Oh Alfred, how I would love to adopt you and (try) to keep you safe. This is truly the most likable and surprising hero story I have read in years.
Alfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur—the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy’s coming of age. from RickYancey.com
Yancey is certainly most famous for his 5th Wave but I would pay good money to bring Alfred Kropp to any screen. Alfred is confused, vulnerable, well-intentioned, and bumbling – everything I love to cheer for in an origin story. I have no doubt that this first book is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship between myself and Alfred Kropp.
First of all, Arturian legends are like books featuring maps or books on the cover – I cannot resist them. Similarly, like with Sherlock, I seem to enjoy stories about Arthur or based on Arturian legend even more than the original. This one features the legend of Excalibur, the men sworn to protect it, and the oversized but underachieving high schooler that cannot help but ruin everyone’s plans.
Most of the adventure stories I have read lately have featured the protagonist with the most: those men and women who have all the smarts, the deep martial arts training, the strange and interesting knowledge of weaponry, and the encyclopedic familiarity with everything. I love those characters for their un-achievability. But I love Alfred for his heart, his courage, and his unassailable urge to right his wrongs. He has no well-honed gut to rely on, no solid instincts, and certainly no training. He is just trying to listen to the person in front of him, decide if they are good or bad, and figure out what to do about it. Story of my life Alfred! Except, of course, the fate of the world hasn’t hung in the balance when I was involved.
As this is just the first book in the trilogy, there is not much to discuss here that won’t spoil the plot beyond how much I loved Alfred. Clearly, I did love him, and so I cannot wait to continue the series and see how this sweet oaf of a kid shapes up.
Tell me, please! What is your favorite type of hero?