The Jester – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 Stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.25/5 Stars)

It should have been a simple job: follow the map, find the treasure, and get out. But, with a clumsy pig farmer and a conniving candle maker, the job has become anything put simple. Now Royce and Hadrian have to figure out a way out of a riddle-filled trap…before it’s too late.

This is my first introduction into the Riyria Chronicles, and while the story was a great stand alone tale that focuses on the choices between greed, cowardice, and foolishness, I wonder if knowing more about the characters would have helped. The short story starts with a punch: they’re falling to what seemingly might be their deaths. Starting in the middle of the action immediately pulls the reader into the story, and between the constant bickering with their comrades and their own indecisiveness, the story is exciting from start to finish.

But it probably took me a good 40% of the short story to get a grip of what was actually going on. This is no fault of Michael J. Sullivan’s writing; to this, I blame the narrator of the audio book. I picked this up since it was free on audible and it piqued my interest. The narrator does have a way with words, but at least in the beginning my mind began to wander.

Still, often times short stories are written in a way leaving the reader wanting more. In this case, more is available in the Riyria Chronicles, and I have since listening to this book added the first of the Riyria Chronicles to my To-Read List. If the author’s goal was to get me interested, he definitely succeeded. I am also positive those who love the Riyria Chronicles will enjoy this tale as well.

So if you’ve been thinking of dabbling with Riyria, check out this short story. I think it’s a great introduction as well as a fun, quick read. Plus, wouldn’t you be a fool for not checking it out?

What’s it about?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words, originally published in the Unfettered anthology. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find. 

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