Thank you to Sean Gibson for an ARC of The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True and Storytellers on Tour for allowing me to highjack another tour. (It pays to know people)
Make sure you check out what the other Roadies post during the tour!
|Series: Heloise the Bard #1
|Date of Publishing: December 15th, 2020
|Trigger Warnings: bathroom humour?
|Page count: 308
|Publisher: The Parliament House
Sure, you think you know the story of the fearsome red dragon, Dragonia. How it terrorized the village of Skendrick until a brave band of heroes answered the noble villagers’ call for aid. How nothing could stop those courageous souls from facing down the dragon. How they emerged victorious and laden with treasure.
But, even in a world filled with epic adventures and tales of derring-do, where dragons, goblins, and unlicensed prestidigitators run amok, legendary heroes don’t always know what they’re doing. Sometimes they’re clueless. Sometimes beleaguered townsfolk are more hapless than helpless. And orcs? They’re not always assholes, and sometimes they don’t actually want to eat your children.
Heloise the Bard, Erithea’s most renowned storyteller (at least, to hear her tell it), is here to set the record straight. See, it turns out adventuring isn’t easy, and true heroism is as rare as an articulate villager.
Having spent decades propagating this particular myth (which, incidentally, she wrote), she’s finally able to tell the real story—for which she just so happened to have a front-row seat.
Welcome to Erithea. I hope you brought a change of undergarments—things are going to get messy.
“Tunnel goblins,” noted Whiska as she inspected the corpse of one of the creatures Nadi had taken down. “We’re close.”
“What do you mean?” asked Rummy.
“Tunnel goblins always serve a stronger, more powerful master—often a minotaur. They’re utterly useless in a fight—sort of like you—and they’re morons—also sort of like you—but they’re fast and good scouts—unlike you. They also breed so fast they make rabbits look like the Ascetics of Bava.” (Ascetics of Bava, it should be noted, are not only not allowed to engage in conjugal relations, but need to chop off their means of engaging in said relations prior to joining the sect. I guess you could say that’s the only sects they get after that point.)
(If anyone wants to hit a snare drum for me right now, I’d appreciate it.)
All Star by Smash Mouth
The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True was a different kind of story for me. I actually don’t read a lot of comedy but I decided to give this one a go because well, for one, I had read The Camelot Shadow by this author and enjoyed it a lot. It’s a great book btw. everyone should check it out (but don’t expect a comedy). And secondly, I follow Sean Gibson’s reviews on Goodreads. He is a bit of a nut and they make me laugh a lot.
Like Sean’s reviews this story was fun, sometimes silly, but always entertaining.
Heloise the Bard aims to set the record straight in a humorously verbose tale of one of her past adventures where the villagers of Skendrick looked to hire on anyone willing to slay a dragon – with prestige as their reward, of course, as the town coffers were on the light-side.
The adventuring party is made up of a diverse (but ridiculously named) collection of fantasy races:
Rumscabble Tooltinker – the half dwarf/half halfling prestidigitator. Nandinta Ghettinwood – I actually can’t remember what race she was. Borgunder Gunderbor – the rock giant was my favourite. I got a kick out of how three conversations later he would comment on something they were previously talking about, and everyone just rolled with his slowness. And lastly Whiska Tailiesen – the insult throwing rat-person/wizard.
Luckily, they all have easy to remember suitable nicknames. And of course, there is Heloise who joined the party as the equivalent of a Fox News ‘reporter on the scene’. She is there because she wants to bring first-hand account knowledge to add that bit of realism to her tales.
There was something about Heloise I liked. Not sure if it was the very modest view of herself (said with all sarcasm – I don’t think I have met a prouder character) combined with a little of that dry humour, or what, but she was just different enough from the usual charming sarcastic lead, to enjoy her wit. And I also enjoyed her kind of rambly narrative. It felt a little like the conversations I have with my girlfriend, in the way the non-stop chatter gets easily sidetracked filling in other details while telling the story (I now know how my husband feels listening to us).
We get Heloise’s story in two versions. First the chapter with the jazzed-up bard version, and then the chapter with the what really happened hilarious version. And these just get more outrageous as the story progresses.
The humour in this book is not always subtle but it is layered. Pay attention because in between the mischievous stabs at fantasy tropes, the word play, and the down-right absurd, you may miss that occasional deeper joke among the liberal use of bathroom humour that fills in the gaps.
It’s a style that did take me a little while to settle into in the long-form, and not all of it landed with me but other parts – I’m still rolling my eyes and chuckling about days later. Especially the silly things like that fight with the dragon…where the joke (past the obvious) took me a few pages to sink in but I see what you did there and I am still snickering over it.
TLDR: Goofy fun. Sit back and let yourself be entertained, as our little adventuring group bickers their way through some very messy situations in their quest to make a name for themselves.