Rummanah Aasi
 I initially picked up The Accidental Highway Man because it was recommended for fans of The Princess Bride, which happens to be one of my many favorite movies. While both feature assumed identities, swashbuckling, unbelievable feats, colorful characters, and of course a princess, The Accidental Highway Man is much slower, lacks humor, and is frankly quite boring. 

Description: 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….

Review: The Accidental Highway Man has the aura and literary style of the old classical adventures written a long time ago such as Treasure Island written by Robert Louis Stevenson. Readers of that time would not mind a slow start up with bursts of action and humor, but it does not bode well for majority of young readers today who like their books to be fast paced and more streamlined.
  Kit Bristol, formerly a circus trick rider, is the manservant to Master Rattle, an odd gentleman who is rumored to be a highway bandit. One night, after Rattle returns home fatally wounded, with the authorities on his case, Kit escapes on his employer’s horse. In a flash, Kit is mistaken for Whistling Jack, Rattle’s criminal alias, and recruited to finish Rattle’s last mission which is to rescue a fairy princess from her arranged marriage to King George III of England. Kit's mission seems pretty straightforward, but it is far from the truth as Kit finds out that his boss was involved in far more than highway robbery. Soon, Kit rescues a fairy princess, uncovers a scheme to link human and fairy worlds, and finds himself pursued by pixies. 
  Kit's fantasy world is vibrant and richly imagined as we are introduced to different fantastical creatures and worlds. It just takes a lot of patience for the creativity to shine through and to be appreciated. Kit is your typical classical hero: dashing, charming, and a bit clueless. His dry, witty first-person narrative offers a few chuckles along the way. My attention waned as Kit went on his many adventures and ended up skimming a lot of the book. I was a bit annoyed with the large does of info-dump in his narrative which slowed the plot down to almost a crawl. I also didn't care for the stock characterizations of the female characters. The book doesn't leave off in a cliffhanger, but it is clear that are plenty more adventures with Kit ahead. Since I didn't enjoy this book, I will not be continuing with this series. 

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There are some scenes that take place in a tavern where drinking is used as a scenery than actual behavior. Recommended for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston, The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
7 Responses
  1. i Steven Says:

    you must be a much sought after librarian ...


  2. Jenny Says:

    "It just takes a lot of patience for the creativity to shine through and to be appreciated."

    I just finished Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Rummanah, and the above describes that book perfectly for me. It was a hugely imaginative story, but man was it slow. It's too bad the pacing of this one was so off, anything that earns a comparison to The Princess Bride should be an epic page turner!


  3. I struggle sometimes with incredibly slow stories, like Serpahina. I didn't click for me, but then again sometimes they work, for instance I adore Jay Kristoffs Lotus War series.


  4. Aw too bad. I would have picked this one up with the same recommendation. It does sound like the author has potential.


  5. Lauren D. Says:

    Oh no! Info dump and stock female characterization? I was curious about this one but now I think I'll definitely skip it. Thanks for your thoughtful review!


  6. Small Review Says:

    That's a shame. It seems like the title is the best part (and boy is that a good title!). I wonder if I would enjoy it more if went into it expecting it to be like Treasure Island in pacing and style.


  7. Oh no! I really liked the synopsis of this one so it's such a shame that it was so slow-paced and that the characterization of females lacked depth. I guess I'll be removing this one off my wishlist now.


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