A review copy was provided by Mark Gottlieb, courtesy of the Trident Media Group.
Fantasy is, without a doubt, my favorite genre and has been for much of my life. Even more than standard fantasy, I love stories that lovingly poke fun at the common tropes found with such tales. Thus, when I had the chance to read an early copy of Witches Be Crazy by Logan J. Hunder, I jumped at the chance to read a book that promised to offer a hilarious spin on a classic quest story line.
Witches Be Crazy follows Dungar, a blacksmith (and reluctant inn-keeper) living in the rural desert city of Woodwall. One day, a mysterious figure informs him that the Kingdom of Jenair’s princess is actually a witch in disguise who destroyed another nearby kingdom. Word has spread that the princess is seeking a husband, so Dungar sets out under the guise of a suitor with the goal of slaying the witch. Along the way, the angry and uptight Dungar encounters numerous colorful characters and companions, doing everything from participating in a gladiatorial coliseum to joining a pirate crew in order to rob a magical (possibly sentient) tree.
Logan J. Hunder is a newer author, but already shows great promise in Witches Be Crazy. Hunder exudes great wit through his writing, offer numerous clever jokes that fantasy fans will eat up. With references including everything from Les Miserables to South Park, there’s a breadth of humor buried within the story. This added layer of subtle humor makes the book even more enjoyable, as a clever reader will feel both humor and pride picking out these moments. Hunder is also especially skilled with puns, including such cleverly named locales as the Lotsotri Forest.
Though Witches Be Crazy derives much of its humor from the aforementioned avenues, some of the best moments come from characters’ interactions. Jimminy, Dungar’s main travelling companion, is a ridiculous character that drives Dungar (and perhaps even the reader) up the wall, but remains hilarious nevertheless. The character work is so strong, even, that the reader can’t help but feel drawn to these characters. When placed in truly dire situations, or when misery is thrust upon them, I found myself feeling great empathy for Dungar, Jimminy, and company.
Witches Be Crazy does fall short a few times during the book. About 2/3 of the way into the story, there is somewhat of a tangent in Dungar’s adventure, and while at first I enjoyed the events, I ultimately felt they dragged on too long and pulled away from the central story. Luckily, things didn’t stay off track too long, but there was a fifty page stretch that I feel could be cut without impacting either the central plot or the humor too terribly. The ending was another area of contention; there is a large Deus Ex Machina that solves things a bit too nicely, and I wasn’t too fond of the ending reveal.
Overall, Witches Be Crazy is a very fun book. I enjoyed it so much I read through the entirety of it in three days, and loved the vast majority of the story. If you’re looking for a hilarious fantasy adventure with great character work, I urge you to check out Witches Be Crazy when it premiers.
Witches Be Crazy is in stores this July.
-entertaining characters and situations
-exciting battle scenes
-creative world building
-story drags a little about 2/3 of the way in
-Deus Ex Machina ending
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