I’ll be honest, I figured I’d be giving this book a 1 star review after only a chapter. And for the first 79% of it (according to my Kindle), that is exactly what it was. Pure stubbornness was all that kept me going…as in I am extremely stubborn. I was so disappointed. It gets rave reviews because it is supposed to be a humorous fantasy. This was a poor imitation of Terry Pratchet.
The Plot: This is a story about a magician’s apprentice named Skeeve after his master is killed by an Imp while summoning a magician from another dimension. Unfortunately, and fortunately, for Skeeve the demon his master summoned, a Prevert named Aahz, list his powers en route. This forces Skeeve and Aahz to not only work together to stop the man who killed Sleeve’s master from taking over all the dimensions, but to also have Aahz teach Skeeze what he knows of magic…turns out Skeeve’s master was not as forthcoming in his studies as he should have been.
The World Building: This book was about a world that lives parallel to multiple dimensions. Each dimension has its own populace with its own threats and levels of magical talents. The descriptions of various dimensions came up as needed and no more detail was given than what was necessary for the role in the story. It was a very TELL rather than SHOW way of writing, but honestly I felt that with the author having so many balls in the air, the telling was necessary. There was very little background or sense of place. One second you are in a cabin, then you are wandering aimlessly in a forest, suddenly you are at an inn. It was schizophrenic displacement.
The Characters: Here we come to my real gripe. I couldn’t STAND the main characters.
Skeeve was a “But…” man. As in always whining, “But Aahz…?” All the darn time. I almost threw my reading across the room. Almost filed it in DNF because it was so very awful. He whined. He was naive. He didn’t seem to learn anything. He had no confidence. He was constantly asking questions. He didn’t freaking listen or know when to shut up. Quite frankly, he annoyed the ever-loving crap out of me and had ZERO character development. As he learned more magic, hishis lack confidence and child-like behavior should have tapered off. Not so.
Now we come to main character numero dos, Aahz. The man was a talker. Blabbing all the time. He didn’t listen either. Even on the rare occasion when Skeeve had a valid point, Aahz was too busy listening to the sound of his own voice. We all have that family member…you know the one I mean…they talk and talk and at the end of the marathon you realize they never actually SAID anything? That is Aahz. Don’t mistake me, on occasion his talking saved the day and it might have been more humorous had the other characters had more meat to their personalities. But as it is, it was mostly grating.
At the 79% point when the story finally started to improve, it was because tolerable supporting characters were added. Not the least of which was a dragon who only ate and said “Gleep.”
Overall: The story went going nowhere fast.The characters were mostly dreadful. The ending was suddenly haphazardly thrown in as if the author suddenly realized there needed to be one but he was too tired so he broad brushed it and went to bed. If it wasn’t for the last bit finally picking up speed…well let us just say that 1.5 stars is where I am sitting. It finally started to get amusing at the end.
I might be tempted to TRY book number 2 in the series to see if this was just a slow starter…but I would immediately put it down if it didn’t vastly improve by the end if the first chapter.