book review, indiecember, Uncategorized

There and Never Ever Back Again: Diary of a Dark Lord by Jeff Mach

My book today completes the 30-60 reviews square on my Indiecember card.

There and Never Ever Back Again: Diary of a Dark Lord is a series of essays, or diary entries, by the unnamed Dark Lord and the unnamed Chosen One who is tasked to kill her. Similarities are drawn to Tolkien’s work, both in the title and the inclusion of elves, orcs, goblins, dwarves, trolls and a white wizard. Greek myths are also referenced. Most of the remarks seem to be aimed at modern day western culture.

This book is marketed as a fantasy parody or satire. Apart from the very basic structure of a villain and a white wizard leading an army to destroy the villain, there is no narrative drive, no world building, no characters and no explicit fantasy elements. The premise of the essays is that those who question the established narrative, or step outside the cultural norms, are feared and vilified by society. Those who seek to stop free thinkers are power hungry idiots who don’t care how many lives are lost in their quest to be shown as righteous.

I made a mistake with this book. I assumed it would be a humorous fantasy parody. I try not to make assumptions about books before I read them, because it always leads to disappointment when the book turns out to be different, and that’s not the books fault.

I’m not really sure what this book is trying to be. I’ve read anti Tolkien stories before, and done better, such as Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant novels, or even the Harvard Lampoon Bored of the Rings. While I’m all for the discussion of the true nature of good and evil, and how morality is highjacked by humanity to condone their worst behavior, there seemed to be only one point repeated in this book, without development or variation. I tried to understand where this book was coming from, but I’m afraid it failed for me as a comedy, a fantasy and a philosophical discussion.

I award There and Never Ever Back Again

There and Never Ever Back Again costs $4.19 ebook and $19.79 print book on Amazon.

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