Book Review: Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Posted August 15, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 8 Comments

Book Review: Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne
Genres: Fairytale
Published by Del Rey Books on July 17, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Besieged, "The Purloined Poodle", Staked

First in The Tales of Pell fairytale series and revolving around a small band of odd ducks. No, not real ducks, at least not yet.

My Take

Well, Dawson/Hearne had way too much fun writing Kill the Farm Boy. Filled with puns, snark, satire, and parody, it’s an odd combination of fairytales intertwining with the normal life of insurance settlements, mail fraud, the Beard Club for Men, Pickelangelo, ROIs, and cardio exercise.

Ooops, almost forgot that part of society Dawson/Hearne has way too much fun with…partly because I see it so often, lol. It’s a good foreshadowing for me, as I creep up in age, to know that I’ll have a compulsion to read obituaries and complain about the weather and my rheumaticks.

The evil Dark Lord is more of a cowardly wanna-be with delusions. Argabella’s preference for upper-capped words drives me bats, but I do crack up over her and Fia’s “romance”. Poltro’s character is such a weird combination of idiot, klutz, and erudite that I’m rather pleased with her character arc. I suspect the Dread Necromancer Steve is a character who will show up in a later story.

It’s a quest of adventure, skewering tropes and making fun of “white male power fantasies” from the toll-demanding elves, necro-bees and pools of leeches, monsters, the struggles of a misunderstood troll writer, stolen wands, battles, evil spells, a pellet-spouting goat, Pop psychology, and the typical thirst for power, all using third person global subjective point-of-view with insight into everyone’s thoughts and emotions. The major perspectives are from Argabella, Grinda, and Gus, but Fia, Toby, and Poltro aren’t shy, either.

So, if you think Animal House (the movie and Orwell’s book), you’ve about got the atmosphere right. Oh, there are character arcs in here for the core characters. I think Grinda’s was the most obvious, and she was the first to note Gus’ fears.

I do love that ending though. The king at the end is a treat and a half with being so trustworthy. Lord, it won’t stop after that, the populace will be demanding so much more after that…just like we keep hoping for proper attention. And it’s that ending that also tells us where the series will continue to leap.

The Story

He is the Chosen One, the hero who is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

Saddled with an unexpected companion, the Chosen One sets out on his quest, gathering companions on this sinister journey of chickens, cheese, and umlauts, battling elves, trolls, and dark magics.

Truly a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

The Characters

The land of Borix lies within the Kingdom of Pell

The family barnyard in…
…Borix is where Worstley is a pooboy, fed up with cleaning out the barn. Bestley had been his handsome older brother. Gustave is the chatty goat with an unending hoard of pellets.

In the castle at Borix,
…the hirsute Lady Harkovrita, the earl, the countess, and Oxnard the guard, along with everyone else but Argabella, a rabbity bard who wanted to be an accountant, are sleeping.

The well-muscled and very strong vegetarian, Fia the Mighty, clad in a chain-mail bikini and armed with her enchanted sword, shears, and a truly wicked bottle opener, is on a quest. Bief had been a childhood friend. Prince Konnan is from the east, seeking adventure and a wife. Seems he’s also a friend of the Dread Steve.

Malefic Reach is…
…home base for the Dark Lord, a.k.a., Toby Fitzherbert, who is perfection himself with breads and whose goal is turtlehogs and unfettered access to fine cheeses. His father, the elder Toby, had been a true Dark Lord. Dementeria is his daytime housekeeper. The gorgeous yet incredibly clumsy Poltro, a.k.a., rogue — she bloody hates chickens; Snowflake is her gorgeous black stallion. Morvin is her brother who also works for Toby. Cutter is a huntsman who had trained Poltro. Moxie and Doxy are Toby’s oxen.

Malefic Beach is…
…home base for Grinda the Goode Witche, a.k.a., Grinda the Sand Witch, who has a love for crabs and the beach and is Worstley’s aunt. The sisters grew up poor in Cape Gannet, Burdell. Milieu Goobersnootch (of the Caskcooper Goobersnootches) is Grinda’s halfling butler.

Hornswoggle is a good cheesemaker. Nardstromp’s is a shop (and a trap) for wizards. Just ask Merlin and Glandalf.

The Morningwood is…
…the magical elvish home of Sylvinadrielle; Prince Bargolas who hates his father, King Rodmoore; and, Dribblesprig, a guard.

Songlen is…
…the capital of the kingdom of Pell. King Benedick is a drunkard who loves his Kolonic and was recently give a full cask of Amon Tiyado. Hurlga is Gus’ governess. Mondeux Goobersnootch, Milieu’s cousin, is the new butler.

Grinda’s halfling contact, Humbert Beadlebone of the Cheapmeat Beadlebones sells information. Mathilde is a witch who was turned into a marmoset by Løcher. The Braided Beard inn is owned by Yåløndå Køpkümp and other hygienic dwarves who hail from Håpipøle. The goats include Cynthia, Dierdre, and Meredith. The soldiers who attacked include Petyr.

Løcher is chamberlain to the king and a very powerful wizard. Staph is a very disgusting pixie and his accomplice. His alarm goats include Beatrix (she ate one of Staph’s blue socks), Blurt is the goatkeeper.

Lord Ergot of Bruding is easily bribed although he has issues. Staph insists that Butterblossom is a no-talent harpy. The dwarves live in Korpås Range. In crossing the Titan Toothpicks, they encounter Ol’ Faktri, who intends to eat them so he can keep his hair. The prickly Yör is the steward for the Catacombs of Yör? Yore?, which is also the resting place of the Most Glorious and Puissant Hiruod Brønsted. Outside it lives Belladonna, a healer in the Order of Erotonia (they use the healing powers of the sextopusFabio is the one who healed Argabella), just beyond the tongues. Bigolo is Belladonna’s assistant. Assassins Anonymous has AA meetings. Holden McBonecrunch is a troll unlike his father. The Dread Necromancer Steve had dated Fia once upon a time.

The Council of Merlins. NyeQuell is a cheap healing potion.

The Cover and Title

The cover is an odd blend of woodcut in the red and DARK red hill of a path up which the Farm Boy and his goat companion ascend, followed by that “vicious” chicken. Brushstrokes of green grass thrust up around the hill with a bright white light swirling over the group. The upper three-fourths of the cover is framed by warm brown trees with leafy green canopies, arching over a lone gray tower with a peaked copper roof on which the bright sun splashes out with warm, sunny yellow rays. A fanciful border of gold vines, shields, swords, flowers, tentacles, and bugs gives a sense of grace all around it. Angling up in the center is a hammered copper gothic font for the title. A punning comment is in the same deep red of the hill at the lower left just above the white text that starts with an info blurb and then the authors’ names.

The title is the Dark Lord’s plan, Kill the Farm Boy.

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