High Fantasy Month is back with a magical kingdom for sale and a crippled midget
Click the above banner to see my other High Fantasy Month reviews. I had recently picked up a new omnibus of a fantasy series and read the first book, so I thought I’d follow it up with a few more fantasy books and knock out another High Fantasy Month.
It’s interesting, the collection of books this month are all sort of similarly themed. I really didn’t even plan it out that way. Each of the books in this months collection are novels mostly set in a fantasy world, but have some twist to the story. They aren’t straight up fantasy, they have a little something extra. It’s an interesting mix this month.
Here are the reviews:
Magic Kingdom for Sale–Sold! (Landover Book 1) (1986) – Terry Brooks – The Magical Kingdom of Landover is a series, written by the great Terry Brooks, that has, currently, about 5 books. I’ve read only one other Brooks novel and that’s the Star Wars Episode I novelization. But it’s good, it really is and it made me want to read more Brooks. I thought I was going to start reading Brooks’ other magnum opus, which sort of spawned this whole idea of High Fantasy Month, The Sword of Shannara, however, I found the first three books of the Landover series in an omnibus for super cheap so I snapped it up and started reading without much thought. The basic premise is that a lawyer, disappointed with his life after his wife dies, finds an ad in a catalog to buy a magical fantasy land called Landover for $1 million. Spontaneously he decides to do it, but it doesn’t turn out to be exactly what he expects. Initially, that premise spoke “satire” to me. I fully expected a massively tongue-in-cheek parody of fantasy novels. What I got was surprising. The novel takes a while to really get started, but once it does, it’s really good. It takes the premise honestly and earnestly. It’s not a satire or a parody. It plays the entire plot straight and is a better novel for it. I liked it much more than I thought considering my expectations were completely wrong and the first 80 pages or so were kind of slow to get through. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
Fool: A Novel (2009) – Christopher Moore – I have read two other Christopher Moore books and thought they were okay (A Dirty Job, Lamb). He has interesting premises, but sometimes he’s a little too droll for my tastes. Like the other Moore books I read, the premise of this book sounded pretty great. A satire of William Shakespeare’s King Lear told from the point of view of the fool. It has lots of mad kings, backstabbing daughters, witches, lusty maidens and, of course, a ghost (there’s always a damn ghost). After years of wanting it I finally grabbed the eBook for cheap a year or so ago but just couldn’t get myself to start it until this month. What did I think? Similar to Moore’s other books. Well written, very dry, sarcastic, British humor. This feels like a BBC mini-series. I wasn’t laughing out loud but I chuckled a lot and enjoyed the ride. For the most part. And now I can pretty much say I’ve read Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Sir Apropos of Nothing (2001) – Peter David – I love Peter David’s novels and for years I tried to read everything he’d written. I originally read this book back in 2005 when I randomly found it on eBay. I loved it. The story is a parody of fantasy books in general. It uses a lot of the tropes and has fun with them. Peter David is great at humorous dialogue and he doesn’t disappoint here. Essentially, it’s your traditional epic hero fantasy, except, instead of focusing on the hero, the story focuses on one of the side characters. And that side character is well aware he’s in a hero’s tale and that he’s not the hero. In fact, he prefers it. Lots of fun with the fantasy genre. Also, I’m surprised at how similar this book was to Moore’s Fool. I guess it’s sort of the same idea, except David’s idea goes a little more broad with the concept. And, honestly, I think it’s a better book.