I’m delighted to review Stumbling Stoned (The Patchwork Prince Book 1) for Blackthorn Book Tours!
About The Patchwork Prince – Stumbling Stoned
State-sponsored drugs in the megaton range. More rice pudding than I could shake a spork at. And a little padded terrarium of my very own.
If you’d told me yesterday that, come morning, I’d be hunted by the police, the mob, the supernatural (and a cat), I’d have laughed in your face. Granted, I’d have laughed in your face regardless (Clozapine gives me the giggles). Then I’d have gone looking for your flying DeLorean in the nuthouse parking lot.
An epic misadventure involving drugs, sorcery, cannibalism, love and other necessary evils.
Stumbling Stoned is a celebration of a particular brand of surreal : quirky, violent, gross, chaotic – an excited celebration of drug culture , that embraces the transgressive, the outrageous, the dangerous, the unconstrained, the unpredictable. Like Mad Magazine on steroids, it races through its 300 odd pages with the wild and gleeful abandonment of familiar novelistic restraints (such as a semi-coherent plot, or a single arc of reality, or regard for a particular genre). Mafia bosses and a psychiatrist vie for attention with witches and a zombie skeleton. There are lapses of time and place and person. The hero can accidentally eat and then vomit up an assailant’s finger. He occasionally has superpowers.
If you search this book for moral nourishment, you will find thin pickings. At one point our hero sides with an abducted damsel rather than the sex traffickers who are abducting her (well done!) though there are no great heroics and most of the victims he leaves behind. He’s on a quest for a sense of identity, which I guess is creditable in a psychological novel. There may be other creditable moments but they don’t, in retrospect occur to me. It’s not that sort of book.
On the other hand, it is sharp and slick in its writing and the author is clearly witty. Much of the book is ‘actually’ amusing (in that rather contentless way that stoned people often ‘imagine’ they are being amusing). And it is, it would appear, a thoroughly ‘novel’ novel, and ‘once off’ is something of a recommendation (though the promise of a sequel – this is only book one – rather undermines this premise). But let me give it the benefit of the doubt. It is no more absurd than Buster Keaton or the Marx Brothers, no more drug crazed than much of Coleridge, no more elusive in its narrative arc than Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps one day, like them, it will gain a cult following or be treated with reverence as a classic. Such elevation is slightly more plausible than its plot, so I award these stars to mark my place in its history in case that happens. Future enthusiasts: I was here before you were.
About the Author
André van Wyck is a South African-born writer and law school graduate. Despite the hardships of earning coffee money, and in between yelling at Duolingo, he perseveres at his passion: writing.
“When I started The Waking Worlds series, it was as an exercise in exorcism – a way to rid myself of this ‘writing nonsense’ and get back to my nine-to-five… It did not work out so well.”
His debut novel, A Clatter of Chains, published on Amazon’s Kindle Store in 2016. The supposed palate cleanser (before starting the second installment) turned into a book in its own right and delayed publication of A Fray of Furies considerably. Stumbling Stoned was published in 2018 and advanced to the semi-finals of the vaunted Booklife Prize.
André lives in Luxembourg, with his Industrial Psychologist wife and imaginary pet rock.