A friend of mine, BookWol (known for her famous fantasy book drinks – go check it out if you haven’t! https://tomeandtankard.com ) tipped me off to this book, describing it as Pratchett-esque. She liked it so much I was inundated with silly quotes and tidbits from the book.
So, naturally, I had to pick this one up. This is a shorter review because the book itself is pretty short.
It’s a rather simple tale, there’s a village and the land around it is dying, there’s barely any crops and the livestock animals are getting skinny and dying. The villagers are at a loss on what to do until Thomas’s brother takes it on himself to go and confront the Baron of Fogbottom and ask for provisions to feed the villagers.
Naturally, he gets imprisoned for that.
His brother Thomas hears the town crier announcing the wedding of King Arthur to his soon to be wife, Gwenoviere. The proclamation stated that the King is offering one boon per family if they show up to the court in Camelot and request something reasonable.
So, Thomas sets out on his journey to go to Camelot and ask for the release of his brother. He’s sent out with a ridiculous set of ‘armor’ that’s really just pots and pans from his families kitchen. He wins a magical sword to aid on his journey, but it smells terrible because it’s a cursed sword. Along the way, he ponders his mission and how he’s going to go about it. What’s troubling him is that he really wants is to be a knight and this may be his one chance as a lowly commoner to become a knight of the court of Camelot – so which should he chose?
Along the journey, he meets some friends, and some enemies, and goes on a bunch of adventures – including collecting Giantess tears for a healer which didn’t go at all to plan.
Thomas is a very likeable character, he always seems to be in the middle of some kind of trouble and it’s very rarely his fault. He has a lot of dreams and a good heart making for a noble bright character you root for the entire time. He’s sort of the outcast in his family, his brother William, the one who gets himself imprisoned, is the favorite child. William is everything Thomas isn’t, he’s handsome, he’s well built, and he’s charming. Thomas is sort of an awkward young fellow, and definitely doesn’t have the charisma of his brother. He’s dreamed of making something of himself for a while, and of getting out and into the world outside of his village.
It’s written in the third person and has a lot of clever writing, I laughed a lot throughout this book and it’s very Pratchett-esque without coming across as an imitator. There are some more flowery passages, but it’s laced with humor, akin to the metaphors and similes that Terry used.
The world building is kind of on the backburner for this, it’s there, but it’s as a backdrop/setting and less so at the front of the story. It makes things read pretty quickly since you’re not bogged down trying to figure out which Major House is mad at the other Major House with tons of geography to try and pin down. It’s an Arthurian satire, so if you’re vaguely familiar with Camelot and King Arthur you’ll find your footing quickly.
The writing style is what makes this book original. Comedy is a less common subgenre of fantasy, and most of the ones I come across I chuckle a few times and then promptly forget most of the book. The characters aren’t there enough for me to get attached to them, the writing is hit and miss, and the plotlines aren’t always there for me. This one though, I really enjoyed.
This would be a perfect book if you’re getting bogged down with sprawling epics, or grim dark, or if you’re just in the mood for something fun that’s also short and sweet. It would work great as a palate cleanser.
For people who like:
- Light hearted books
- Noble bright characters
- comedy in fantasy
- Arthurian legends
- shorter faster paced books
- single POV
- less intense world building
World Building: 11/15
Personal Enjoyment: 10/10