The Beast of Talesend is the first book in the Beaumont and Beasley series by Kyle Robert Shultz (here’s his blog). It’s hilarious, and I can’t wait for the sequel.
Normally I’m not big on the secondary, comic relief character. They’re usually not as interesting as the main characters or as funny as the author thinks they are. In The Beast of Talesend, though, I love Crispin, Nate’s lazy younger brother.
Before getting into how to write likeable comic characters, I’ll give my overall, non-spoiler thoughts of the book. You can read the synopsis (and buy the book!) on Amazon.
I really like the fairytale/hard-boiled detective mashup. It provides a setting unlike any other fairytale retellings I’ve read. This uniqueness really embraces the fun of a retelling.
The whole world is so cool, what with the disbelief in magic and the twists on familiar artifacts: the Rose and the mirror. The magic mirror, especially, is super interesting. I hope it’s explored more in future installments. The characters are great too, especially Nick and Crispin.
Actually, it’s because all this stuff is so awesome that I come to my one complaint. The Beast of Talesend really should have been longer. There’s tons of possible character development in all three main characters (I’m counting Crispin), and the world is big enough to support that development. The author’s probably saving that for future books, but there’s stuff (like some memory losses) that should have been expanded on.
But hey, that just means I’ll snatch up the sequel that much quicker.
Like I said earlier, I really liked Crispin. There were several things about him that made him a way better character than the normal comic side character.
1. He wasn’t useless
Crispin had his own ‘special’ powers, so he could take care of himself (and the others) when needed.
2. There’s a reason he’s there
Often, I just roll my eyes at the comic character, and at the main one for keeping him around. But since Crispin is Nick’s (younger) brother, their relationship is really sweet. Also, their relationship is two-way; Nick needs him as much as he needs Nick.
3. He’s strangely aware he’s not the main character
When Nick turns into a monster and suggests that it’s a dream, I love how Crispin agrees he might be a character in Nick’s dream. It takes him a minute to suggest it might be the other way around.
Obviously this isn’t a must for side characters, but it made me laugh.
4. He acts logically in weird situations
Like shooting his brother, because his brother turned into a monster.
5. He’s hilarious, even when being tortured
One of my favorite exchanges-
Whitlock: Why doesn’t [Nick] have the same intrinsic connection to the Rose that I do? Is it because the Rose was nearly dead when it enchanted him? Or because he was only changed by a thorn that had been broken off the Rose?
Crispin: I hope you’re not expecting me to answer those questions.
Who are some of your favorite comic characters?