This book packs a punch from the first sentence to the last, with characterization that grabs you, a storyline that will keep you guessing, and humanThis book packs a punch from the first sentence to the last, with characterization that grabs you, a storyline that will keep you guessing, and human nuance that takes your heart out, massages it a little, squeezes it, sometimes too hard, pets it, then puts it back in your chest. Thorny Sterling is talented, of that there is absolutely no doubt. I adored Al, became smitten with Duke, and believed in their connection. Some might call it insta-love, but because we get to see the incremental steps taken for that head-over-heels fall, it isn't. Some people just get zapped from the first minute. The one thing I wished when reading was more of the fallout about Duke's feelings concerning his family's role in the entire plot, especially his sister. Given the book is in 1st person, I understand we got to see what Al saw, but that I want to know more about Duke in any fashion is the mark of a compelling character, not in any way because the story lacked something. I sincerely hope we see more from the mind of Thorny Sterling, and that this is the first in a long line of books to come from such talent....more
“…have you ever done anything so significantly outrageous, so beautiful and insane, that on days when your life feels dull, these shining moments leap“…have you ever done anything so significantly outrageous, so beautiful and insane, that on days when your life feels dull, these shining moments leap out? Do you have an answer to the question ‘Did I live? Did I touch the world?’” –Vin Vanbly
If my life had a soundtrack, there would have been a great crescendo of strings and woodwinds when I hit the 'buy it with one click' button on this book's Amazon page.
This book starts with Vin Vanbly, a man with a crack sense of humor, a love of the skeleton of words--particularly words with the letter x, but not so much k--and a deep appreciation for life. Here's the thing about Vin. He's a King, but not in the sense that he owns a kingdom or has loyal subjects and a jester to juggle for him. It's more about the energy of a king, an ability to recognize that same energy in others, even when they don't recognize it themselves.
That's what King Perry is about. Perry Mangin, a man who is a Lost King, and Vin Vanbly, who brings him back to the land of Found Kings by kinging him.
What is kinging, you ask?
I cannot even begin to tell you. But I can say that it’s an adventure, from the solitary confinement cells in Alcatraz to a mountain-top outside Sausalito after a brief stop in secret Bolinas to rescue starfish… it’s all an adventure, and along the way, one man finds himself, while the other man guides him–and maybe learns a little something, too. Plus, there’s a duck, pumpkin carving, and cello music.
From the lyrical prose that at first is just this side of too purple–though you get used to it and come to love it–to the outrageous plot, the spellbinding story within the story that the main character Vin Vanbly tells to his boyfriend-for-the-weekend Perry Mangin, this book was impossible to put down. I wanted to crawl inside it, stretch my limbs against its boundaries and get some of that beautiful mess of language rubbed on my shirt. It would have been a stain to cherish.
Vin is an insufferably cheerful bear of a man, who plans this elaborate weekend to spend with Perry, a man he met on Tuesday, and in the process, he’s on a mission to help Perry become a Found King. Their journey, both physical and emotional, is a thing of beauty, and the tendrils of story woven throughout are described in such a way that it literally stole my breath a few times. Things like:
“A thousand leaves in the enormous tree above us participate in my deception, rubbing their veiny little hands against their neighbors.”
Like every other tourist, we gawk and photograph the most magnificent alien creature ever witnessed, the Pacific Ocean. Instead of a body of water, I behold a twitching leviathan, slumbering on its side. This all-encompassing monster, Ocean, defies explanation. How can a thing hold all the colors at once? Every shade of midnight blue and saffron teal bob away, gradations of black and green in combinations I have never experienced. How can glittering orange and yellow crest each wave’s tips before cheerfully drowning? Ocean lies motionless on its side while every surface inch shivers with the ecstasy of life.
See what I mean? I could fall headlong in the images Manning evokes with just a few well placed descriptions.
This book is $6.99. I feel like I got a steal. I would have happily paid $10 or $15 for this. It’s a decent length story for the money, but more than that, it’s an experience, one I immediately began to repeat as soon as I finished it the first time. More than entertainment, it made me feel things few books/movies accomplish. It brought not only the characters’ lives into sharp focus, but begged me to question if I’m getting the most out of my own life. That? Is the mark of a great story....more
This book, though a whopping 120K words, held my interest from beginning to end, from the opening excerpt I read on Ms. Price's blog to the final wordThis book, though a whopping 120K words, held my interest from beginning to end, from the opening excerpt I read on Ms. Price's blog to the final word on the final page... quite a feat considering that the premise, a reality TV show concerning magicians vying for the title of Grand Master Magician and a quarter of a million dollar prize, could have flagged badly with all the detail necessary to weave the story.
It didn't drag, though. The pacing was excellent, the characters rich and complex (and I can't help but wonder if the ventriloquist ever recovered and if her dummy was really that creepy or if it was just me and my irrational dislike of expressionless, staring dolls...) and the twists never let up.
If you're looking for a sweet romance set amid the backdrop of new friendships, rivalries, and the enticing world of magic, then you won't be disappointed. If you're looking for romp after romp, this one's not for you. Sure, there are some hot scenes, but the sex isn't the focus.