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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools* by Philip Caveney- young adult book review
Also by Philip Caveney:

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools
by Philip Caveney
Ages 12+ 368 pages Laurel Leaf April 2009 Paperback    

As a jester, Sebastion Darke is a flop. He wants to follow in his fatherís footsteps - itís the only trade he knows - but he just canít get his comedic timing right. No matter how much he tries, he lacks confidence in himself and feels there is no way he can ever be even half as good a court jester as his father was. With an aging mother to support after his fatherís death, though, Sebastian has few options work-wise open to him other than learning his fatherís act and taking it on the road to audition in front of King Septimus of Keladon. His traveling companion is also the beast of burden which pulls his caravan - the talking buffalope Max, who often displays a keener sense of humor (though of a dry, sarcastic type) than Sebastian does.

On the way to Keladon, Sebastian and Max meet up with a traveling companion who, though minute in stature, proves to be a very big help to them. He is Captain Cornelius Drummel from the kingdom of Golmira, who coincidently is also headed to Keladon to apply for a position as one of Septimusís Crimson Guards. He is a fierce fighter and agrees to use his hunting skills to provide the small group with food for their travel. He also comes in very handy when they come upon some Brigands (from Brigandia, where else?), outlaws who have surrounded Princess Kerin of Keladonís entourage. Princess Kerin then also travels with them toward Keladon. Cornelius is again a major help when they are attacked by a band of werewolf-like creatures called lupers.

Out of gratitude for being saved, Princess Kerin promises to put in a good word for Sebastian and Cornelius with her uncle, the king. But there are a few minor problems with that - for one, King Septimus canít stand Princess Kerin and hired the Brigands to ensure she wouldnít make it back to celebrate her seventeenth birthday and eventually take over the throne. Heís also the one responsible for having her parents murdered so that he could be the king in the first place, and Princess Kerin is all that stands in his way to being king for the rest of his life. When Sebastian, Cornelius and Max save her, they also unwittingly become people he despises and wants eliminated.

Even if Sebastian had entered the city of Keladon under the best of circumstances and somehow was hired by the King, his career might not have lasted very long. King Septimusís previous jester, Percival, met an untimely end when he lost his head after being introduced to the kingís executioner. The king treats Sebastian, Cornelius and Max like heroes, but inside heís seething and plotting how best to get rid of them and Princess Karin once and for all. With Magda, an old witch, Septimus develops a plan to make his subjects turn against Sebastian: have Sebastian do the famous Vanishing Lady in the Cabinet magic trick using Princess Kerin. So that she wonít reappear, King Septimus orders his henchmen to kidnap her and make her disappearance permanent.

How can one lowly jester, even with the help of a midget warrior and a sarcastic buffalope, hope to succeed, overthrow the evil King Septimus, and install the rightful ruler - Princess Kerin - to the throne, when all the odds seem to be against them? Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools is an entertaining novel of genuine laughs and adventure, a book that tweens and teens should find enjoyable and appealing. Philip Caveney already has a sequel in the works: Sebastion Darke, Prince of Pirates. No fooling - yes, I know, that was a very bad pun - this novel about a decidedly unfunny court jester is a humorous adventure tale that will leave you wanting to read more of Darkeís future adventures.

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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