This was part of my review request list, I’m just hitting the randomization button and going with whatever pops up!
This is a story about quite possibly the best intentioned, well meaning, relentlessly kind protagonists I’ve ever read about. This could have gone so wrong so quickly, someone this saccharine has to be written just so, otherwise the reader is going to be just as annoyed with him as all the other characters he interacts with in the book.
Myndil was dropped off at the monastery when he was around five years old by his father who didn’t know what to do with him. He believes the best in people to an obnoxious degree. Think Carrot from Discworld, but MORE so. He’s generally good spirited and befriends those no one else will, like the ghouls that live under the bed, or the headless ghosts out in the woods. Everyone else steers clear of these guys, but Myndil considers them friends.
The monks at the monastery are divided about him, some find him endearing, most find him annoying, but one monk in particular is hell bent on getting Myndil “kicked out” as it were, sent on a journey that he’ll never come back from.
I very, very much so hesitate to call a character “on the spectrum” but Myndil takes instructions and advice VERY literally, it’s not wise to use a lot of metaphors with him. He doesn’t process social nuances or interactions the way most people do. What most would think is obviously implied will go right over his head, you’ve got to be super blunt with the lad.
What’s also odd about Myndil is the fact that he’s so, so religious. God was his first word, he talks to God all the time, he talks to everyone else about God, too, but in a pleasant way, not a belittling way. When he sets off from the orphanage/monastery is when the story really begins. He’s been given a mission to bring back as many faithful servants of God as possible, to change the hearts of heathens. Completely unintentionally, Myndil starts to maliciously comply with this request, sending the monastery all sorts of people they really don’t want there, like Odin worshipping builders — but they can’t send them away since this is exactly what they told him to do. It’s genuinely hilarious.
This is a charming funny light book that I really needed after several monster books with tons of POVs and politics and whatnot, I needed something to clear my head out a bit and this was perfect. I really loved the tone, it’s very light hearted but it’s not so over the top I’m rolling my eyes. That’s a very hard line to walk. I
I enjoyed all of the characters in this, even if they didn’t get a ton of page time they felt like real people. It’s a talent akin to Pratchett (I wouldn’t say this is the same, but there’s a Venn-diagram here with a goodly amount of overlap). The characters were slightly exaggerated, sure, but they weren’t so exaggerated they felt more caricature than character. This author clearly takes queues from Terry Pratchett, he even made it into the acknowledgements, lol.
I love Crannag, the giant monk who’s great with kids and fucks the Hagrid-sized lady with a heart of gold, lol. She’s so endearing, I find Sister Yarlith to be a close third favorite character. My one gripe with her is that there’s far too much mention of her boobs. The first few times were actually kind of funny, I almost always am repelled by boobs bouncing as part of a woman’s description but just given her enormous stature it actually worked for me in this very specific instance… the first couple times. After that the joke/endearingness of it wore off and it was just like, okay, okay, she’s got giant boobs, yes.
I usually get bored with a character wandering around and meeting people and having short adventures that feel “first this, then that”, but him bumbling around the countryside annoying the fuck out of people was just really entertaining to me.
It’s only 250 pages, there’s really not a ton to it, but I think that’s a good thing. Trying to extend a joke past a point ruins it, and often times comedies are on the shorter side because of that. It’s hard to keep the same tone for 400 pages when it’s comedy. This is definitely for people who enjoy found family stories, well meaning characters, comedy, and warmth. There’s really not much violence or cursing so this I think would be safe for all ages, maybe 10 years old and up just based on the prose?
Overall, I really really enjoyed this and I’m super pleased I went back to my review request list, I’ve been hitting some gems.
- Plot: 12/15
- Characters: 13/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 12/15
- Enjoyment: 9/10
Final Score: 83/100
A note: The author says the ebook should be coming soon to amazon and other sellers, she’s uncertain why it’s only available via paperback at the moment.