Book Review: The Verdigris Pawn

By Alysa Wishingrad

Beau, heir to the Manor and next in line to control the country, is kept practically a prisoner by his father who is convinced that Beau, like his mother, is a charmer and the cause of all the ills befalling the country. The only person who cares for Beau is his friend Fledge, the stable master who has taught Beau the game of Fist, a strategic board game a little like chess where the verdigris pawn, the mage, and the ace, try to outwit the king to seize control and win the game. When Beau meets Cressi, a servant girl who opens his eyes to the brutality and injustice of his father’s rule, Beau unintentionally causes her imprisonment. Determined to free Cressi and change things for the better, Beau escapes the manor and commences a search for his own ace and mage to help him succeed.

The Verdigris Pawn by Alysa Wishingrad has been on my TBR for a long time. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get to. I think I had got the impression that it was heavy on politics and messaging, but when I finally got to it this week, I really enjoyed it.

What I liked best:

  • I love secondary world fantasies, and this one is done well
  • The characters of Beau, Cressi and Nate. I liked them all and their friendship is developed well
  • The story is told through the alternating POV of Beau and Cressi (both third person). Both had exciting stories, and the changing perspectives made it a compelling read
  • I loved the charmers’ magic, which also raised some interesting ethical questions. The themes of justice, self-determination, and doing the right thing all resonated with me, and I liked how they were handled.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this story, enjoyable even when anticipated. If, at times, things seemed to work out a little too easily for Beau, the heroes seemed rather confident and mature for thirteen -year-olds, and the end was a smidgen implausible, these were minor quibbles for me.

Overall, this is a well-written, fast-paced and enjoyable tale, which I would place as upper middle grade. TOTP and I award The Verdigris Pawn 8 out of 10 Diamonds

10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Verdigris Pawn

    1. Thanks Patricia. šŸ™‚ I enjoyed the story and I think it would be a good one for class discussions too, about use and abuse of power, loyalty and kindness, the end justifying the means, and so on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s