Kill the farm boy

Delilah S. Dawson

Book - 2018

"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"--

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Series
The tales of Pell ; 1
Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Published
New York : Del Rey [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
364 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781524797744
152479774X
Main Author
Delilah S. Dawson (author)
Other Authors
Kevin Hearne (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Dawson (Strike??, 2016) and Hearne (Staked?, 2016) topple the tropes of the young man's adventure quest and the fairy tale in this joyous, hilarious tale. While preparing to deal with his daily barnyard drudgery shoveling the dung of assorted animals, a farm boy named Worstley is anointed the Chosen One by a filthy, foul-mouthed, drunken pixie. Soon Worstley is off to find his destiny, accompanied by a smart-aleck talking goat named Gustave. But the story is not about Worstley. There is a sleeping princess in a tower surrounded by thorns and leggy, fuchsia-colored blooms, watched over by a cursed, rabbit-girl bard. The bard joins a curse-breaking quest accompanied by the wannabe Dark Lord Toby, his chicken-hating huntswoman, and a warrior woman with an eye for roses who wears a chain-mail bikini. They seek Grinda the Goode Witche, caster of curses—and aunt of Worstley. The humor is fast and furious with innumerable quips tossed out along the way. This one is for readers who enjoy farcical fairy tales, rollicking good times, and plenty of groan-worthy puns and literary references. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

New York Times best-selling Iron Druid chronicler joins with Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) to launch a witty, bighearted fantasy series starring Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bard, and Grinda the Sand Witch, all intent on keeping LØCHER from stealing the throne. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Once upon a time, in the magical land of Pell, there lived a farm boy, a talking goat, a semidark Dark Lord, a fuzzy-tailed bard, a peace-loving warrior in a chain-mail bikini, an assassin deathly afraid of chickens, and a sand witch with an affinity for bejeweled crabs. One of them is the Chosen One, and on a quest to awaken a sleeping princess from her tower and generally right the wrongs in the kingdom of Pell, all of them will encounter much more than they expected. This fairy tale's happily ever after is one readers won't see coming. VERDICT Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) and Hearn's ("Iron Druid Chronicles") reimagining of a traditional fairy tale is reminiscent of William Goldman's The Princess Bride and William Steig's Shrek! Irreverent, funny, and full of entertaining wordplay, this will keep readers guessing until the end and eager for the sequel. [See Prepub Alert, 1/29/18.]—Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., Pensacola Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this pun-laden quest, first in a trilogy, Hearne (A Plague of Giants) and Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) skewer the traditional tropes of epic fantasy sagas. Though the field is already rife with parodies and satires, the authors execute their own unique twist by killing off the titular farm boy on page 31 before his hero's journey can ever truly begin. Now it's up to a ragtag band of unlikely heroes—including a seven-foot-tall horticulturalist in a chainmail bikini, a cursed half-rabbit bard, a bread-conjuring would-be dark lord, a clumsy rogue, and a boot-eating talking goat—to save the kingdom from magical misdeeds. As they face their greatest childhood fears, contend with gourmand giants, and negotiate with arrogant elves, these improbable heroes display surprising depths and complexities. There's a Pratchettian humor at play here, manifesting in frequent pun wars, silly songs, and an underlying level of societal absurdity—everyone takes cheese rather seriously, for instance. The authors claim they wanted to make fun of the typical "white male power fantasies," and in that, they succeed, with their heroes all characters of color and/or falling somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella. Even so, there's the feeling that they're marching through familiar, previously conquered territory, putting this solidly in the middle of the field of humorous fantasy. Agents: (for Hearne) Evan Goldfried, Jill Grinberg Literary; (for Dawson) Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary. (July) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Combining the satirical fantasy of authors such as William Goldman, Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Tamora Pierce, Hearne and Dawson have written a thoroughly enjoyable, enormously ambitious novel. The authors state in their acknowledgements that their book specifically refers to killing off the "white male power fantasies," though they are substantially more successful at skewering the male-ness than the white-ness of the genre. The eponymous farm boy is anointed the "Chosen One" by a fairy in Chapter 2 (titled "In a Squalid Barnyard in Borix, Redolent of Feces and Angst") and is, as promised, dead after two more chapters. Readers are left to follow his (now) talking goat, Gustave; his accidental killer, Fia, a powerful warrior in a chain-mail bikini; an enchanted half-rabbit bard named Argabella; the Dark Lord Toby, whose magic primarily consists of causing bread products to rain from the sky; and a variety of supporting characters. Surprisingly, it is Dawson and Hearne's careful attention to their characters that proves the novel's greatest strength, much more so than their hit-or-miss puns or socio-politically minded satire. Fia and Argabella develop a tremendously touching relationship, Gustave steals many a scene, and the unexpected deaths of two traveling companions are genuinely moving. VERDICT The humor and empowerment theme should make this an easy sell for teens, and they'll stay for the well-drawn characters. Give this one to fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, or William Goldman.—Mark Flowers, Rio Vista Library, CA Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

While on a mission to stop LOCHER and figure out the conundrum of The Chosen One, Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bird, and Grinda the Sand Witch are joined by two others who have their own evil agendas.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"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'suntimely 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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

While on a mission to stop LOCHER and figure out the conundrum of The Chosen One, Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bird and Grinda the Sand Witch are joined by two others who have their own evil agendas.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In an irreverent series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.“Ranks among the best of Christopher Moore and Terry Pratchett.”—Chuck Wendig“When you put two authors of this high caliber together, expect fireworks. Or at least laughs. What a hoot!”—Terry Brooks 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. Praise for Kill the Farm Boy “A rollicking fantasy adventure that upends numerous genre tropes in audacious style . . . a laugh-out-loud-funny fusion of Monty Python–esque humor and whimsy à la Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.”—Kirkus Reviews “Dawson and Hearne’s reimagining of a traditional fairy tale is reminiscent of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride and William Steig’s Shrek! Irreverent, funny, and full of entertaining wordplay, this will keep readers guessing until the end.”—Library Journal“Will have you laughing out loud until strangers begin to look at you oddly.”—SyFy “A smart comedy . . . nuanced, complicated, and human.”—Tordotcom “[Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne] make fun of the typical ‘white male power fantasies,’ and in that, they succeed, with their heroes all characters of color and/or falling somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella.”—Publishers Weekly