Posted by: Sally Ingraham | February 12, 2009

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred blah, blah, blah…

Unfortunately, not all books can be good ones. Fortunately I rarely find myself reading really terrible books, which is good because I have the sometimes bad habit of finishing the books I start, even if I don’t like them. You would think that I could find better uses for my time, but no.

KroppHalfway through The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey, I was just wishing the book was over. Last night during a particularly slow shift at work, I was sitting around reading the book and irritating my coworker with groans and sighs. When every other sentence in a story makes you roll your eyes, you know you’ve got a sour one.

I should have known better. A teenage boy – over-sized and underachieving – gets tricked into stealing Excalibur, lets loose chaos and doom upon the world, and then has to put everything to right while driving hot cars and being chased by thugs in black robes on motorcycles. “King Arther meets James Bond” according to one of the advanced praise reviews at the front of the book.

I agree, and don’t think it’s a complement (Quantum of Solace, anyone?) Oh well. After reading my allotted 28 pages of Swann’s Way last night, I finished following Alfred Kropp’s ridiculous, cliche-rich, predictable adventure with a grateful sigh.

Two things: Just don’t set King Arther/Excalibur stories in America or get Americans involved. It never works out well. And why bother writing King Arther stories at all when Susan Cooper (among others) has already done it excellently, and at length.

Being a sucker for King Arther etc., however, the chances of me picking up the next related or based upon novel I find is pretty good, even if (sigh) it is set in Ohio…


  1. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court comes to mind. Mark Twain. Have you read it?

  2. I think I tried to read it when I was 10. I didn’t have my intense finishing books policy then! I should try it again I suppose. 🙂

  3. I think Kelia read it this year and liked it. Ask her.

  4. Oh yes I read that, for book group. I didn’t like it, Erin positively hated it. And they’re making a movie of it! O_O

  5. So Kelia, you didn’t like Alfred Kropp either? I’m glad you and Erin still have good taste! 🙂

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