Monday, July 28, 2014

The Ratastrophe Catastrophe - David Lee Stone

There aren't a lot of options around here if one wants to go book shopping. The Ratastrophe Catastrophe was the best thing I could find in the local thrift store. Turns out it's written more for kids, but what the hey, it was 50 cents. It's set in your sort of typical fantasy land - goblins, dwarves, magic, things like that. Except most everyone is either corrupt, stupid, or both.

A farmboy named Diek is possessed by some remnant of ancient, dark forces, which prove to  make him fairly mesmerizing. Also unsettling, so it isn't long before his father sends him away to a nearby town. Where he learns that the Kingdom of Dullitch has a major rat problem, and is willing to pay handsomely to anyone who can rid them of the pests. Diek uses his flute to lead them out of town and into the river, where they will surely not pollute the water supply and cause dysentery or something. Not that Diek (or the force possessing him) would care if they did, because he gets stiffed. So he abducts the town's children, leaving the politicians to scramble to find some heroes to rescue them, which turn out to be a barbarian, a dwarf, and a former sorcerer having an end-life crisis who only remembers 3 spells.

It's the sort of story where the characters might actually be fairly intelligent, if they could stop falling prey to their worst habits, be they greed, arrogance, cowardice. They can't help themselves though, because that's always the easy way to them, ignoring the possible long-term consequences. So it's an accurate representation of humans, then, slightly exaggerated for comedic effect. Stone adopts a fairly dry tone for the humor, describing the events in a fairly straightforward manner, as if there's nothing unusual about most of it. It works well for me, but others' mileage may vary. It's also the first book in a series of six as far as I can determine, but I'm not sure I liked any of the characters enough to particularly want to follow their further adventures. I suppose if I stumbled across one of the later books for a reasonable price, I'd give it a whirl.

No comments: