{ARC} Book Review: Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay

January 22, 2016 Review 0 ★★½

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: Villain Keeper by Laurie McKayVillain Keeper by Laurie McKay
Series: The Last Dragon Charmer #1
Published by HarperCollins on 2015 February 3
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Edelweiss
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two-half-stars

The first book in an epic new series for fans of The School for Good and Evil and The Land of Stories.

All his life, Prince Caden has dreamed of slaying a dragon. But before he has the chance, he is ripped from his home in the Great Winterlands of Razzon and finds himself in Asheville, North Carolina—a land with no magic and no dragons.

Or so he thinks. The longer Caden spends in Asheville, the more he comes to realize that there is unexpected and dangerous magic in this strange land. There just may be dragons here, too. But what if Caden's destiny isn't to slay a dragon, after all?

Villain Keeper is one of those books that I really wanted to shove down people’s faces and rave about.  But sadly, it didn’t just reach that I-am-gonna-build-a-hype-train-around-this-book status.  Villain Keeper is about a young eighth-born prince, Prince Caden, of the magical Kingdom of Razzon who got transported to modern day America (North Carolina) due to some mysterious circumstance. He has two sidekicks, a prodigy sorceress who’s also a childhood friend and a boy whom Caden met after arriving in modern day America.  These two sidekicks are called Brynne and Tito, respectively. Villain Keeper’s story starts rolling upon Caden’s and Brynne’s arrival on North Carolina without the tiniest clue of how they came to be, of where they are, etc.

Now, Prince Caden is a likable protagonist. He’s upright and uptight which made him funny even without spouting jokes.  Imagine that they’re already struggling to survive in a foreign world with no money, no friends, and no clue and yet, he still tries to uphold his principles even if that means decreasing their chances of survival.  Things always went funnier whenever his personality clashes against that of his ethically flexible sorceress friend, Brynne or against that of his American friend-cum-foster-brother, Tito.   Apparently, this doesn’t much happen in the book.  Not to mention that most of the story have the tendency to go into boring territory.

I also have to add that the villains in the story weren’t all that interesting. The two sidekicks of the protagonist, Brynne and Tito, still need a lot of fleshing out. The setting—which is a boring school in Asheville—didn’t so much as appeal to my imagination.  The plot also suffered from incoherence and riddled with plot holes. For example, there’s the exchange sorcery thing which has gone wrong (summoning the wrong brother) and yet, the results were still successful (the head witch still got her younger self back).  And the story’s ending wasn’t that good since it didn’t address one of the main conflicts of the story. Why did Caden’s father send him packing in the middle of the night?

All in all, the Villain Keeper has a lot of potential but in the end, it failed to harness said potential to make it a book with solid storytelling.

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