This is the third book in the series, the first being The (Sort of) Dark Mage. Waldo Corpselover, raised to be a Dark Mage, is on a quest. In order to prove himself, he must go on a quest to gain three monsters, defeat a knight in battle, and bring home a dragon or dragon’s egg. During the first book, he dons the white robes and decides to masquerade as a White Mage, the exact opposite of what he is supposed to be. So far he has two familiars: Alice, a succubus who is also his wife, and Gronk, a homosexual masochist ogre who prefers to wear the illusion of a human female they call Belle.
There are some parts of Waldo’s character that I like. He does look out for his familiars, especially Gronk. Or Belle. When the illusion is on, she is Belle in Waldo and Alice’s minds. A character asks Waldo why he refers to the ogre as “she” when it is really a male, and he responds that it makes her happy.
He is very naive though. And selfish, but that is to be expected. He was raised to be selfish and to think highly of himself. He understands that Alice is uncomfortable with the queen, but sends her anyway. He doesn’t really listen to her protests, and she doesn’t tell him exactly why she’s uncomfortable. I was a little disappointed with Waldo in that regard. But then again, Waldo is still only supposed to be around fifteen or sixteen years old. Taking that into consideration, he’s not doing all that badly. (Although, I think if the author had started him at eighteen, the story would flow a bit better.)
On the issue of lying and religion, Waldo wants to work on his lying skills. He goes a bit overboard and creates a false god and religion, and becomes the leader of a cult. Part of the art of lying is telling people things they want to hear, and people want to hear about a god who looks out for them, especially if their life is hard. And really, while Waldo doesn’t think there is a god that is the Great Rabbit called Kookoocachoo, who is he really to say? Maybe there is, and that god now has new followers.
The pacing is not great with this one. It’s a bit slow, although the audiobook reader makes it an enjoyable listen. We stay in the same place for most of the book, and we hear a little bit about what is going on in other places, but it’s only second-hand information. We don’t see Waldo’s mother or his grandfather at all. I also saw a lot of places where the story could have turned. Alice didn’t appear to use her charm on the queen at all, and that would have been very useful.
This fulfills the CBR10 Bingo square of “So Shiny!”