In this pun-laden quest, first in a trilogy, Hearne (A Plague of Giants) and Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) skewer the traditional tropes of epic fantasy sagas. Though the field is already rife with parodies and satires, the authors execute their own unique twist by killing off the titular farm boy on page 31 before his hero’s journey can ever truly begin. Now it’s up to a ragtag band of unlikely heroes—including a seven-foot-tall horticulturalist in a chainmail bikini, a cursed half-rabbit bard, a bread-conjuring would-be dark lord, a clumsy rogue, and a boot-eating talking goat—to save the kingdom from magical misdeeds. As they face their greatest childhood fears, contend with gourmand giants, and negotiate with arrogant elves, these improbable heroes display surprising depths and complexities. There’s a Pratchettian humor at play here, manifesting in frequent pun wars, silly songs, and an underlying level of societal absurdity—everyone takes cheese rather seriously, for instance. The authors claim they wanted to make fun of the typical “white male power fantasies,” and in that, they succeed, with their heroes all characters of color and/or falling somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella. Even so, there’s the feeling that they’re marching through familiar, previously conquered territory, putting this solidly in the middle of the field of humorous fantasy. Agents: (for Hearne) Evan Goldfried, Jill Grinberg Literary; (for Dawson) Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018 Release date: 07/24/2018 Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-5247-9776-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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