that play like scenes in a movie. Some of these chapters are only two pages in length! But with short, intense scenes like this, the pace of the book is stunningly quick, but a movie that you don’t want to end. Readers, do you have short attention spans and feel like A Song of Ice and Fire is a slog? This book is for you.
Again, this can be another book you set aside for your summer reading pile. It’s fast-paced, very easy to follow, and features an admirable hero with deep love for his family and a particular set of skills (sound familiar? It’s not that far off in comparison, to be honest…).
Will Make You Feel Like: Ugly crying on the beach
Music to Listen to While Reading: French lullabies
Publisher: Warner Books