Does every slightly funny fantasy book get compared to Terry Pratchett? A of all, that’s lazy, and second of B, it is so rarely accurate. This was slight and fun, but it reminded me more of a Christopher Moore type than a Pratchett type. But when I downloaded it from my library app, there were lots of raving quotes about its Pratchettness. This set the bar too high for a book that was just fine.
This starts out like every fantasy book you’ve ever read, and then completely upends everything you’re expecting, which is great fun. Worstley the farm boy gets visited by a pixie who declares him the Chosen One. She also magics his goat Gustave so he can talk, as proof that she’s actually magical. They set off on a Quest, Worstley to seek his fortune and Gustave to seek not being made into curry by Worstley’s mother, and Worstley immediately gets killed. It’s delightful, and very amusing that a cranky billygoat kind of accidentally ends up as the main character. There’s the usual band of adventurers that gets collected along the way, but they keep not doing what you expect. For example, the Dark Lord wizard (he who originally wants to kill said farm boy and do dark spells with his heart) is a complete buffoon, and not really a bad dude deep down. It’s still a quest story, and the group goes from here to there meeting friends and enemies, with a romance blossoming along the way and some actual deaths and stakes happening to make the danger more exciting.
The good: I listened to the audio book, and the narrator does a great job with all the voices and accents. It definitely added to the fun.
The bad: Beating the juvenile puns into the ground, oh my god. The adventurers have to go through the Morningwood, run by the elves, and there were soooooo many teenage boy jokes. That’s just one example – there were a ton of those ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ names of places and characters, and it wore out its welcome pretty fast (for me anyway, but I am a cranky old lady). Plus, the witch character lives on a beach, leading her to be called the Sand Witch over and over and over.
I finished it two days ago and have already forgotten the end, so this is not one that will stick with me, but it was a breezy and refreshing palate cleanser between murder podcasts.