Skip to main content

The Palace of Laughter: The Wednesday Tales No. 1

Review

The Palace of Laughter: The Wednesday Tales No. 1

"Slowly the huge tent rose from the grassy field like a great beast awakening and still the townspeople slept, and the fat mayor's snores ruffled his walrus mustache and rumbled through his wife's dreams." Unsuspected by anyone except for Miles Wednesday, an orphan boy who lives in a barrel, the event unfolding on this particular night sets the stage for a grand, treacherous adventure.

Young Miles is soon to meet a talking tiger, a magical angel and the Circus Oscuro, the oddest circus in the land. Little, a circus acrobat with "delicate pearly wings," is not really an acrobat, but rather a 400-year-old angel who fell to earth with Silverpoint, also an angel with special talents. She can't locate him nor can Miles find Tangerine, his unusual stuffed bear.

All evidence points to Circus Oscuro and its Sinister ringmaster. As the circus train pulls out of town, Miles and Little realize that the destination is the mysterious Palace of Laughter. Although she has little use for humans, Little agrees to work with Miles to find their missing friends. Slowly a grand quest begins to unfold like an epic journey. They receive advice from the Grand High Council of Cats, ride on the back of a magical tiger, and use their wit to become friends with many as they pass through strange new lands.

A friendship forms between Miles and Little that is not to be undone. This friendship, along with Little's special talents and Miles's uncanny ability to solve problems, helps them face the Palace of Laughter, which is anything but. In fact, the Palace seems capable of ending the laughter; visitors find they are forever transformed and somehow lose their ability to laugh. Can it be that the Palace is sucking up all the laughter from the land?

Jon Berkeley's debut novel, the first installment in The Wednesday Tales trilogy, is a clever and unique contribution to the fantasy genre. It is written with humor, creativity and a solid sense of fast-paced adventure. Although they're unlikely heroes, Miles and Little are quite likable. Berkeley leaves just enough unresolved to create anticipation for the release of the second part of this trilogy.

Reviewed by Patsy Side on July 31, 2007

The Palace of Laughter: The Wednesday Tales No. 1
by Jon Berkeley

  • Publication Date: July 31, 2007
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060755091
  • ISBN-13: 9780060755096