An Orc on the Wild Side

Orbit: Hachette. (Youspace, Bk. 5). Sept. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9780316270854. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316270847. FANTASY
The latest hilarious send-up of classic fantasy tropes from Holt (Who’s Afraid of Beowolf??) continues in this fifth “Youspace” novel. Humans have arrived in the Hidden Realms and are ready to settle down. But they must contend with things like using spells to open doors as well as dealing with overbearing elves. Then there is King Mordak, the ruler of the goblins, who sets up “New Evil” (less killing and more peaceful coexistence). He finds the humans and their iron products dangerous, but plots to import goods from the human world cheaply and sell them as goblin-made (with a nice mark-up of course). This would benefit both parties, except that the goblin horde would be out of work, unless other jobs are created for them to keep them from rebelling. A plethora of side characters with their own issues completes this absurdist tale.
VERDICT Holt has taken over the satirical fantasy novel from writers such as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, with a dose of Kurt Vonnegut tossed in. For readers who do not take their fantasy stories too seriously, or appreciate them a bit silly, this is a gem.

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