Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: Jack of all Trades by K. C. Shaw

Last night I was gifted an unexpected reading pleasure.

Recently I’ve been wading my way through tomes which lived in darkness. I have been surrounded by devils and demons, ghosts, vampires and other creatures of evil; killers, sadists, masochists and other undesirables our society has spawned. If I didn’t own my own little black and twisted heart then I’d have been in danger of becoming quite depressed and possibly more than a little paranoid.

But last night the sun shone into the darkest recesses of my shadowed world and offered a little hope that a good read can be found in the most unexpected places.

I also found that words I often thought trite do have a place in the review world. We’ve all seen blurbs were a book is labelled as ‘wonderful’, ‘enchanting’, ‘a pleasure to read’ – I always looked at these labels as people being dishonest. It’s like saying something is nice. What is nice? It’s a word people use when they have nothing nice to say. It’s sprinkling flowery camouflage over the compost heap they perceive before them. Last night I read a book that was wonderful. Last night I read a book which both enchanted and entertained me thoroughly. Last night I became lost in an imaginary world which was a pleasure to read.

Last night, I read Jack of all Trades by K.C. Shaw from cover to cover.

Granted, I don’t read a huge amount of books aimed at young adult or younger markets, but this book is like a Pixar film and crosses the age boundaries with ease. Everyone will enjoy this. When I closed the book I felt happy to have read it, content with the way things worked out and eager to suggest my ten year old daughter should read it next.

A love story, a tale of friendship, and one of tolerance. It takes the reader back to times when children respected their elders, when a hard day’s work was gratifying and when the most important things in the world were those around you.

It is full of action, what many in the past would label ‘a real page turner’ with so many things happening in the life of one man you wonder how it all relates back to the central plot, but Shaw manages to keep all the balls in the air, circulating them with ease, until she decides to allow one to drop into place and the central picture becomes that much clearer to the reader. Everything is related to everything else. There are no loose ends and the connections are a joy to reveal.

The only downfall I can point to is the length. The experience is over far too soon and there is no loose end to naturally lead onto other books in the series. Yes, our hero, and his lady-love, may travel and experience new adventures, but this book has painted such a wonderful community, it would be difficult to let it go. Still, if the author is able to build minor characters and weave such a wonderful plot into a standalone book for each addition to Jack’s adventures – then this series will become a staple of every school library. I will be happy to buy each new book as it’s released and I would read them before giving them to my daughter.

This gave me back the feeling of wonder I had back in school when I read classics like Charlotte’s Web, or even further back when I read the Jungle Book. I remembered the enjoyment of a tale that made me laugh and just made me feel good. It is a simply well told and very entertaining story.

You may have noticed that I haven’t gone into plot detail. I’m trying to do this less and less. I want to give you my opinion on the book, not a quick rundown of its contents. There are plenty of other review sites which will fill you in on plot points if you prefer that.

This book gets a 4.6 making it the only non-dark fiction and non-adult orientated book to earn 5 out of 6 on my review scale. If I haven’t sung it’s praises enough already then let me leave with you a reminder as to what I think about books which score a 5 on my scale: Outstanding. You must buy this book. If money is tight, then steal it.


  1. I'm about half way through this one and really enjoying it. Putting it down to go to bed has been really difficult.

  2. Fantastic review, BT. I love that book so much. I can't believe it's not out with a major publisher... Maybe someday someone will pick it up, it has been known to happen.

  3. Cate, I can honestly say it's one of the best novel length books I've read all year and it was refreshing that it was not a book targeted at adults. I was seriously impressed.

  4. Nice review, BT. Jack of All Trades was a lovely read...

  5. I just finished it last night, completely enjoyed it.

  6. OMG, I'm astounded that you liked it so much! I was worried that you might not like it, since it's so different from your usual reading fare. Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm absolutely thrilled at the review!

  7. KC - I read quite widely but my staple is the dark side. I've been known to read everything from historical romance through Sci-fi, horror and mainstream in most age groups.

    In the end, I enjoy a well told story in any genre. You, young lady, have written a very good story.