The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release date: Jan 22 2013
Series: Gypsy King #1
Reviewed by: Tynga
A runaway slave with a shadowy past, sixteen-year-old Persephone has spent four long years toiling beneath the leering gaze of her despised owner and dreaming of a life where she is free to shape her own destiny. Then, one night, a chance encounter with a handsome chicken thief named Azriel changes her life forever.
Sold to him for a small bag of gold coins, Persephone soon discovers what she already suspected: namely, that Azriel is not what he seems. And when she realizes that he believes Persephone has a special destiny—she is determined to escape him and his impossibly broad shoulders.
But things are no longer as simple as they once were. Torn between her longing for freedom and her undeniable feelings for the handsome thief with the fast hands and the slow smile, Persephone faces the hardest choice she will ever have to make. And no one least of all her—could have imagined the shocking truth her decision will reveal.
Persephone has been ill treated her whole life. A slave born and bred (as she likes to say), her life has never been glamorous, but it got much worst when her owner lost her in a game of cards. Beaten, forced to work in the mines without seeing the sun for years, her life wasn’t all that bad when she ended up working for a despicable farmer, if you don’t mind a wiping here and there, that is. Her life is about to change once more when Azriel, the beautiful thief, enters her life and plans to stay in it.
I am a fan of fantasy novels and even though the cover leaves a lot to be desired (bad Photoshop much?), I decided to give this Canadian author a shot and I was not disappointed! When I read fantasy, I can’t help to compare the novel to those of Kristin Cashore and Maria V. Snyder. The Gypsy King isn’t quite up there, but it’s not far behind. Maureen Fergus is a great entertainer and I truly enjoyed her writing!
The third person narration alternated between Persephone and the evil Regent, Mordecai. It was a genius decision to pick those two characters, instead of Azriel for example, because the Regent’s twisted perception of the world is definitely worth a pound of gold! One chapter you see what really happens from the hero’s point-of-view, and the next you have the Regent’s alternate perception of the very same event. It was funny in a strangely disturbing way. Furthermore, Miss Fergus stayed true to old English and her writing made for a very seamless read.
Maureen blessed us with highly likeable characters. Persephone has a quick mind and a sharp tongue and Azriel is right there to butt heads with her. Their frequent banter was very entertaining and I loved that humour was on the menu. So often fantasy novel are very serious, I liked the The Gypsy King had, on occasion, a light spirit despite the dark circumstances the characters had to face. King Finnius was a young idealistic man and his naivety was endearing. I really hope he has a bright future in front of him. Regent Mordecai is sick and dreadful, and even though he has a hard past, I couldn’t muster any compassion for him. Truth being said, I hope he rots in hell!
Rescued by Azriel to launch on a mission even more dangerous, our young hero will supposedly help crown a Gypsy King. The Gypsies have been hunted down like animals for generations and Persephone is convinced it’s all fantasy. She plays along in hopes of freedom and will end up playing the role of a noblewoman in the castle. The situations she has to face were at time comical, painful and breathtaking. I would lie if I said I enjoyed this book from the start, but the more I read, the more I was engrossed in the story, having a hard time putting the book down. Maureen’s fantasy story kept a good pace and the end is like a bomb!
Sweet and innocent, the romance really spoke to me. I love how naive Persephone is in matters of love and her quick blush amused me. The relationship between her and Azriel was very touching and I hope the best for them!
Suspenseful, engrossing, with a speck of humour, The Gypsy King proved to be a great read and I honestly can’t wait for the sequel. A Fool's Errand is scheduled to release in October 2013! Maureen Fergus was a new-to-me author and I suggest you give her a try :)