Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This is not that fairy tale. There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.
I absolutely lurved Kill the Farm Boy. I’ve read more Delilah Dawson than Kevin Hearne, but I’ve read and enjoyed them both. The easiest way to describe Kill the Farm Boy is that it is Spaceballs, but in a fantasy setting. Everything that I loved about Spaceballs is everything I love about Kill the Farm Boy. Puns, double entendre, slapstick situational comedy, and a general irreverence to the genre the writing duo parodies. Plus, Dawson and Hearne don’t take themselves seriously. When the authors can laugh at themselves, the reader will too. I can totally imagine Dawson and Hearne at the bar of a hotel after a day at a convention, daring each other to write this story.
If I had to complain about anything, it would be that while the writers are aware of the genre they poke fun at, the tropes are alive and well in this parody. Several plot twists were plainly evident, and if this story had a character that broke the fourth wall, I’d expect them to pop up and declare, “plot twist!” Now that I write this down, I think that a character breaking the fourth wall would’ve been just the ticket. It works for Ferris Bueller and Deadpool, why not an irreverent parody of fantasy. Kevin Smith famously said that he made all his money with phallus and flatulence jokes.
The story obviously parodies The Princess Bride, Shrek, and just about every Dungeons and Dragons campaign ever made. The humor is at times crude, often juvenile, but always there. There’s a reason the tag line is “Once. A pun. A time.” For the same reasons that people enjoy Mel Brooks, Monty Python, and the Three Stooges, they’ll enjoy Kill the Farm Boy. To steal a meme from the Internet, “I don’t always read the punnies, but when I do, it’s to Kill the Farm Boy.” There will be a lot of consternation about the humor, but what did they expect? I’m awarding this story 3.14 stars, because I like pie.
Delilah S. Dawson writes whimsical and dark Fantasy for adults and teens. She is a winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Delilah teaches writing classes at LitReactor and wrote the Island of Mesmer world for Storium. Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, a horse, a dog, and two cats in Florida.
Kevin hugs the hell out of trees and loves doggies and pretending that he knows stuff about hockey. He is also fond of comic books, tacos, fresh air, clean energy, and friendly people. He’s been told that his handwriting is really quite lovely.
Kill the Farm Boy: