Review: “Kill the Farm Boy” by Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne

Many moons ago in a principality far, far away, a hirsute lady slept in a tower that was covered in thorns. In general, such an occurrence would not be considered worthy of note, for people slept in towers all the time regardless of their current level of hair growth.

Kill the Farm Boy, Chapter 1 opening

Author: Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne 
Publication Date: July 17th 2018
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Format: Hardcover
Find it on: Goodreads

Synopsis

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.

From Goodreads

Review

As one might infer from the synopsis, Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S Dawson and Kevin Hearne is an entertaining read, poking good fun at typical fantasy and fairy tale tropes. I was drawn in by the promise of quality puns and a light-hearted adventure to space out my thriller reading, but found as I went on that the style of humor was less and less my taste. This was still, however, a fun read with some unique characters – all of whom have an obsession with cheese. So grab some and a handful of artisan crackers for yourself and let’s dive in.

Readers are first introduced to Worstley, younger brother to recently deceased Bestley and an all-around unremarkable farm pooboy who cares for the animals. Worstley is tending to the pen of goats minding his own business when Staph the pixie drops in. She doesn’t look as put together as you’d expect a pixie to be so she proves her magic by giving a nearby goat the power of speech, then suddenly and unceremoniously anoints Worstley a ‘Chosen One’ before disappearing in a pop. Full of optimism and now accompanied by a talking goat named Gustave, Worstley and his begrudging partner set out on a quest fit for a hero. From there the rest of the story unfolds. A number of other quirky characters are introduced including Toby the Dark Lord and his rogue/huntress Poltro (who is a afraid of chickens and has a black stallion named Snowflake), Fia a scantily chainmail-bikini-clad vegetarian brute, Argabella a cursed bunny bard, and a handful of witches. While each had their own fun quirks I can’t say I connected with a particular character per se. Toby came the closest – a genial, tower-dwelling magician who loves cheese and has a magic inferiority complex.

Authors Dawson and Hearne must have had a real kick writing this. There’s plenty of silly banter, wry humor, and grins to go around. Because it’s loosely based on the concept of taking familiar stories and dismantling them in fun ways, pieces of the story have a breath of familiarity – enough to make it easy reading. Then the authors run wild with fresh changes, making the story feel altogether new. They also put some modern sensibilities in, including a same-gender romance and some snippets about consent – which was appreciated even if a bit obvious. There’s a lot to enjoy about the story and it’s easy to let it carry you away.

Overall I appreciated the creativity and fun spirit that went into crafting this book. Although this is the first of a series, this book unfortunately didn’t quite hit the mark for me in story depth or humor personally so I don’t foresee continuing with the story. However this was an enjoyable read that would likely appeal to younger readers or anyone looking for a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Background cover photo credit: Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash

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