Title: Kill the Farm Boy
Author: Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Del Rey
Blurb: 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.
Oh, what a lovely book this was.
But it also…wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I guess?
So, on one hand, I loved it. It was hilarious, with comedy that was out there and shoved in your face, yet other emotions snuck in there just the same, grabbing you when you least expected it. Like how attached I grew to a certain couple or how I couldn’t stop rooting for a certain goat or how I grew to love the entire party as the pages continued to turn. Both because of and despite the hilarity of the novel, it isn’t a novel without heart, without a story that moves you, even if you roll your eyes at the antics, sometimes. The ending, in particular, has me certainly curious for the sequel, which has a cover that I’m already ogling.
It’s also a book I really want my DnD crew to read.
Call me ignorant, but the DnD elements were actually a complete surprise to me, even though the plot and the setup was practically dripping with them. And as a newbie DnD-er myself (having only played for a little over a year), I’m still learning the ins and the outs of being in a DnD campaign. Yet I couldn’t stop picturing my current character, Lithariel the Lithe, and the rest of our campaign, and how well we’d fit in with the group that traverses through Pell (also, can we just applaud that map in the front, because it’s pretty dang awesome). Because we’re pretty out there a lot of the time and I could just see both our groups doing the exact same things, complementing one another rather well (or it becoming disastrous, if I’m being really honest; but at least there will be cheese). So of course, I want the rest of my group to read it and see if they drew the same parallels as much as I did.
So, that’s one hand: a really funny book with a lot of references to pick up on and enjoy, plus some heartfelt moments and a promising sequel after the ending.
Yet, on the other hand, I didn’t love it as much as the hype made me believe I was going to?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. And I think, if I was in a different headspace, were I to read it again, I would probably love it. But sometimes, it was just…a little much for me, I guess. I knew it was full of humor and puns and jokes and you’re not meant to take it seriously, but there were times when I wish it was just a little scaled back. Perhaps it was just a little too over-the-top for my tastes, to make me fall head over heels in love with it.
Do I have any intentions to stop reading the series? Oh no, absolutely not. I’ll be enjoying the second book pretty soon after it’s release (in April, I think?). And I think I’ll enjoy it even more than I did the first, because I know fully what to expect, in the sense that I’ll understand that the level of slapstick and humor is a bit higher than what I usually enjoy and there is a lot more DnD influence than I was expecting (I was just thinking straight fairytale and didn’t account for all the other influences, which might just be ignorance on my part, honestly).
On top of all that, it also gave me hope.
You see, the series I’m writing right now, is the series of my heart. I love it to pieces, but I keep running into the roadblock that there isn’t really a market for it. Because I’m taking popular fantasy/fairytale tropes (at least, in the first book) and calling attention to them, twisting them on their heads and using a writer in the story to do it, so it’s a lot of urban-fantasy fourth wall breaking, without actually breaking the fourth wall. A very small part of me wants me to give up on this five books series, two of which are written and only one is polished (while the other sits as a first draft in horrid need of work, happening this fall). Because what kind of market will take it, especially when I’ve already received agent rejections stating as such?
But then you get books like Kill the Farm Boy.
I’m not saying it’s a comp title. My series has nowhere near the hilarity or humor that makes Kill the Farm Boy special. And yet, before I heard hype for this book, I wouldn’t have believed it had a place in the market. Yet it does. I’ve held it, in my hands. I’ve read it and enjoyed it, to boot. And it makes me dare to wonder, why couldn’t mine make it, if I continue to put in the work and belief and the passion?
For that alone, I will always be thankful for this book, for inspiring hope.
And teaching me way too many elf boners jokes.
More than I ever wanted to know, actually.