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308 pages, Paperback
First published December 15, 2020
“Nadi’s response was strangely intense, and she gave me a look that indicated either fierce conviction or long-term constipation (though I suppose those two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive).”
“So read on, brave souls…adventure awaits. And shenanigans. There will definitely be shenanigans.”
“I’m all in favor of using the people’s vernacular, but sometimes the people should get a bigger vernacular and know what words mean.”
Every once in a while, though, the truth turns out to be far more interesting than the tales bards tell in taverns; it’s just rare that bards actually know the truth behind the songs they sing, and so the ale-swilling public misses out on some truly epic—or, at least, epically weird—stories.A reading challenge to read a book connected to the phrase “Here (There) Be Dragons” inspired me to finally read The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True, written by Goodreads reviewer extraordinaire, Sean Gibson. Seriously, check out his review for Ice Planet Barbarians. If I ever write a review that great, I’ll drop the mic and retire from the reviewing game.
So read on, brave souls… adventure awaits. And shenanigans. There will definitely be shenanigans.
Is this the best mediocre comic fantasy about a self-styled legendary bard and four neophyte adventurers aiming to take on a very unusual dragon on behalf of a bunch of dim-witted villagers?
"While we appreciate your opinion, as always, Farmer Benton," replied the Alderman smoothly, "I'm quite sure that it's not the Widow Gershon's unwillingness to, ah, lay [sic] with you that's causing the dragon to attack. As such, burning her at the stake is unlikely to resolve our situation."
"Ach! How much do ye ken fer suren? Might culd be her monthly bleed!"
"I haven't had a monthly bleed in fifteen years, you tiny-todgered pig lover!"
"[Heloise] had a real nice can, too, if it's not improper to say," continued the man.
"It actually is," replied the Alderman. "Exceedingly improper, in fact."
"Ah, yes, well, no one means to suggest that the racial heritage of our good heroes would be in any way an impediment. After all, we here in Skendrick draw great strength from our, ah, diversity of, ah, um, well, our diversity of points of view, I suppose." He surveyed the all-white, all-human, mostly male, universally stupid assemblage.
I am, if not the most well-known bard in Erithea (yet), arguably the most talented, and unarguably the cleverest. I also wouldn’t quibble if you suggested that I’m the most beautiful, but that’s just because I’m very agreeable (and beautiful)...
Decades ago, I was sworn to secrecy regarding the true story of the great and terrible “Dragonia,” but recent developments have released me from that promise, and so I can finally tell the tale.
“You’re not half as funny as you think you are, as I suspect you have a very high opinion of yourself.”
“My opinion of myself is in direct proportion to my amazingness,” I said sweetly.
You know by this point that one of my main goals in telling this story is to show that the adventuring life isn’t all it’s thought to be. It’s mostly boring, frustrating, dangerous (though not excitingly dangerous), smelly (dear gods, so smelly), and not particularly lucrative. Occasionally, however, it’s exactly how the songs make it sound, and in those moments, it’s easy to see why people—even smart, capable people like Nadi—would devote their lives to doing something so irrational. Let the record show that entering a dragon’s lair for the first time is one of those moments, and it’s fair to say that each member of our intrepid band experienced more than a frisson of excitement as we crept across that threshold.