DiscoverEpic Fantasy

The Heroes' Journey

By

Worth reading 😎

A short story rather than a novel, witty and original, but perhaps a little too detached.

Synopsis

A sociopathic super wizard joins the Wizards guild. A guild where heroes are made and commercialized. When things don’t go according to plan, he decides to improvise. A not-so-bright young and inexperienced wizard joins him along the way.

I picked this book up because I liked the idea of taking the piss out of serious fantasy adventure. Anyone who has ever been to creative writing class knows about the hero's journey, which every successful story apparently has to have. It's nice to see this cliche of story telling mucked around with a little, and treated with the disrespect it deserves.


The two wizards in the story seem to be minor bureaucrats trying to ensure they rack up enough heroes completing journeys. It wasn't clear to me exactly why - were they paid per completed trip, or did they just find it amusing? But they certainly take a lot of trouble over it. As each hero goes on his journey, they mark off essential milestones on a checklist; acceptance of quest (or refusal), meeting the mentor, overcoming an obstacle, etc. All of this was mildly funny, in a dry smile sort of way, but because the plot is so heavily ironic, I didn't connect with any of the characters on an emotional level. Beyond being a bit naive and at times ornery, I couldn't tell you what the hero, Frank Fury, was like as a person, or distinguish the Wizards - both caddish liars - from one another. The dialogue was great, snappy and realistic, but I often found the scenarios hard to swallow. The wizards' excuses for pushing Frank along on the various essential steps get more specious and unbelievable as the story goes on, but Frank pretty much falls for everything. And then the story ends, abruptly, Frank having completed his travels, and you're left thinking, fine, but what was it all for? And over it all you can hear the author's whimsical, ironic voice, reminding you that it's a joke, so why should they have a reason for anything, really?


Overall I quite enjoyed the book, but I would have liked it to have a bit more depth, of characters and plot, and to be able to feel more engaged. And I do really need to know why the wizards bothered in the first place.

Reviewed by

I'm an author but I also read a lot. I do especially like to read books by high quality indie authors, because you often get original and unconventional work which wouldn't have been picked up by the major publishers.

Synopsis

A sociopathic super wizard joins the Wizards guild. A guild where heroes are made and commercialized. When things don’t go according to plan, he decides to improvise. A not-so-bright young and inexperienced wizard joins him along the way.

The Heroes Journey

Lorc turned to look as Urick barged stumbling into the office, heading for his desk.

“How’d it go?” He asked.

“It didn’t,” Urick said as he sat down, took off his hat, curled the paper on his desk and tossed it into the bin. He then grabbed the big leather tome in front of him, scrolled his fingers to the middle, and opened it with a thud. He sighed.

“This is starting to feel impossible,” he said. “One prospect stupider than the next.”

“You’ve been through, what, 14 candidates so far? That’s nothing. Took me 34 before I finally got my first,” Lorc said, pushing gray hair away from his face.

“How did you not quit?”

“I wanted to, several times. With so many failures you start questioning if this is the right thing for you, you know. But I figured I didn’t have much else going for me, so might as well stick this one out. I mean, sooner or later I’d have to find one. And what do you know. This year I’m only five more away from winning.”

“Who was your first? I never asked.” Urick turned to look at Lorc.

“Oh, it was a small man. Think his name was B—Something on B.” He thought for a second. “Huh, I’ve forgotten his name. But the target was a dragon, that I remember, and my commission for it was quite nice. I was so happy when it was over. It kind of got out of hand at the end, to tell you the truth.”

“Which is why you changed your name?” Urick asked.

“Yes.”

“Yeah, it just, I don’t know. I just can’t deal with all these idiots. There must be something I’m doing wrong here.”

“There isn’t.”

“How do you know?” Urick looked at the page in front of him, a drawn picture of a young man with bushy dark hair and a sharp jaw.

“I’ve read your logs. Just have a little faith. You’ll get one soon. Though, you could consider trying a different prospecting strategy.”

“What’s wrong with the one I have? It’s perfect!”

“Well, you’re judging them based on their name.”

“All the best heroes have letter rhymes.”

“Yeah, in stories. This isn’t a story.”

“No, you’re right. It’s the story” Urick thought for a moment. “What do you suggest?”

Lorc got up from his chair, walked over to Urick and looked through his book. “Here, this one.”

“Bernhard Sim?”

“Yeah, look, the age is right, he’s an orphan, and no siblings, wife or children. If that doesn’t scream nothing to lose to you, I don’t know what is. Plus, he doesn’t have a job.”

“Yeah, too stupid to get one.” Urick shook his head. “He doesn’t even look right. I mean, look at his face. He looks more like a clown than a hero.”

“He’s not too stupid to get a job. He’s too smart not to get one. You don’t survive three years of unemployment without having some sort of talent. Let’s make a bet; 5 gold pieces he’s a ‘one’.”

Urick scratched at his beard. It could almost be considered medium length now. “I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel right. Let’s see.” He scrolled through a few more pages. “Ah! There, now that’s a winner.”

“Frank Fury?”

“It’s perfect. Look! He’s also an orphan!”

“Yeah, but he has a wife.” Lorc pointed at the page.

“What better motivation than a lost wife?” Urick said with a smile.

“You know that’s against the rules,” Lorc said, suddenly serious.

“Relax, I’m just joking. Tell you what. Let’s do 10 gold pieces on Frank Fury, and we have a bet. This one will work. I’m sure of it.”

Lorc studied the page carefully. Then he ripped it out and handed it to Urick. “You got yourself a bet. Who’s your target?”

“Tyson ‘The Zombie’ Willmark” Urick took out a loose sheet of paper from the back of the book. Lorc whistled. “50 gold pieces in the bounty? Sounds like a dangerous man.”

“No risk, no reward.”

“Except it’s not your risk.”

“Exactly!”

About the author

In 2018 John, after a lot of thinking, finally decided he was going to become an author. In 2020, still working on his big epic, he decided to let a short story, which he had written in the meantime, be his first published book. view profile

Published on April 01, 2020

Published by

10000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Reviewed by

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