Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathon Rogers

"I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud."

The only life orphan Grady has known is a dangerous one, tramping from village to village with a huckster named Floyd. Grady and Floyd specialize in a show called The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp--because everyone wants to see a real live, in the flesh feechie, right?

Not necessarily.

When Floyd and Grady get down on their luck, they try out some other schemes, to no avail. Seems like the only thing they were ever good at was the feechie scam. So they dream up an idea guaranteed to make them money--they're going to create a big feechie scare that will have folks flocking to see their act!

The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathon Rogers is a fun read in an unusual world. Corenwald is populated with coal miners, farmers, buckskin-clad hunters, hucksters, and of course the infamous feechie, a creature with a propensity for bad grammer, worse manners, fisticuffs, and gator-grabblin'. Readers were first introduced to Corenwald with Rogers' The Way of the Wilderking Trilogy: The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, andThe Way of the Wilderking, an allegory of King David.

The Charlatan's Boy continues the fun as Rogers chronicles the escapades of Grady and Floyd. I can't count the number of times I giggled while I was reading this book. Floyd is a ridiculous old shyster, always scheming up the next big thing, and sometimes it made me want to give him a big kick. Grady was a sweet character, loyal, funny, and even honest, despite his trade. And all the supporting characters had quirks that added a lot to the general fun of the book.

Reading this book was like curling up in a camping chair to listen to a storyteller by the campfire. This isn't an action-filled book, so the plot tends to take it's own sweet time getting to the conclusion, but that's not a bad thing at all. In fact, the book wouldn't be half so fun if it had focused just on the action and conclusion.

In my mind, The Charlatan's Boy makes a perfect family read-aloud story. It gets five stars!

~*~I received this book for free from WaterBrook Press's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review~*~

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