Yves, or the Man Who Wasn't


Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
279 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer) for Readers' Favorite

Yves, or the Man Who Wasn’t by L.N. Mayer is a fascinating fantasy following the main character Tell’s journey to claim his rightful crown. Despite being the son of the former king, Tell is an outsider in the kingdom of Themiddle because he’s an imaginer: someone with the ability to make the things they imagine real. Such power is outlawed in Themiddle, where its citizens fear the unknown possibilities it presents. However, Tell is determined to become king and change this. Along the way, Tell makes new friends, questions old friendships, learns how to use his imagination, and turns a man into a goat. Unfortunately, Tell also makes enemies who are determined to stop him. Will he manage to accomplish his goal?

Yves, or the Man Who Wasn’t by L.N. Mayer is a very enjoyable read with intriguing characters and an exciting plot. I really liked how Tell’s character developed and changed throughout the story as he explored the limits of his power. It made me want to keep reading to find out what he’d do next. The book is very well-written with lots of descriptive language that makes the story easy to visualize and understand. It is clear that a lot of thought went into making Themiddle, with its own expressions, words, customs, and beliefs, which helped make the story and setting feel more authentic. The book is filled with exciting actions scenes that always made me wonder what would happen next. I thought the story was very creative and original, and I really enjoyed reading it. I would definitely recommend this book.

Liz Konkel

Yves, or The Man Who Wasn't by LN Mayer, is the second book in the Tell Trilogy. William Teller, or Tell for short, is determined to reclaim what he lost when he was sent away by his father to Theeffects School for Troubled Boys. He vows to restore order in Themiddle with the help of a bird named Thepat. His endeavor will require going straight to the source that took everything he had to begin with. He can't return to school, but his attempts to right the way he was wronged could lead to his own downfall. Ever since he learned that he was different from other imaginers, whose creations were temporary, he's worked to understand and control his abilities. Tell has new threats and dangers to confront as he makes a surprising discovery and embarks on the search for his imagination.

This quirky tale has a unique voice that is truly original, with LN Mayer capturing the essence of the setting through the locations, characters, and language. These world elements make the setting entirely unique and fresh within the fantasy genre, serving as a quirky and brilliant foray into epic fantasy for all ages. The language is original to the story with unique words including Thefolds, Thebackspacer, Theampersand, Themiddle, and Thecliffs. The characters' names are just as unique and are paired well with the setting with characters such as Weekend and Weekday, who are the two men that Tell comes to trust while in Themiddle. William Teller is a unique child with an original ability that pushes him to understand himself by understanding his imagination. Tell begins the story by plotting his next moves as he now has no reason to go back to school, which pushes him to decide to get back what was his and restore Themiddle. This amazing story runs on pure imagination that comes to life through Mayer's creativity and the fine details of the world and the characters. Yves, or The Man Who Wasn't, is quirky, charming, and upbeat with a unique tone, original characters, and an action-packed story.

K.C. Finn

Yves, or the Man Who Wasn’t is a work of fiction in the fantasy sub-genre and was penned by author L.N. Mayer. Written for the young adult reading audience, this quirky and interesting piece focuses on the central protagonist, Tell. It is the second book in the Tell Trilogy following Tell, Or The Adventures in Themiddle. We return to Tell’s adventures at a point when few people are actually on his side, with everyone else firmly set on killing or taking advantage of him. With his imagination as a key weapon, Tell must discover the difference between fantasy and reality for himself to claim what belongs to him and return to a place where he feels that he truly belongs.

Author L.N. Mayer offers a fresh look at fantasy in the Tell Trilogy with an intelligent and original adventure. The work reminded me of the classic Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear approach to nonsense fiction for young readers, in the sense that all of its unusual phrasing, funny character names, and settings actually do have a deeper meaning that is made all the more poignant by making them sound nonsensical to begin with. Mayer carries this charm throughout the work, narrating Tell’s quirky story with tongue firmly in cheek but never missing an opportunity to hit home on a big decision or an emotional moment. Overall, I would heartily recommend Yves, or the Man Who Wasn’t for middle grade and young adult readers (and indeed, curious adults) who enjoy surrealist fiction that is grounded in relatable characters and common emotional themes.