I don’t think that in all my years of reading, (or reviewing for that matter) I have ever knowingly pinned the words “fantasy” and “humorous” together. Fantasy has always been “Epic,” “Creative,” “Beautiful” but never…funny. The tales and journeys that make up the fantasy genre usually come with heart-shattering consequences, or at the very least some mind-bending self actualization, but, as a I flipped my Kindle closed on Daniel Arenson’s latest novel “Eye of the Wizard” the only coherent thought I could form was, “What the hell was that!?” (Eloquent right? LOL) The fact of the matter was…I was NOT expecting to laugh while reading this book. Don’t buy that? Here, lets take a look at the synopsis:
“On the longest night of the year, a dark wizard murders a knight and his wife. The knight’s children survive and swear revenge. Sam and Jamie vow to become knights like their father. Neev, the middle child, vows to become a wizard. Five years later, things look grim. Sam is useless with the sword. Jamie is denied knighthood because she’s a girl. Neev cannot cast a spell without growing donkey ears, a monkey tail, or an elephant trunk. The siblings feel like failures. That’s when the dark wizard strikes again. Are the siblings powerful enough to defeat him? Or will they too die at his hands?”
Doesn’t exactly scream “chuckle-fest” does it?
All of my preconceived notions and lofty expectations aside however, the story was wildly entertaining.
One of the best things about Daniel’s writing is his ability to build stories within themselves. Was there one major plot? Of course, (evil warlock wants revenge-so does a group of kids-chaos ensues,) but it’s the back stories he creates for his characters that make his books come alive. For example, if we didn’t know that Romy was a demon who used to spend all of her free time torturing sinners with a pitchfork, then her irrational fear of baby ducklings wouldn’t #1. make sense or #2. be as cackle worthy as it was. But…since we were offered up a past, present, and her inner dialogue as a glimpse into the future, we are able to enjoy all of the quirkiness needed to make a book (like this one) and the people residing inside of it successful.
Now, the narrative found in the pages of “Eye of the Wizard”, (and this is important) require your full attention. One of Daniel’s signature “traits” is to make his novels multi-narrative. This particular book boast (at one point) up to 8 different points of view. (I’ll give you a second to let that sink it…..ok) With so many different thoughts coming from a gazillion different directions, the chances of you “not knowing what the sam hell is going on,” are pretty high up there, (that means don’t read this book when you SHOULD be sleeping.) Just pay close attention to the words in front of you and you should be just fine.
As for the funny bits, (because that’s what really caught my attention) you can expect them to come at you in many different shapes and sizes, (ironic, slap stick, and on several occasions the absolutely absurd.) Taking the jokes for what they are, and not over-analyzing them is what makes the whole experience worth the while. For instance, who hasn’t had this thought before:
“Will you villains never learn?”
“Never spend so much time explaining your plans.”
All in all it was a fun ride, with a band full of outcasts and misfits, who…despite their best efforts, always seem to find themselves a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal.
Not my favorite of Daniel’s books, but on par with the quality work I have grown to expect from him.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: If you are going to dabble in love potions, make sure the correct person drinks it. There is nothing worse than a burly bartender chasing you down for a goodnight kiss.
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