Thu 30 Dec, 2010
Hero Wanted, by Dan McGirt
Hero Wanted follows the adventures of a woodcutter/turnip farmer from the podunk village of Lower Hicksnittle. His life is turned upside-down one day when he learns that someone has been setting him up as a dangerous character with an outsize bounty attached. Through a series of adventures covering coincidental meetings, hair-breadth escapes, and more than a little deus-ex-machina, he discovers that he is the descendant of a legendary hero with the same name, destined to bring about a new age of peace–or something like that.
Dan McGirt combines influences drawn from Asprin, from Anthony, from Pratchett, from White, and numerous other fantasy authors into a melange of fantasy that pays obvious homage to the comic genius that it drew influence from.
A little bit too obvious.
The fourth wall strains with this one. Some sequences seem a little bit too close in derivation to their sources–one of them, in particular, reads suspiciously similarly to one of Asprin’s running jokes in his Myth-Adventures series. While some of the punning names are not -quite- so blatantly there for the sake of the pun as in Anthony’s work, the style comes perilously close at times. The actions of the Gods smell a little too close to their personalities in Pratchett’s books (though, sadly, leaving out DEATH AND HIS CHARACTERISTIC SPEECH–likely for the sake of a punning name on a magic item later on in the book), and the relationship between the young boy of no repute growing up under the tutelage of a master wizard with surprising connections is…not uncommon.
That’s not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable–it was, in parts, very much so. The book was written to be far too self-aware, though; every bit that was the least bit clever was surrounded by pointers quite nearly shouting “Hey, look at this clever bit here! Did you get the pun? Look, we’ll bring it back again! This medieval weapon is a reference to WWII anti-aircraft guns, look! And we’ve gone and spelled “Laser” backwards for the magic death beam!”
(A note for Mr. McGirt, by the way–lasing rods are made from ruby. Ruby-quartz was the material in notable X-Men team member Cyclops’ visor, if I recall correctly, and inhibited, rather than produced, death beams.)
It’s a fun book, and a relatively quick read; if you’re not expecting deep plot development but instead want something relatively light and fluffy, then this book will work for you.