By: Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: The Tales of Pell
I was very curious when I first heard about Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne. Written by two authors I really like and with a fun premise, I was excited. After all, who doesn’t like a trope smashing, funny, romp through a fantasy world?
Kill the Farm Boy is a book that aims to poke fun at tropes, fantasy adventures, chosen ones, and pretty much anything and everything associated with the fantasy genre. Those who love humorous takes on familiar fantasy tropes will find a lot of fun here, so long as your sense of humor matches the book’s tone. As for plot, this is a standard Chosen One fantasy adventure, but with a twist. The expected twists and turns of hte journey are thwarted at every turn, and when the character do follow the expected path, the unexpected has the tendency of occurring.
The characters are at once familiar faces and completely turned on their head. Many fit standard tropes – the adorable animal friend, the chosen one, the warrior, the wizard, etc. Yet, like so much of this book, all common tropes and themes are thrown completely on their head. The wizard is a dark lord, if you ask him, but he’s really a rather sweet if misunderstood man. The warrior just wants to raid some castles and make enough cash to afford something more than bikini chain mail armor. And the chosen one? Well, his story may be the most unforeseen of all. These characters aren’t just walking anti-tropes or gags, though. They undergo some real character development throughout the course of the book, and have very real personalities and goals.
It was these characters which kept me reading. I was honestly attached to several of them. The world is populated by very likable people with their own goals and motivations. Even when a character themselves isn’t a saint, they are compelling nonetheless. I wanted to learn more about them, and get in their head to see what was going on. However, certain other aspects of this book were just a bit too much.
I am a very staunch fan of smashing tropes in either very serious or very comedic ways. I really enjoy spoofs and comedies. The first few chapters of this were amazing. I was honestly loving it. But as the novel wore on I found the jokes falling somewhat short. Look, either this sort of humor is going to be exactly what you’re looking for or very much not your cup of tea. I don’t see much middle ground here. There is a lot of potty humor. Poop jokes abound. There are dick jokes. There are dad jokes. These are repeated often, and sometimes with little variance. While I was amused at first these jokes tended to just be wearying or eye rolling towards the middle and end of the novel.
Even so, I do like how the traditional chosen one’s journey panned out within Kill the Farm Boy. Parts of this were a lot of fun. The world the story is set in is one that just abounds with magic and fantastical things. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. And the map at the beginning of the book is both detailed and very funny, with written in comments from the characters in some places.
Am I going to be reading more in this series? I’m not sure. While I read this book in its entirety, I did find myself groaning rather than chuckling at times. It’s simply an unfortunate happenstance that the humor isn’t to my tastes. If you like seeing tropes absolutely demolished and humorous takes on fantasy you might want to pick up a copy of Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne and see for yourself how it fares.