Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Funny Fantasy

I believe ragweed season has struck. Aside from the itchy, watery eyes, my main symptom is total exhaustion. So I fell asleep shortly after 11 last night and woke up at 9 this morning and could still probably go straight to sleep if I let myself.

I spent a lot of yesterday online shopping for a character so I could give the artist a good sense of what she should look like. It's funny how firm an image I have in my head, and yet how unspecific it really is when I'm asked for details. It's really impressionistic, more about a sense and a feel. So I had to find specifics and find a way to search for something that's in my head so I can put it in someone else's head. Maybe this will make me better at description.

Meanwhile, after all my whining about wanting fun, funny fantasy, I found one! Dragon Princess by S. Andrew Swann was laugh-out-loud funny even while being a good fantasy novel rather than a spoof or satire of fantasy novels. Our viewpoint character, Frank, is a thief who got himself in trouble with the Thieves Guild, and doing a job to get himself out of that trouble got him in trouble with a scary magical cult. So now he's on the run and running out of places to run. That makes the offer from the court wizard in a minor, impoverished kingdom more attractive -- the princess has been kidnapped by a dragon, and the man who saves her will get her hand in marriage and end up ruling the kingdom (since they don't have the budget for a reward). The usual knights have failed, but a thief might be able to sneak in, and if he's heir to the throne of a kingdom, that would put him out of reach of the people coming after him. Except it turns out it's all a setup. The wizard just wanted a patsy to swap bodies with so he could claim to be the daring young man who rescued the princess and then he'd get the princess and the throne, and the dragon was in on it all along. But the spell goes wrong, and Frank wakes up to find himself in the body of the princess, and he discovers that the princess is now a dragon. The two of them have to find the others (the dragon and the wizard, whichever bodies they're in) and then find a way to get back in their proper bodies.

So it's kind of a mystery/quest/adventure story with a lot of humor as Frank adjusts to being a petite young woman and everything that goes with it. This body is great for thievery because he can slip into smaller spaces. On the down side, just about every man he runs into either wants to rescue or rape a woman traveling alone (or seemingly traveling alone -- the dragon is quite the nasty surprise, and she's not in favor of her body being abused). The narrative voice lends a lot of the humor, as it's written in first-person, with the narrator having a very dry and sarcastic wit. I will say that the ending is somewhat disconcerting in that it's not at all the expected cliche trope of the genre, so it takes a while to wrap your head around it. I can't tell if this is a standalone or the start of a series. It could stay where it is, but there's an element added at the last minute that seems like it might be sequel fuel.

The forecast for this weekend is calling for a decent chance of rain on Saturday, so I'm planning a big day of reading the stack of books I got from the library.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to Goodreads, there will be a sequel published some time in 2015. Thanks for the recommendation!