Today I am sharing my thoughts on one of the most strange books I have picked up in a long time. I did not pay attention to the book when I took the chance, and I will say it was not the right type of book for me. I will be sharing more thoughts in my review. However, still a large thank you the Blackthorn Tours and the author for sharing a review copy with me in exchange for my honest review.
The Patchwork Prince – Stumbling Stoned
The Patchwork Prince is a pell-mell misadventure involving drugs, sorcery, cannibalism, love and other necessary evils – experienced through asylum-tinted glasses.
According to his medical file, Jean Du Pont is a failed suicide with brain damage, incapable of speech or self-care. In what passes for reality, he has telenovela-grade amnesia and spends his days locked inside his own, broken mind. And inside a modern-day madhouse, to boot.
When a routine sojourn to the asylum’s padded cells sees two orderlies dead and another patient mauled, Jean is left leery of his perceptions – and his newfound superpowers. It is not impossible that a bad batch of Thorazine is responsible for everything.
As his blackout subsides, he finds he has kidnapped his psychiatrist and committed a violent B&E. Years’ worth of withdrawal begin to hold his mind hostage. The homeowner he hogtied to the toilet appears less than human and he himself is speaking in tongues (English and French being but two). Desperate for the clarity of a fix, he flees.
Provenance, and the Audi that runs him over, take him to Paris. There, his pickpocketing hands run afoul of the wrong Albanian gangster. High on heroine meant for the sex slave trade, he accidentally rescues the heiress of a milieu don, one Natalie. Far from being grateful, her father orders Jean’s death. He narrowly escapes into police custody… where he is promptly painted with a serial killer-brush.
Jean is plucked from his predicament by an eccentric CEO, who is not at all what he seems. Pillowed on the breast of Big Pharma, Jean is forced to admit that the CEO, Zabat, is even crazier than he. The man talks sorcery and spells like they’re stocks and commodities. Dangling knowledge of his past, Zabat tries to entice Jean into an unhealthy relationship. They have a falling-out. Literally. The billionaire does not handle the rejection well and sets out to seriously mess with Jean’s day.
If he wants to re-rescue Natalie from his jilted CEO, Jean realizes, he will have to re-kidnap his psychiatrist and revisit the proverbial cabin in the woods.
His efforts unearth talking corpses and not nearly enough answers. Nevertheless, energized by his victory over an evil calico and its zombie manservant, he sets off to pulverize Zabat. Only to walk into a minotaur’s labyrinth. Navigating his crazed inner self, he is forced to reconcile with his own power – be it real or imagined.
Stumbling Stoned is the start of Jean’s journey of self-discovery, reclamation and the inhuman effort of coming to grips with the outrageous delusion we call ‘reality’.
This was not the right type of book for me. I was very bothered by the halfway point, but I wanted to finish the book since it seemed so odd. I must say I have never read a book like this. It is very unique. I do not plan to read more from this author, but his writing provided me with some different type of reading I have never encountered before. I gave it 3 stars, which was me being generous, since this was not like anything I have ever been in contact with. I have to give the author credit for being so unique.
What did I like? I liked there were funny parts. There is a lot of dark topics within this story. However, the author will sprinkle some humor and create a moment where you have a chuckle. I did not expect this, and I commend him for doing so with the way this book was meant to be constructed. I cannot imagine he intended for it to only be dark, but the subtle nuances of humor made it much easier for me to get through this book.
What I did not like what the overall story and the violence. I did not like the gross imagery of smells and sights. I like to envision books, but this was gritty. I suppose I am not the right audience. The descriptions in this book can be crass and kind of unsettling. It even made me wrinkle my nose in disgust a few times.
Who would this book work well for? People who want an unreliable narrator. Those who enjoy stories which keep you guessing. A darker type of book about mental illness. Perhaps those who like dark humor. I do not believe books are gendered since gender is a social construct, but perhaps this would appeal to those who prefer a more masculine voice for reading as well. These are just some of the book I think this book will interest. While it was not for me, it will work well for others.
Also, major warning for some cannibalism and mentions of urine. I am still wrinkling my nose when I think about it.
A. van Wyck
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.