As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.
It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.
When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.
My thoughts: It's been a couple weeks since I finished this book, but I must say that I absolutely loved it. :D Jonathan Rogers created a world that felt very real -- so real in fact, that it's easy for a mind to slip and think that this might have happened in our own world. The swamps reminded me of the Louisiana area and New Orleans, and for some reason the plains and farming area made me think of Kentucky. Of course, the drovers are as good as or equal to our Cowboys. (which are indeed called "drovers" I believe, or "cattle drivers".)
I also loved the voice of the book. The story is told in first person POV through Grady's eyes. His speech reminded me very much of Mark Twain's stories about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The voice is whimsical but real: very real. And down to earth, but captivating. I remember reading the first chapter online long before I had the actual book. After reading the first chapter, I was absolutely hooked and knew that I had to read the rest of the book: it's not very often that such a thing happens to me.
And the ending!!! I won't give anything away to those of you who haven't read the book yet, but there is quite a satisfying twist at the end of the book. It makes you really think over some of the earlier events. Take nothing for granted in this book: it all means something.
As far as rating goes, I give The Charlatan's Boy a 5 out of 5 star rating.
Yes, it was that good.
Adventure, fantasy, historic-type setting... it's chock full of interesting characters and the two MC's are always getting themselves into and out of difficult situations. I definitely recommend this book to any people who like to read: it will appeal to many different types of readers in many different types of genres.
(this book was provided to me through Waterbrook Multnomaj press, a devision of Random House. I was not required to give a positive review: the views represented in this blog entry are entirely my own.)