I feel like the Grandfather in Princess Bride as I gather my thoughts to describe this book – and, more importantly, to convince you to consider getting a copy for a child in your life. Or to get a copy for the child that still lives within you, the kid that watched old reruns of Captain Blood on TV, who cheered as the Firefly got away with one more adventure in its too-short season, who loved Treasure Island (or Treasure Planet, depending upon your media preferences and age) and wanted to sail away off to adventures with a scurvy crew, a sound ship, and a star to steer her by.
Yes, The Watchmen of Port Fayt has pirates. And witches. And magical creatures of all sizes and shapes, who have fled to Fayt to live together in relative peace elbow to elbow with humans. It has cover to cover adventure: chases, sword fights, magical duels, monsters, a hunt for magical objects, betrayals, heroics, and a main character who learns important things about himself – including the fact that he too can be brave.
All in all, it is just plain FUN!!! But it is not a simple book following a formula. Older children and adults will appreciate the complexity of the social structure of this Botany Bay-like island located at an important shipping nexus. While this is the newest addition to the series, it is actually a prequel to the earlier books, and I am very much looking forward to diving into the next book in the series … the hardest choice is the question of whether or not they should go on my holiday wish list or be my gift to myself……
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Watchmen of Port Fayt from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Watchmen of Port Fayt by Conrad Mason (Tales of Fayt Prequel)
Published by David Fickling Books on August 25, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 389 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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A rip-roaring adventure full of pirates, magical creatures, and unlikely heroes!
Captain Newton and his men have always protected Port Fayt--a place where humans live in peace alongside trolls, elves, and fairies. But now Fayt is under threat from a much more powerful enemy--the League of Light, a group out to destroy all non-humans.
Half-goblin boy Joseph Grubb has only ever heard stories of Captain Newton and the Demon's Watch. Fed up of working at his uncle's tavern, Grubb dreams of escape--until a whirlwind encounter with a smuggler plunges him into Fayt's criminal underworld. There he meets the watchmen and learns of their mission to save the port. Can Grubb and his new allies uncover the dark plot in time, or will they end up as fish food in Harry's Shark Pit?
The first exciting book in the epic Tales of Fayt trilogy!
- I love the main character, a goblin/human boy named Joseph Grubb, who grows from a scared, lonely orphan with dreams of adventure into a young man who does what he has to do – scared or not – in order to save his friends. It’s the traditional hero’s quest story arc in the hands of an author who makes it seem fresh.
- There are a number of strong characters who join young Grubb and figure so prominently that they almost seem like main characters in their own right. Tabitha (the blue-haired girl on the cover) gets plenty of ink as the strong-willed youngest member of the Watchmen, but the other people in this semi-official cadre of protectors are generally well-written and befriend our main character in their own unique ways. This book sets up the collection as an emerging team for the young goblin boy’s next adventures, and I appreciate that Mason puts a twist on the “orphan against the world” formula that we see so often in pre-teen books. Grubb sometimes needs to rely upon himself, but he also has ample and varied backup from young people as well as adults in his life.
- No romance!! Grubb and Tabitha are friends and comrades in arms.
- I read through the entire book and didn’t realize that it was part of a series. I was never lost or confused by details that seemed to refer to other books that I hadn’t read. Granted, this is the prequel to the others, but I still found it remarkably refreshing that starting a series with the most recently-published volume was so easy.
- As a parent, I get a little tired of the orphan formula. It’s a necessary plot device that allows a child/teen character to function independently in the world, but after a few adventure books written for this age-group, it’s feeling over-used to me. Which means it is time for me to get into some adult fiction for a bit since this is just a feature of the genre!!
Get your hands on this page-turner and have some fun. Share it with a kid if you can. It has everything a light adventure story needs and sets up a few other books in the series if you find that you and your younger readers like it.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Watchmen of Port Fayt by Conrad Mason
© 2015, Barbara. All rights reserved.