Author: Alex Bell
Release date: 4th February 2010
Genre: Comic Fantasy
Target audience: YA/ 10+
Summary from Amazon:
Law student Lex Trent’s world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he’s always enjoyed a challenge – which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar ‘The Shadowman’ who has been (luckily) evading capture for years.
But Lex’s luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory – all things that Lex is quite keen on – he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will... and he’s certainly got good experience of cheating.
Lex Trent is a seventeen year old con man, swindler, cheat and an accomplished liar. We meet Lex while he is completing an internship with a law firm. Knowing the ins and outs of the law is useful in Lex's line of adventure. He revels in escaping justice and outwitting authority figures. One might describe him as a self interested rebel without a cause. The fantasy world of Lex Trent is an intriguing one where the Gods have divided the world in half. They have decided that humans are too unpredictable and interfer with their games. Lex's biggest ally in his mission to deceive and swindle is the Goddess of Fortune. Lady Luck may have a fickle nature but where Lex is concerned she has blessed him with good fortune. The question is when the real game begins will Lex's luck run out?
This novel is a comic fantasy which is both witty and imaginative. In the press release that accompanied the book it is likened to The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddle and the writing of Terry Prachett. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of either. Comic fantasy isn't my particular blend of fantasy. I have yet to discover why this is because I am a complete dreamer and lover of magic and mythology. While I was reading this book, I found it so hard to connect with Lex. He is selfish, arrogant and conceited. That is his charm but it didn't rub off on me. I was a much bigger fan of Lucius who is a sweet and caring boy. I'm not sure that the author intended the reader to connect with Lex anyway but to simply be amused by him. I guess I don't have that sense of humour which is a shame because the imaginative scope of Lex's world is ingenius.
It took me a long time to become a part of this story but I'm really glad that I read the book to the end. For me the last 70 pages were the most interesting. Alex Bell created a really satisfying ending which left me feeling pleased that I perserved. Although this book isn't really for me, I can recognise the qualities which will appeal to fans of comic fantasies. It is a witty, adventurous novel set in a bizarre fantasy world. A great read for those who love Prachett and books like Muddle Earth but sadly that reader is not me.
Thank you to Headline for sending me the book for review.