Kill the Farm Boy (The Tales of Pell #1) by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne
There is something about a talking goat in a fantasy novel that sets the stage for shenanigans. But Shenanigans are just one of the reasons I adore Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne. Also, I’m reasonably sure these two were a part of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and they got kicked unceremoniously.
My vote is they pulled something like this:
And the other party members were just humorless goons that pulled rank and kicked them out. Thus resulting in this book that quite frankly if it doesn’t get made into a television series, I will lose faith in humanity and nerds collectively.
What I love about this book is not just the characters, but how the characters subvert and make fun of fantasy expectations. Tropes abound, but they are only there to be made fun of, and I am here for it.
The first three characters we run into are Worstly, Gustave, and Staph the Pixie. I’m not going to lie, I am a huge Gustave fan and will live and die for him. No goat curry!
Gustave is the talking goat if you aren’t picking up what I’m throwing down. He wasn’t born this way though, it’s all because of Staph [infection] the pixie. She made Gustave talk to prove to Worstly that he is, in fact, the chosen one. This works.
Worstly and Gustave then head out on their adventure as the chosen one and his bumbling talking sidekick. We then flash left where we meet Dark Lord Toby, whom I also will live and die for. Get those artisan crackers for my main man! There’s also his rogue Poltro who’s main character defect is not being stealthy and having an irrational fear of chickens. She’s also not super smart, but you kind of forgive that what with everything else going on.
The last of the characters to join the guild is Argabella, a she-rabbit bard with daddy issues. Along with Fia who is a woman warrior that could basically be Brianne from GoT, love problems included. If I were to ship any characters it would be Argabella and Fia, no question.
With all the players ready they head out on a few adventures where they die. Multiple times. We have giants, we have trolls, we have a sand witch that takes them to a goblin market.
The story follows an overarching plot with mini sidequests that the characters go on. It really is a treat if you are a nerd with a particular fondness for dungeon crawlers. I’m not going to lie, this is my number one book of 2020 thus far.
I can’t really go too much more into detail because spoilers are a thing and I think the fun and beauty of this book is the journey. It sounds incredibly corny, but facts are facts. I can’t in good conscience give you more details because honestly, you should just read this book for yourself.
The last time I laughed out loud while reading a book was Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. So it is a crowning achievement in my eyes that this book manages to do the same. Also, notice how both are written by two authors? Coincidence? I think not.
This is clearly the first novel in a series and I, for one plan on reading what comes next. So get your goat and ride out on your own Dungeons & Dragons adventure by reading this book!