If a whimsical fantasy like "The Hobbit" was written with the adult oriented humor of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," you would have "Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword."
Renee the Righteous is a young Quester who must find the long-lost Sword of Power to save her people. When at last she thinks her quest for the sword is at an end, she discovers a catch: it takes two people to claim the blade, not one, so she needs a Questing Partner for help. Too bad Renee never bothered to make any friends on her journey, and she has to put her trust in a stranger. She thinks she has found the perfect Questing Partner in Guy Smokes, a hapless Assistant Barkeep always willing to help anyone with heaving bosoms. However, Guy might just change his mind after they are attacked by lustful nun assassins and lethal men in green cloaks. Will Renee be able to claim the Sword of Power, or will she and her Questing Partner be slain instead?
Journey to a land where men are women, women are men and unicorns are jerks in "Kingdom of the Snark: The Quest for the Sword."
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is the first book in a trilogy. I absolutely LOVED it!
Renee the Righteous is a character I wasn't sure I liked or not. One moment I wanted to slap her, the next I was cheering her on! She is shockingly self-absorbed, even arrogant to the point of rudeness; no wonder she has very little in the way of friends. She sees people as total idiots and not worth her attention, that is until she needs to find someone to help her find and claim the "Sword of Power". When she meets Guy Smokes, a young barkeep with dreams of owning his own pub, she gets him to agree to help her.
Guy Smokes is actually a fantastic character. I really liked him. He is gentle and kind. I don't know if it was his naivety of the world (he had only ever been in Mudville), or he had been affected by the family business of being "weedmen" (yes, it's what it sounds like), but when he agreed in helping Renee, I wanted shake him and ask what he thought he was doing! Nevertheless, he doesn't realise what he's gotten himself into. But he soon finds out!
This story is very difficult to review without giving out any spoilers, but I will do my best.
It is told in the fashion of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; I was hooked from the first page. However, I felt like a rabbit or deer, caught in the headlights of a car which is heading in my direction - completely transfixed. It is a highly entertaining read, with lots of humour and laugh out loud, witty events and comments. However, it also made me cringe with the dark humour that also dotted the story. There are so many different characters I lost count, from fairies to trolls, dwarves, unicorns and even a dragon. However, the most scariest characters were the lustful nun assassins! Nuns' and assassins are two words you don't normally see together in a sentence, but the author has combined them to create a group of religious zealots who will attack and abuse unwary men and force them to have "relations" with them. I was like, "huh?", but they actually were much more terrifying than any dragon I have come across. I certainly wouldn't like to meet these nuns! If I ever had the misfortune to travel to Quaal, I would hightail it out of there faster than the speed of light! I would suggest you do the same. Unless, of course, you want to be ravaged by nun assassins that is!
There are plenty of sword fights, danger and action, with several twists and turns to keep it interesting. Lord Asher Dark is a rather pathetic villain in my opinion. He is incredibly narcissistic. In fact, he and Renee would have made an interesting romantic match. I found myself putting the book down whenever there was an eye-rolling moment, which was often, but I would quickly pick it back up again to find out what was happening next. What really got to me was Guy's friendship of Renee. Even when she was being a total donkey's bottom to him, he stayed. He is a truly good man, with a huge heart and a tonne of loyalty; I wish he was my friend!
When I reached the end of the book, I was slightly devastated, but I am looking forward to continuing the trilogy and reading the second book, An Affair with Wizards when it is released.
Melanie Hatfield has written a fast paced, entertaining and humorous read that had me giggling and smiling from ear to ear. I love her writing style, which is full of wit and snarky comments, and the flow was wonderful. As this is her debut novel, which combines her love of comedy and fantasy, I can't wait to see what else she comes up with.
Although there is mention of ravishing and other sexual situations, there is nothing explicit. There is also mention of fighting and violence, but it is not gory. Therefore, I recommend this book to readers from the age of 15 upwards and to readers who love humourous fantasy like or similar to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. - Lynn Worton
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