A great secret is hidden; a jewel worth a quarter of the king’s riches. A tartar criminal is after it. The necromancers and philosophers crave its powers. And it is in the possession of a poor, desolate man, his wife, and their son, Joseph.
Upon arriving in Krakow, the man, Andrew Charnetski, becomes the trumpeter of Krakow, and they find a pleasant home, beneath the laboratory of an alchemsit. But the tartar is coming. And the crystal is not safe. And until the crystal has been given to the king, none of the Charenetski family are safe, either.
Author: Eric P. Kelly
Published Date: 1928
A harsh rating, I know. It’s not often I get a book (in my schoolwork) and I sit down on my sister’s bed, open, and begin to divulge a scathing running commentary of sarcastic movie quotes (Cait will vouch for this). But I did for The Trumpeter of Krakow.
After reading a moderately boring prologue about something that happened a looong time before the book even started, and slogging through two and a quarter pages of useless description before the father of the man character was introduced, I’d probably picked up an unhealthy bias. A sort of, “Uh-huh. I’m riveted.” But I had no choice as to keep going–reading it in four days, too, as my schoolwork schedule decreed.
To put it mildly, it lost me at crystal and never got me back. It had it’s good moments. It had a nice, fairly complex plot. Nothing that is jaw-droppingly complex or astounding. The twist was… not too bad. You could see it coming, but it came more strongly than I’d expected. But on the whole? If I could tell the author one thing?
SHOW DON’T TELL!!!!
Yep. The whole thing was an omnipresent stream of thises and thats and information dumps at the beginning of every chapter about minute details of someone else’s home halfway across Krakow. And then? Backstory. Every so often there’d be a dialogue info dump. I will compliment the author in that he had several info dumps, instead of one big one. But come on. Too much.
Another thing. Characters. Where there characters in this book? We spent about as much time in the villains head as the main character, and an equal third in his father’s. (On the side, the villain is called Peter of the Button-face. Ah! I’m terrified.) The girl, who was about as dimensional as a piece of wrapping paper, had… well. No dimensions. It came to the crux where she could have gotten a thumbs up from me. But nooo. She was nice and stayed where she was safe. Disappointing. (Realistic, yeah. But disappointing. This may be historical fiction, but please. It’s a work of literature. It’s supposed to be art. Creative license. What ever happened to that?)
Oh, and at the wrap up, I was waiting for Gollum to jump out and bite someone’s finger off. I won’t say any more than that.
Going back to the characters, Joseph Charenetski was probably not much more dimensional than the girl. He was fifteen, and when we got to his paragraphs? There was a void where thoughts should be. I’d be more inclined to be soft about this, because I don’t know whether there are voids in fifteen-year-old-boys’ minds. But since this void was the same for everyone, I won’t excuse it. The alchemist had the most mental presence, and he was the salad to the steak, you know. There, but not even the important part.
All up, I’ll say that had it been a meal, it would be a salad. There’s all the nasty things in there that you’re just not interested in. But there were some croutons and pieces of cheese. Over all, it wasn’t unbearable, and if you’re interesting in Polish history at all, it’s definitely worth a look in. Otherwise? Meh. It needed ranch dressing.