The story opens on a boy named Worstley mucking out the stalls on his family’s farm. He laments about the drudgery of his daily life until a pixie shows up and tells him that he is the Chosen One. To prove it, she gives his goat, Gustave, the power to talk. His new destiny in hand, Worstley leaves the family farm to travel to a nearby castle with a sleeping princess. He is promptly crushed by a woman named Fia, who had also been trying to get into the tower. Thus ends Worsley’s destiny. Fia and Gustave team up, and Fia makes a second attempt at the tower, making it in and rescuing a half-woman, half-rabbit bard named Argabella who was trapped inside. Together they try to figure out if Worstley can be resurrected, and Fia tries to find the perfect rose to create the most lovely rose garden in all of Pell. Along the way they pick up several other members for their party. The first of them is Poltro, a clumsy rogue who is deathly afraid of chickens. Next is the Dark Lord Toby, who isn’t actually all that dark at all, most spells ending up being bread-based. They add Grinda the Sand Witch to their party some time later, with her reluctantly leaving her beach estate to help in their adventures. The group of them face giants, trolls, goblins, soldiers, and their deepest fears along the road to solve an interconnected, convoluted system of problems endeavoring to make the world a better place.
This book was a thoroughly enjoyable read, it will have you in stitches the whole way through. The authors chose to play off of common fantasy tropes, the rural, white, working class male that is “Chosen” for something great and goes off on a long adventure, saving the princess, falling in love, and rising to power. The ending is assured, this will be any normal fantasy novel. NOPE you thought, now he’s dead. What happens now that the Chosen One is dead? Who will do what he was meant to do? The Chosen One ends up being the one no one would expect, and all the characters learn and grow and change throughout the novel. It makes for a very satisfying story arc. There is also a lot of diversity within the novel that is refreshing. Many characters are people of color, with many different body types and there are even LGBTQ characters included in the story as well. This book has it all: diversity, a good story, awesome characterization and world building, and most importantly: humor!
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