"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

11 March 2012

Review: The Dark Lord's Handbook - Paul Dale

This was sent to me as an ARC and I was really looking forward to reading it as it sounded so interesting and alot of fun. Paul Dale has done a great job of writting an original fantasy story based on all the stereotypical tropes that you find in the fantasy genre. It was alot of fun and definitely worth the read. Fans of fantasy should definitely check this out for a fun read.
Here's my review of The Dark Lord's Handbook:
4/5 stars - Alot of fun. Had me laughing most of the time.

This book was a barrel of laughs. I found myself laughing to myself and sometimes groaning at some of the more obvious jokes. I thought that the author did a great job of weaving a fun and exciting fantasy story together with a satirical and comical view of the genre. As a lover of fantasy I could pick up on the jokes being presented in the story, but really isn’t the whole story just one big comical take on the genre? Page after page you were bombarded with the usual fantasy tropes, thrown in your face by the author for dramatic comic effect. But the story isn’t just one big joke, it is also a story that sucks you in. I found myself interested in the fates of the characters, because even though the author plays about with the usual fantasy tropes the story doesn’t quite add up to the normal endings found in such stories. I found this a fun read, great for a spot of light reading. The jist of it is that there’s a handy step by step guide showing all the potential Dark Lord’s how to act, breathe and sound like one. But when a Dark Lord begins to ‘rise’ so do others who intend to help him, or oppose him.

The characters were depicted hilariously. There was a whole bunch of them, from the Dark Lord to the Hero and to the Damsel in Distress. But they don’t quite act in the stereotypical way such characters do. The damsel in distress for example has the filthiest mouth out of any characters in the novel, constantly cursing and shouting at anything that moves. The Hero is a dim-witted fool with a magical blood-thirsty sword, who just constantly gets everything wrong. The Dark Lord is not completely evil and I found myself egging him on, not wanting him to fall prey to any of the ‘good guys’ who were searching for him. The story and the characters all point to one thing; everything isn’t as it seems.

The story was filled with action, adventure and drama. And there is plenty of drama. At one point I felt as if I’d stumbled onto the set of Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer. It was hilarious and just added yet another layer of satire and comedy to the whole story. It deals with all of the usual, stereotypical fantasy tropes that you see in many fantasy novels and the author just completely takes the mickey out of it all. I really enjoyed it as a fun story and as satire.

This book was just a fun read, one that you can immerse yourself in completely. If you want to read a fantasy book that isn’t quite the usual fantasy book then this is the book for you. It is highly amusing, has great original (not quite the word seeing as they’re based on stereotypes but their fates aren’t quite the same) characters and an exciting storyline. Definitely one to read for a different take on fantasy and to have a good laugh in the process. The only reason why I gave it 4 stars and not a full 5 is just because I prefer serious epic fantasy and I wasn’t drawn in at some points during the story but all in all it is a pretty good read; definitely one for fans of the fantasy genre to have a laugh whilst reading.

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