A Fool’s Errand – Review

I write this review at 3:15 – even though I have an appointment at nine this morning – because, as with The Gyspy King, the call of A Fool’s Errand was irresistible. An hour ago, I contemplated leaving the last hundred pages for a more decent hour, but I found myself still flipping the pages.

Bravo, Maureen Fergus.

In the final moments of The Gypsy King, a truth was revealed to Persephone and Azriel – one that could change everything forever. For her. For him. For them. For the entire kingdom.

But trapped in a windowless castle chamber with soldiers battering at the door, it seems impossible to believe that they’ll even survive. Indeed, they are a heartbeat from death when Azriel boldly bargains with the Regent Mordecai: release them and they will seek out the mythical healing Pool of Genezing. Mordecai agrees but warns that if they do not return with proof that the pool exists, he’ll make those dearest to them suffer – and he’ll start with King Finnius.

Persephone has never needed Azriel’s teasing warmth as much as she needs it now, but she is finding out there is a price to pay for having broken past promises. Together, they set off on a journey that will take them into the farthest corners of the kingdom.Danger will ever lie ahead and behind them; they will battle men and beasts alike. Will Persephone and Azriel survive these perils? And will this quest see their romance grow cold – or will it burn hotter than ever?

Although, in the spirit of complete honesty, I must confess that at first, I was really into the book. I was interested and invested, to be sure, but on the scale of reading, I was hovering between Casual and Attentive. Needless to say, by the end I was violently teetering off the edge of “Lost to Reality Reading”

The first thing I noticed when I cracked open this book was the texture of the first page. I hadn’t noticed it in The Gyspy King at first, but when I looked back at it, I felt it too! I love books with distinctly textured pages and covers that was a pleasant surprise. I spent a full minute just caressing it before I stopped – Heaven forbid someone walk in and see me stroking a book.

Then, once you manage to push aside the desire to fondle the book, you’re graced with passages such as:

“Lift her head higher that I may watch her eyes – first as the scalp is peeled from the head of this Gypsy cockroach with whom she so brazenly defiled herself, and thereafter as her life’s blood drains from the mortal wound that you shall presently inflict upon her pretty white throat.”

Whoa.

Maureen Fergus has a talent for writing the delightfully grotesque, make no mistake. She doesn’t only impress in the morbid though. I found her writing to be clever as ever, as I crossed little literary gems such as “…a particularly tenacious burr might stick to Cur’s furry ear.” I find that in storytelling, sometimes the literary touches can be lost to putting that story across, but Maureen balances content and style beautifully.

I was, I have to admit, a little disappointed that the Regent Mordecai had such a big chunk of the story line because he gives me seriously chills and curdles my blood. To have to be in his presence so much during the story was quite unsettling, but that ma
y have been the effect Maureen Fergus was going for, given the precarious and uncertain situation Persephone and Azriel found themselves in. Mordecai was, as ever, equal parts pitiful and terrifying.

Persephone was just as brave as in the first book, though she does pass out an alarming amount of times. I found myself laughing at loud at some of her tactics, wondering at her gumption.

In A Fool’s Errand, we get a plethora of new characters, each of which has their own quirks. Ghengor, I found to be immensely annoying, so much so that I wanted to take hold of his axe and hack off his mouth with it.

Persephone and Azriel were even more delightful in this book, if you can believe it, and infinitely more intimate. My glasses were definitely fogging up from all the steaminess, but it was done very tastefully, which I appreciated. Azriel was charming as ever, tossing out lines such as:

“While I would most gladly carry you down in my arms, I suspect that I am going to need the use of them to keep myself from tumbling headfirst down the mountain and dashing my brains out on the rocks below. Let’s go.” 

And then there’s Persephone, whose best line in the entire book was:

“Yes” 

Because of the nature of this book’s plot, we get to see a lot more of the world our beloved characters inhabit, and Maureen does a splendid job of world-building, although there were times I longed for a map – I did check for one – just for clarification.

The final sentence did me in. I closed the book thinking, boy is the third book going to be a treat!

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