Professional heroes kill and loot deadly monsters every day, but Gorm Ingerson's latest quest will be anything but business as usual.
The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. Monsters' hoards are claimed, bought by corporate interests, and sold off to plunder funds long before the Heroes' Guild actually kills the beasts. Of course, that's a terrible arrangement for the Shadowkin; orcs, goblins, kobolds, and their ilk must apply for to become Noncombatant Paper Carriers (or NPCs) to avoid being killed and looted by heroes.
When Gorm Ingerson, a Dwarven ex-hero with a checkered past, stands up for an undocumented goblin, he inadvertently singles himself out for recruitment by a prophet of the mad goddess to undertake a suicidal quest. But there's more to Gorm's new job than an insane prophecy: powerful corporations and governments have shown an unusual interest in the quest. If his party of eccentric misfits can stop fighting each other long enough to recover the Elven Marbles, Gorm might be able to turn a bad deal into a golden opportunity.
Wonderful satire, wrapped in a fun story!!!
This audiobook has become one of my favorites. Why? It has pulled off something I would not have thought possible; using a fantasy setting as the basis for satirical humor about our society. Mixed in with the satire is a good story.
However, if you miss the satire, you will miss the gems this book offers. Do you have little interest in economics, business, sales, government ineptitude and other current event subjects? If you are a fantasy fan, can you take a little ribbing? If the answer to these questions is “no", then this book will read like a "normal" fantasy book.
On the other hand, if you have a sense of humor, notice the oxymorons of our society, have business experience, hate conference room meetings, have been through sales presentations and would like to laugh (or moan) about those things, then this book pulls off its satire wonderfully.
I was able to get both my sons (in their 20's) to listen to the audiobook. While they enjoyed the story, they missed some of the satire because they do not have much experience in business, sales, finance or government incompetence. We were able to talk through many of these things, but it was like explaining a joke. If you don't get the joke the first time around, it is not as impactful after it is explained.
For example, if you have no idea how the Stock Market works, then you will not understand large swathes of the satire. If you've lost money in the market, then this book might make you laugh and cry. I was busting a gut when the Dragon in the story finally clicked.
In another example, chapter 14 has the best, and funniest, translation scene I've ever heard. However, for someone with no exposure to sales or sales training, then you may be lost during the dialogue. This scene was fantastically creative!
I hope you buy this book! However, satire either speaks to you, or it doesn't. For me, this book rocks on so many levels I give it my highest recommendation. I do so knowing that, for some, it will not appeal to them at all, even after you explain the punchline, or because you have to.