Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Comedic Fiction/ Fantasy/ Parody
Approximate word count: Words: 25-30,000 words
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“When he was a child, Bob Craton's teachers often remarked (not always favorably) about his day-dreaming. He spent much of his time lost in his own imagination, often creating elaborate elementary school tall-tales, and the habit never went away as he grew up.
At age fifty-seven, he retired early (a euphemism for 'got laid off') and had time to put his tales on 'paper' (an ancient product now replaced by digital electronics)... Many people think he is bonkers for believing that fictional characters talk to him, but he calls it creativity and remains unrepentant.”
In this novella a bitchy faery Princess recruits a motley crew to assist her on a journey back home to Faëoria. A famous warrior-hero Aretino Searle, who is now a drunk; an unlucky wizard, they call Pinkie; and a clever thief named Mausi (not pronounced mousy) who is on the lam. This small troupe is joined by a stable boy, who turns out to be an educated goblin named George, and a cowardly ogre named Loudt (not pronounced Lout).
“Along the way they tame a dragon, steal a Magic Sword, evade Imperial soldiers, fight demons, fire their author and banish a pompous narrator. Being a bitchy little brat, she doesn't tell them what . . .uh oh, she's looking at me. Did I mention that her icy blue eyes can freeze a man's bloo . . . ”
This is a unique fun story. When the narrator and the author started bickering at each other and arguing with the characters I had to laugh. Of course then the editor had to get his two cents in.. The characters don't mind telling any of them to get off their backs and let them get on with their scripts. Until they reached the point where they threw the scripts out and proceeded the way they thought best.
Each of these off-beat characters are well developed and had their own endearing qualities. Well except for the Princess, there wasn't much about her that was endearing but she was entertaining. My two favorites were George, he was a bit of a nerd (who doesn't love nerds?) and Loudt, the kind-hearted ogre. They had a true friendship that will last forever and I enjoyed their dialogue. I also think Mr. Craton did a great job handling the other character's banter, they all played off each other well.
The plot was creative and had a good pace. There was action, adventure, and drama galore as this small band of misfits traveled the countryside and mountain terrain. My only complaint is there was not a climatic ending, perhaps if Queen Mab and the Princess had matched wits at the end I would have felt more satisfied. Coming back home is never as easy as this homecoming was. Someone should have had to eat crow, don't you think? Then perhaps the others could have headed back home feeling like the Princess got her just desserts. Or am I just being mean and showing my true colors?
Bob Craton makes many references to other epic fantasies, fairy tales, pop-culture, and famous works of literature throughout the story. There were few stones left unturned and I found it very entertaining. I have read very few satirical parodies and I found this one a nice change of pace.
The author warns at the beginning that “this text contains Naughty Words not suitable for children, puppies, and other gentle beings.” While there was a lot of swearing there were no F-bombs dropped at all.
I only found a small number of proofing errors. Most were minor, except near the end Loudt was mistakenly called George.
Rating: **** Four stars