I apologize in advance for the insufficiently punny review that is about to follow. Nothing I could write could ever compare to the hilarity contained within these pages.
Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.
This is not that fairy tale.
There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.
And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.
There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.
If you’ve been reading fantasy or been on the literary parts of the internet basically ever, you should be familiar with the concepts of tropes. They’re a little like cliches, but usually a bit more extended. “The chosen one saves the princess” or “Elves are beautiful and wise” and so forth. Kill The Farm Boy is constructed almost entirely of tropes.
HOWEVER….they’re almost entirely upside down and the result is hilarious.
On occasion, the banter, the puns and the trope flipping feels a little forced and contrived, which is why I knocked a star off. The “trying too hard” was distracting. But overall, the effect was, well, magical. Dawson and Hearne have given us a gift that not only skewers common tropes in fantasy, but also draws in elements of current internet culture and absolutely eviscerates them. For an example of this, please see the chapter with a troll. (OH EM GEE I LOL’d SO HARD I COULDN’T BREATHE.)
But, just as Kill The Farm Boy is making fun of the Fantasy genre, it’s still absolutely a fantasy story, full of action, adventure, romance and clever escapades. Dawson and Hearne DO know how to write a story.
Kill The Farm Boy will appeal to fans of Douglas Adams, Monty Python, and Hearne’s Oberon character from his Iron Druid series.
Kill The Farm Boy is on sale now, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, No Country for Old Gnomes.
Thank you to Del Rey for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.