Mimus Book Review

Tanko fell silent. The other boys sitting beside him on the treetrunk stared at him expectantly. Florin could feel the prince’s parching thirst, and the taste of wormwood on his tongue.

 

Mimus by Lilli Thal (translated by John Brownjohn)

  

 

Whoever names a guy John Brownjohn needs to be poked severely in the belly. It made me chuckle.

Mimus is about the young Prince Florin, whose country, Moltovia, has just made peace with with their neighbor, Vinland, after many years of war. Prince Florin is invited by his father to join him in Vindland’s castle where his new alley, King Theodo, awaits.

Eager to reunite with his father, Prince Florin races into Vinland, only to be betrayed (and no, I’m not giving anything away: it pretty much says this on the back of the book) by King Theodo himself: for who knew it was all a trap! King Theodo has Florin’s father in chains, and the young heir is forced to play the fool beside the clever jester, Mimus. Taken apprentice in a trade of mockery and chained by invisible bonds (if he tries to escape, Theodo will hurt his father), Prince Florin is being asked the big question: How can he, a boy, save his country?

Well, he can’t. And that’s that.

Join Prince Florin during his days as a jester, as he learns from Mimus how to be wise while playing the fool.

I found this book rather enjoyablele. There were a few parts that dragged, but then moved on quickly at least. Mostly, this book was ridiculously clever, and I love all the things Ms. Thal had the jesters say.

The characters, I liked. Mimuswas very realistic, as he doesn’t immdiately love Prince Florin, but at the same time, he offers wise advice and teaches him tricks  so he can stay alive. What I liked most about Mimus was that with him, work was work. Yes, he was a jester, and Prince Florin at first can’t bring himself to act so foolishly and lowly. But to Mimus, being a jester is what he has to do to earn his bread. It’s not some magical art, some great way of life, and Ms. Thal shows us that in very accurate portrayals of medieval life. Being a jester is just what Mimus does, and what he expects Florin to do as well. I particularly liked how Mimus was always concerned about his well being above all else, because that is something you wouldn’t expect, not with all these selfless characters you see these days. No, Mimus is honest and real.

Prince Florin, was another character I enjoyed because he was very…Princely. When he first becomes a jester, he doesn’t done the uniform with pride. In fact, he refuses to do just that. He’s not used to harsh conditions and you see a very real struggle for him to live life on the other side of…life.

The other characters, like the Princess Alix, are interesting as well. She is willy and sharp-tongued, and helps Florin, yet still maintains a level of “This is my castle and you’ll do as I say” attitude. She really struck me as a character I would have liked to hear more from. I’d especially want to know what she thought of Florin, because the story is told in third person, from Florin’s point of view, so you can’t get inside the other character’s heads.

The book had a good ending, which seems scarce these days. It wasn’t a cheesy happily-ever-after, but a down to earth ending that managed to wrap up the story rather nicely.  Some won, and some lost and some did alright. And, mercifully, there weren’t any of these:

And he gazed out over his kingdom, a sense of pride swelling in his chest over what he’d accomplished. Florin tightened his grip on Princess Alix’s hand. With Mimus at his side, surely he could bring a new era of peace and love over the land. There was no doubting that now was the time when things would begin to change– for the better.

How I loathe endings like that! They’re such nasty worm-infested bags of lard. It doesn’t do a story any good to end that way. It just makes me want to puke. So I’m really really glad this story didn’t end that way.

So, in review: This book had excellent characters, who could have been real people and were very interesting to read about. Not all the good people were so heroic, not all the bad people were evil. It also had a interesting plot and was very clever whenever jesting was concerned (I loved reading the parts where Mimus and Florin performed). There were a few slow parts, but those quickly picked up and the whole thing was tied off nicely with very good research, and a big perfect (meaning, it felt and sounded right, not that it was perfect for that characters) ending.

My final thoughts:Read this book for an excellent dip into a medieval world of courts and jesters and clever characters. It’s not entirely suitable for younger audiences, even thought the main character is about 12, as some of the scenes can be a little gory/crude. But for anyone 13 and up– read it, becuase it’s brimming over with wit and cunning.

Ri’s rating:

QQQ /QQQQQ

3/5

 

0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induiced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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