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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review Pile Cleanup Review 3: Magnus Opum

Title: Magnus Opum
Author: Jonathan Gould
Page Count: 310 KB (208 print pages)
Publisher: self-published
Genre: Fantasy
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review

Back Cover Summary:
A story about a little person in a very big world.

Magnus Mandalora never thought he would leave the safe confines of the small homely village of Lower Kertoob. He certainly never expected to end up in the middle of a long-running war between the saintly Cherines and the beastly Glurgs. But when circumstance places him in such a dubious position, he finds himself on a rollicking adventure where nothing is quite as it seems.

Magnus Opum is an epic fantasy that's slightly skewed - Tolkien with a twist.

In the grand style of the squeaky wheel and the grease, there's been plenty of attention paid to poorly-behaving people lately.  I've seen a lot of people changing their review policies to say that they will no longer read books by indie authors, or will only read books from authors they've worked with before, in order to prevent an attack of the crazies.  It's a sad thing, because I've had nothing but good experiences with indie authors up to this point.  I'm not saying that there are not crazy people out there, but they have definitely soured many people's perceptions.  Their damage is far-reaching.

Anyway, if you've never read a book by an indie author before, I highly recommend starting with any of the books written by Jonathan Gould, particularly if you like a great combination of adventure, wit, and great writing.  I've reviewed two of his other books (Doodling and Flidderbugs) and I have to say that Magnus Opum is my favorite one yet.

The back cover blurb describes the story as "Tolkien with a twist," but there were plenty of other elements to be read and enjoyed as well- a dash of Douglas Adams, a pinch of Terry Pratchett, a morsel of Monty Python. I think I even felt a smidgen of Seuss in there somewhere.  Okay, okay, I'll stop now.  Seriously though, rather than be a simple reimagining of epic fantasy, the author's obvious enjoyment of the genre was front and center throughout the entire story.

This is the story of Magnus, a Kertoobi, who should have been happy to stay in his village and bake pies for the rest of his life.  The mysterious murder of his brother changed all that, and what follows is the story of Magnus deciding that there is a bigger task for him to fulfill than simply the baking and selling of pies.  As he sets out from home for the first time, he freely admits that epic quests are a stupid idea and that he has no idea what he's doing; in the tradition of all adventurers, though, he doesn't let that stop him.

As is often the case with epic quests, we meet lots of interesting characters along the way- one of my favorites was the Great Oponium, who was immediately cast as Mel Brooks in my mind.  These folks have varying degrees of assistance to offer to our quest party, but the fun is in meeting them, isn't it?  Saving the world and seeing it all at the same time!

All is not as it seems in the timeless battle between the perfect Cherines and the evil, destructive Glurgs, since nothing is ever that black and white, after all.  The history behind the war between the Cherines and the Glurgs was particularly Seussical.

This would make a fun read aloud for kids or grownups or an even better bedtime story, as there's plenty of adventure and mischief to keep readers engaged.  If you're new to the world of self-published authors and want to start your journey off properly, here is a great place to start.

Overall Rating:

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