Friday, January 21, 2011
Review: Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds
I expected Hero, Second Class to be funny but I wasn’t prepared for the laugh out loud giggle fest it turned out to be. I learned fast not to drink soda while reading. Or tea. And forget coffee. Not unless I wanted to change my blouse after spitting all over myself laughing.
But enough about me!
First time novelist Mitchell Bonds takes the reader on a hilarious jaunt through the imaginary kingdom of Centra Mundi. Along the way, he manages to skew every time honored fantasy tradition in the history of literature. Possibly even in Hollywood. Most definitely on television and certainly those that have been canonized ad infinitum in video games. Maybe because Bonds was only twenty when he wrote this tome (607pages)—nothing was sacred.
The main character,Cyrus Solburg languishes on the tropical isle of Starspeak, second largest in the Citrus Island chain (loved Bonds’ gift for world building) and dreams of becoming a Hero just like dear old Dad. His chance comes when two members of the International Guild of Heroes land on his isolated island seeking recruits. And yes, Heroes have a guild with by laws, training manuals and standard issue weaponry. As do their dastardly counter parts. After a few miss steps and some infuriating roadblocks …things are never easy for our heroes … Cyrus is accepted as an apprentice.
Young Cyrus’ journey to full herodom is complicated by a valorous mentor who narrates his battles, a half-demon arch villain bent on world domination, a droll dragon, and most notably, a feisty cat girl with amorous intentions. There are Manticores, Chimereas , good Mages, evil Mages, High Elves, Mean Elves, and the little known Average Elves. And did I mention Cyrus’ bizarre, uncontrollable ability to shoot lightning bolts from his fingertips?
Bonds’ writing is fresh, witty and packed with some of the most dazzling action scenes I’ve read in a long time. Characters are fully fleshed out, surprisingly; even minor ones. The world of Centra Mundi is so fully realized, I found myself reluctant to depart after reading ‘the end’.
Luckily, there’s a sequel coming soon and frankly, I can’t wait.