I bought this on a whim at the bookstore because of the blurb on the front of the book ("Once. A pun. A time.") and I started reading it after a week full of crappy migraines. I can't even begin to explain how much I loved this book, I've seen people say it's like Terry Pratchett or The Princess Bride and I have to agree. I kept sending pictures to my friends because parts were too funny not to share.
Title: Kill the Farm Boy
Author: Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Page Number: 364, hardcover
Genre: Fantasy, humor, fiction
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.
This is basically 300+ pages of a fairy tale parody. It begins with the farm boy ("Worstley...who had a brother called "Bestley") who has been given an enchantment and turned into the "Chosen One" by a drunken fairy. Also enchanted is Worstley's goat ("Gustave") who is now able to talk. The two of them set out on a quest to save the princess who is under a sleep enchantment.
The next character introduced is the Dark Lord, named Toby, who has a fondness for artisanal cheese and crackers. Toby also is hoping to become an even more evil dark lord but his magic isn't strong enough and his beard game is weak. When he discovers that there is a new "Chosen One" he decides to send his assassin after him to cut out his heart. This will help him grow his magic (and beard). The assassin is named Poltro and she has a fear of chickens.
Worstley and Gustave enter the sleeping kingdom and run afoul of Fia, a warrior/gardener. Fia is interested in collecting the magic rose in order to win the Kingdom of Pell's garden show and then retire. Fia also meets Argabella, a cursed bard who has been turned into a bunny (or half-bunny...she's bunny-like).
Eventually, they are joined by Toby and the group goes to meet Grinda, the Sand Witch, in hopes of reversing Argabella's spell and to fulfill the Chosen One prophecy.
With Grinda joining them, the group begins their quest. While this is a parody and satirical in nature, filled with puns, there are still all the fantasy tropes that need to be fulfilled. There is an epic quest, fighting giants, trolls, magic, etc.
I want to especially point out that this is LGBTQ friendly, as the only romance in the book (contemporaneous romance) is between Fia and Argabella. Their romance is not mocked and is actually quite sweet and light.
I thought this book was fairly progressive, skewering the white, male "choosen one" trope (whereas, the Choosen One is SOOOO special and all the other characters are meant for him and if a woman does exist, its in an uncomfortable chain mail bikini). I tend to get bored reading some fantasy books because of this trope so I found this part of the book to be fantastic. The female characters are strong (again, another weakness in some fantasy series). The writing is smooth and I couldn't tell which author wrote which part.
I thought this was very Pratchett/Princess Bride but it is full of puns. I love puns. I'm not sure how to further explain my love for this book because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else who wants to read. I think you'll know if this book is a keeper after the first three chapters (I was hooked after two).
This is the first in a series (there are at least three planned out from my internet sleuthing) with the next book coming out in 2019. I adored this book and gave it five stars.