The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp is a book I had my eye on for a long time. It is a strange fantasy that wanders and pulls on classic fantasy tropes like fairy princesses and witches and things. I had hoped to love it from the title (the full title is The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides), but didn’t find the humor that I had been expecting and got annoyed with the amount the plot wandered. It reminded me a lot of Stardust by Gaiman though, so if you liked that one, maybe try this?
The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp
Narrated by Steve West
Published by Tor Books on Oct. 14th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 304 pages
Audio Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp.
In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher "Kit" Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man's riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.
Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master's quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….
Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America's most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father's footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.
- The writing and tropes make The Accidental Highwayman feel very much like a classic fairytale. I would easily have believed that it was based on a fairytale, though I’m pretty sure it’s not beyond the normal tropes it pulls on. It has that sort of slightly dreamy and unreal feeling to it.
- There are adorable wee fairy men that have little lights on their bottoms like fireflies and are narrated quite well. I do love a good cast of secondary characters to keep things fun!
- The narration of this audiobook was fairly good, given my rather voracious addiction to audiobooks. The female voices were acceptable and there were different voices for the different characters for the most part.
- One of the biggest things that annoyed me about this book is the way the plot jumped at the strangest times. Days or weeks would be skipped over so it very much felt like just a collection of things that happened to this poor guy instead of a story about a particular set of events.
- I’ve gotten to the point with fantasy that if there isn’t something new and imaginative, I’m pretty bored. Fairies and witches and goblins have just been done so often and there was nothing new to this story to make them interesting again.
- While generally I liked the narration, there were times when the narrator missed doing a different voice for a different character and so I got completely lost in the dialogue and didn’t have any idea who was speaking. This is something that really annoys me with audiobooks since it seems rather important to know what each character thinks…. That makes me hesitant to recommend this one on audio sadly.
The Accidental Highwayman is an enjoyable enough read for the right reader, but not what I was hoping for. I think that I hyped it up a lot based on that amazing cover, and so it was just too easy for it not to live up to my expectations. Like I said above, it did remind me a lot of Stardust in the tone, so if you loved Stardust, this might be one to try.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp
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