Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In which the reviewer expounds upon the notion that this is a Whacking Good Story, featuring heroic derring-do and perfidious villainy amid slaughter on a monumental scale, a Touching Love Story, and a good many puns.
Cyrus Solburg is the squire of the noble-hearted though dense hero Sir Reginald Ogleby, known as the Crimson Slash. Endowed with superhuman powers and desire to express them, heroes like the Crimson Slash fight villains with similar inclinations in a medieval world populated with a number of sentient races and various magical creatures. The two groups are regulated by the International Guild of Heroes and it's sinister counterpart, the Brotherhood of the Black Hand.
The two guilds manage an on-going stalemate, hoping to avert a second worldwide war. The first world war was fought by heroes and villains, using the full onslaught of their powers. Known as the Twenty Minute War, this conflict lasting 20 minutes nearly ended all life on the planet.
Enter the arch-villain Voshtyr Demonkin, who is determined not to repeat the mistakes his side made in that disastrous conflict. With the unfolding of Voshtyr's dastardly plot, things do not look good for our heroes.
Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds takes more than a few gentle swipes at the fantasy genre. OK, general head-bashing is more like it. Therein lies the strength and weakness of this very likable tale, which refuses to take itself seriously, yet is part of an underlying heroic epic Mitchel calls The Hero Complex.
I would favorably compare Hero, Second Class to other classic humorous fantasy stories that include L. Sprague De Camp's The Compleat Enchanter, one of my all time favorites.
Christian concepts are integral to the story, yet do not bash the reader with an overt evangelistic pitch. To paraphrase fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, this story is about looking at life in an entirely new way.
Hero, Second Class is a story that I could re-read, especially should the next installment of the Hero Complex be released. I would recommend it to fantasy lovers who love gentle puns, marvelous heroic feats, and do not mind Capital Letters in the least.
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