So, in a world where the author of one of your favorite Urban Fantasy series (Iron Druid) and the author of your absolute favorite Paranormal Romance book ever (Wicked as they Come) come together to write a comedic fantasy book that you have seen compared to Monty Python and Discworld…. and you see that book pop up on NetGalley… what does one do?
Oh, I was all over it. I love me some comedic fantasy. Very happy that I was approved!
So, thanks to the authors, as well as Random House/Ballantine via NetGalley for the review copy!
Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.
This is not that fairy tale.
There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.
And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.
There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.
Take heed, children of men: we fair folk are aware that no one comes upon Morningwood without good reason. It is sprung from your dreams of greatness and magic, a monolith of beauty and strength. But beware that you will also, in passing through, discover the steely strength of our Morningwood, whose limber limbs bend but do not break yet bear succulent fruit with each new stroke of spring.
This is…. sort of the story of Worstley, farm boy, poop cleaner, brother of Bestley (who was unfortunately killed by the local lord for being too handsome), and… the Chosen One, probably!
He is out in the barn one day, cleaning poop and being accosted by Gus, the billy goat, when suddenly a smelly pixie appears and declares that he is the Chosen One. What does that mean? Who knows, but he should probably go to on a quest to slay a Dark Lord or find some treasure or something. It’s his destiny!
And so Worstley goes on a quest with his sidekick Gus (the billy goat, who now has the power of speech thanks to the pixie, and insists that it is ‘Gustave’) to find out what being the Chosen One really means… while meanwhile, the local Dark Lord, Toby, sends his henchmen out to kill the farmboy, as he needs his heart to… become all-powerful, of course.
Along the way, things happen that you don’t expect, and our party of adventurers goes from the boy and his goat, to including people like a 7-foot-tall fighter for hire wearing a chainmail bikini with a fondness for roses; an almost-bard (she needs 2 more credits) who has been cursed to be a beast (not necessarily a terrifying one, but a beast all the same; a rogue with a few brain cells missing; a sand witch; and a marmoset.
This was a fairly quick and fun read. Full of puns and spins on various tropes and fairy tales. There were many chuckles to be had. The prose was lovely, and it still totally felt like reading a fairy tale at times, while it was so clearly making fun of them.
Even the map at the beginning of the novel has some chuckles in it, with places like ‘The Island That Has No Name Because No One Ever Goes There or Even Talks About It For Some Strange Reason but Trust Me It’s Beautiful.’
This is obviously not the most mature book ever written, and it is not intended to be. There are a veritable treasure trove of dick jokes, puns, and other silliness in its pages. If you’re anything like me, sometimes a book like this one, which is fun for the sake of fun, is just what you need in between more serious books. Sometimes I need a forest of elves called Morningwood. Sometimes I need a talking goat who is often snarky AF. Sometimes I need a giant who eats people, but does it with some style. Sometimes I need a song or two that I can imagine the characters singing along to.
Humans destroy all they touch
They fight and grab and steal and clutch
They are not good for very much
Yes, humans are the worst!
If you’re looking for a serious book, look elsewhere, but if you’re down for some giggling, then you just might want to dive in here. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read from either of its authors, but it is nevertheless a fantastic book! 4/5 stars!
Thanks again to Random House/Ballantine via NetGalley for the review copy. 🙂