I’m starting back up with my review requests. I’m not going in any particular order, I’m just looking for books that have audio since I can multitask as I listen.
Since all I cared about is that it had audio I didn’t bother looking into what it was before I started. It’s a comedy <3
It starts out with this family of farmers down on their luck. Their dad is dead and the two brothers are struggling to make ends meet. To make it worse, their only cow dies right at the start and it’s the last thing they had left of their dad. One of the brothers just had his wife leave him and all in all things suck. They find this red stone that seems to be important and potentially valuable, which is good since their plough just broke, too. The stone sends off this weird energy and they get the idea to go into Calver and sell it. Well, it turns into a giant fiasco as more and more interested parties try to take it from them and then a whole bunch of hijinks and drama ensues which is par for the course for a comedy.
I liked the writing; I can see how some people might be put off by the dialogue, though. To be honest, sometimes it got to be a touch too much for me. There were a lot of one liners and a few references that took me out of the moment and felt too modern and out of place for the story. However, the overall balance of the humor leaned more in my direction than not, so it worked for me on the whole. The prose outside the dialogue I thought was great, I never had to re-read anything for clarity, I could picture everything that was happening (which is hard for me to do, I don’t do visualization well), and the tone and humor stayed consistent throughout. There were what we’d call info dumps… but unlike how it’s done in most books, this is actually a fourth wall break, a deliberate stylistic choice rather than something awkwardly put in and hoped the reader wouldn’t mind or didn’t know how else to incorporate that information into the story (there’s always a better way). I think I’m going to echo others in that I didn’t particularly care for that, and it took me out of the moment a little bit. However, it didn’t hinder me so much that I wanted to set it down. I would say the writing isn’t as densely packed with social commentary and puns as Pratchett is, but it carries the same humanization of characters that he does well. I wasn’t sure I was going to get into the characters at first, but I really started to enjoy them the more the story went on. By the halfway point I was really invested and they felt less 2D and more like ‘real people’. I think Ralph had the biggest glow up as far as coming into his own depth later on.
This is going to be for people who want a small intimate story. The plot to this book really is just two farmers looking to cash in on this stone they found. All throughout Greg’s journey’s all he ever repeats to himself is that he just wanted a new plough each time he finds himself in a new loathsome predicament. There are mercenaries, spies, kings, and others all wrapped up in the news of the stone. I’m also going to liken this again to Terry Pratchett in that there’s little to no actual magic. This is clearly a fantasy world, but there are no magic duals, no magic academy or anything like that. It’s just a medieval world with kings and potentially magic rocks, lol.
Although the brothers are far and away the main characters and the driving force behind the story, we get many other viewpoints, some of them more brief than others. Much like Pratchett, there are a plethora of characters that make it on scene that really help breathe life into this world. I found them all to be well realized and in-depth characters despite the more caricature depictions at points. This book, like Pratchett, leans into itself and knows what it is and does it well. Satire when done well is so satisfying to me. I really loved the young king, Sigald? Forgive me, since I audio booked I don’t know how to spell all of these if they aren’t listed in the blurb. He was wiser than his years and overall someone I could get behind, he made a good secondary support character.
All in all I really liked this debut and will be looking for the audiobooks as they come out. The narrator did a great job with this, too. Humor is such a hard thing to write, and then for an audiobook you also have to pair it with someone who really gets the tone and delivery down the way the author intends. It’s a doubly hard endeavor so, kudos.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World Building: 10/15
- Writing: 11/15
- Pacing: 13/15
- Originality: 11/15
- Enjoyment: 7.5/10
Final Score: 75.5