The entire story is told in Arkus’s voice and Laura Lond had me laughing out loud from the start with Arkus’s snide comments on life and his high opinion of himself. Having his clever plans turned on him again and again was also amusing to listen to. Once he has his hands on a Sparkling, his evil attempts often then mysteriously turn into good deeds. Laura Lond often put me in giggles with Arkus’s near-constant frustration with his red-haired servant . This was a clever story from beginning to end laced with the themes of redemption and friendship.
While the cast is mostly male, there is a Princess and her two lady servants (perhaps a few more lady characters in future books?). I really expected the story to end with a wedding or engagement, but it doesn’t (whew!). The princess’s young brother, Prince Philip of Eukaria really takes a liking to Arkus, known in Eukaria as the Lakeland Knight. Even Tulip has a Sparkling friend, Elar, who readily gives his low opinion of Lord Arkus for enslaving his friend. Through the tale, it was fun to watch Arkus’s reactions to Prince Philip’s admiration, Tulip’s teasing and joking, and Elar’s disdain. The book flips back and forth between action and inner contemplation. There’s plenty of backstabbing, references to an annual Villains Conference, magical sword, splashing in a lake, castle envy, and horseback rides.
Narration: A. T. Chandler was perfect for the voice of Lord Arkus. His deep, rich voice often took on Arkus’s sneering tones to great effect. Chandler was also able to pull off an Irish accent for Tulip, which went well with his teasing and joking. The book was peppered with what I think of as Renaissance Fair music, which I liked better than the 1-heartbeat-too-long pauses between chapters (is there something wrong with my player? No, there, it is playing.).