Dana and Marc review The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds Book 3) by Edmond Manning (Published by Pickwick Ink Publishing, Septermber 17, 2014, 290 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read the duo review of King Perry click here.
To read the duo review of King Mai click here.
Blurb: Terrance Altham doesn’t know why he’s been arrested. He’s committed no crime and the cops aren’t talking. Sadly, the man sharing his holding cell talks too much. Known only as Ghost, he is a young grifter, apparently familiar enough with this police station to convince Terrance a break out is possible, and pushy enough to leave Terrance no choice but to follow Ghost into the underbelly of New York City.
Terrified by the unjust imprisonment and the possibility of a life behind bars, Terrance searches for proof of his innocence while Ghost seeks the elusive Butterfly King. But neither man seems in control of the weekend’s direction and the consequences of mistakes are life-changing. As Ghost’s manipulations come to an explosive head, each man must decide amid danger and street violence what kind of man will triumph, lost or found?
Narrator Vin Vanbly (a.k.a Ghost) returns in the most revealing King Weekend yet, where he faces the dark side of his dangerous manipulations, and learns missteps can be deadly. Vin must confront sinister dealings from his past—and a future promising disaster—as he waltzes Terrance across Manhattan in spring, searching for the elusive and charismatic, Butterfly King.
Dana – The Butterfly King left me with so many thoughts and emotions that it’s difficult to organize them all and put them in a review. Even though The Butterfly King is the third book in The Lost and Founds series, it takes place at an earlier than King Mai (book 2) which took place earlier than King Perry. I wondered to myself why the author had written the series backwards, chronologically, when I began the series, but the reason really became clear in this book to me. You don’t want to start a series out as intense as The Butterfly King and have some of that strength fade away as Vin gets a better feel for his work and the events he sets off happen with less hitches. In this order, we are able to see how Vin grew while the series only gets more powerful.
In The Butterfly King, Vin Vanbly has had a few kingings under his belt, but his methods are unpredictable and tend to be forged in violence. The job he has been called to do did not come with an instruction manual and his past has been brutal. He operates the only way he knows how, and it’s not pretty. Vin’s past has been brought up in the series, but a full picture has not been painted. The Vin we see in this book really broke my heart. His self worth is at a low. He gives all his love to those he must lead to their true king nature, but has none for himself. I think anyone who has dealt with low self-esteem issues can identify with him and want to cry at his revelations. I definitely did, anyway.
Terrance is the man who Vin is supposed to king in this book. He is even more headstrong than Mai and Perry. He resists Vin’s machinations more than once and I worried along with Vin that the king weekend wouldn’t finish successfully. Terrance is strong, physically and mentally He could fight with the best of them and he loves books, loves learning. I wouldn’t have thought there would be much to get him to see his potential, to claim his kingship. As strong as he is, though, he feels powerless in the grand scheme of things.
Vin does do what he thinks is best in order to king Terrance, dragging him through sewers, making him face his fears, showing him the heart of prejudice. Though the story takes place around 1993, the events that happen also feel relevant in 2016. As far as you think we have come as a society in those 20 years, this book will make you see , how much we have not. I was wrapped up in Vin and Terrance’s journey in this book. I wouldn’t consider the page length of this book to be excessive but it felt like a long read for me. I think that is down to the content that is present in this book. There is so much for the reader to think about, so much to feel.
I had mentioned in previous reviews, that there is a feeling of magic even though nothing I would call extra-normal happens. But I did see that for Vin and the other kings present in this book do experience something that an average person wouldn’t see during the king weekends. It did help me understand the magic of the process a little bit better but like the other two books, it is clear that there is magic in things we take for granted all the time – knowledge, books, nature, butterflies, and so much more. I definitely recommend this book and this series, It isn’t your average romance, but there is so much love that happens. I can’t wait to read the next of Vin’s adventures, learn more about him, and see how all his experiences take him forward.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Marc – This was a very interesting book for me, because I love it in a very different way than I loved the first two books. Terrence, the Butterfly King, is a very strong and smart man. Even when he starts out his journey with Vin, it is easy to see the power in him. He seems very close to kingship and yet we also see how close he was at certain points to let all this potential go in a different direction. The author uses this story to tackle important and difficult themes like racism and like the movie ‘Crash’, it really made me think. However, it was very easy for me to identify with Perry and Mai from the previous books and it was hard for me to identify with Terrence. He is so strong and proud and kind of intimidates me, even as I respect him and see the gentleness in him that makes him the Butterfly king. His life is and has been so different to mine that he was a very interesting character and captivated me, but in this book Vin really became the MC for me.
Vin’s story and the mystery about who he really is and what he does has always been the glue to these books. As we venture further into the dark with each of the first book, we see more and more of the story unravel. We also see a very different Vin. Not the sure and mysterious magician, who shocked us with the twists and turns of his illusions. Not even the elaborately prepared man, who managed to counteract most of his uncertainties with detailed plans and fail saves. In this third entry of this series, Vin is still full of hope to become a king himself, but his insecurities and lack of experience make his kingships feel dangerous and ill-prepared. As always we can see that he wants to help and his heart is in the right spot, but at times I wanted to intervene and tell him to stop.
This third journey to kingship is the most intense, chaotic and dangerous one yet and even though this is the only book where we not only know there will be a new king at the end, but also the king’s name, the happy ending seems impossible at times and might leave you with a bitter-sweet taste. It is clear that these king weekends are kind of insane and the emotional and physical manipulation of others could have serious physical or mental consequences. This is not something someone should just do, but we also know the positive effect Vin has had on others and how good he gets at what he does in the future.
However, there is no one who criticizes Vin or his methods as much as he does himself. Knowing how good he is and what he will accomplish, it is easy to sympathize with him and to love him, even as we question some of Vin’s choices. This self-doubting, self-destructive man was so human to me as he has never been before and this book was very strongly about Vin’s journey as well, even if I was really intrigued by the Butterfly king.
I loved how this book still is about a kind of family, a brotherhood, that sticks together even in a huge city like New York. We had the anonymity of a big city in book one and the bonds of family and friends in a small town in book two and book three somehow combines this in a way. We also get a lot of new information about the lost and founds story. Vin is far less secretive in this book and we learn more about his dynamics to earlier kings, get a look behind the curtains and several new mysteries are set up. This was the book that made me feel like maybe the stories are not just metaphors after all. Maybe there is more to it, even some kind of magic.
This book furthers the main mystery like no other book before it, reveals more about Vin than any book before it and is the most intense book in this series. A MUST read that MUST be read in order to get the full impact.
9/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Edmond Manning has always been fascinated by fiction: how ordinary words could be sculpted into heartfelt emotions, how heartfelt emotions could leave an imprint inside you stronger than the real world. Mr. Manning never felt worthy to seek publication until recently, when he accidentally stumbled into his own writer’s voice that fit perfectly, like his favorite skull-print, fuzzy jammies. He finally realized that he didn’t have to write like Charles Dickens or Armistead Maupin, two author heroes, and that perhaps his own fiction was juuuuuuust right, because it was his true voice, so he looked around the scrappy word kingdom that he created for himself and shouted, “I’M HOME!” He is now a writer.
In addition to fiction, Edmond enjoys writing non-fiction on his blog,www.edmondmanning.com. When not writing, he can be found either picking raspberries in the back yard or eating panang curry in an overstuffed chair upstairs, reading comic books.