Sometimes you pick up a book without having any knowledge of the author or story beyond what is presented on the cover or a website description. That’s basically how I found out about one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a long time.
In “The Charlatan’s Boy,” Jonathan Rogers crafts a world that feels like a cross between “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” The Chronicles of Narnia,” and old campfire stories a beloved grandparent might tell. For the first twenty pages I was unsure if I would enjoy the book. It is written in the first person and with a sort of easy going, backwoods southern dialect. It takes a lot of skill to make a first person narrative work and Rogers does it with ease. The dialect of the main character, Grady, draws you into his world and ultimately helps to sell the character. The descriptions that Rogers gives through the character of Grady are often laugh out loud funny and pitch perfect throughout. There were many pages of this book where I found a smile on my face and a chuckle on my lips due to the exploits of Grady and the “perfesser.”
Here’s a brief quote from page 244 to give you an idea of the tone of the book:
“There was what you might call a breakdown in discipline on the part of the cattle rustlers. All over the pasture, feechiefolks was chasing rustlers around, roaring and whooping and howling, and the rustlers was shrieking and crying and falling down and scrambling back up to run some more. One of them big mountain men run past me like a streak of lightning–faster than I ever seen such a big man run in my life–ridden by a drover-feechie switching him like a quarter-racer”
I could spend the rest of the review offering up quotes from the book, but this is one that really must be read to appreciate. Just make sure that when you read it you give Grady a little time to grow on you. It took a couple of chapters, but once I got into the heart of the story I found that the chapters whizzed by as I escaped to adventures in the land of Corenwald. This book is pure escapist fun and would be an enjoyable story for people of all ages. Here’s looking forward to the next book in the series!
Disclaimer- I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.