George is a legendary hero… wait, no. George is an incredibly powerful sorcerer…also no? Okay, fine. George is an unremarkable human bard who made a promise a long time ago. A promise that set him on a path to find the remains of Simantiar, the greatest wizard who ever lived. Though all that was left were bones, Simantiar was still very much alive and quite…underwhelming. This is their story.
Have you ever imagined what would happen if Terry Pratchett was playing a D&D campaign where he was given total creative freedom? Well, that’s exactly how I felt while reading The Fantastically Underwhelming. And saying that, as a Discworld fan, is a great compliment.
Just the start, how it sets you onto the world and the story, is really brilliant. I fall totally sucked into the book and had to do an auto-control exercise to not finish it on the first day.
About the characters, I’m going back to the D&D comparisons. George is what would happen if you have mediocre stats in your sheet, but it was the luckiest when rolling the dices. Simantiar is totally hitting the nail of subverting expectations, as it doesn’t fit what would you expect from a powerful mage. The secondary characters are also rich and show different archetypes that you would see in Fantasy.
The narrative is agile and hooking. Personally, I loved the way to show the past of the characters via flashbacks, and as a way to understand how they become what they are, even with Kenrith, who is in between the border of being a secondary and main character.
In summary, I would recommend this book to anybody who loves Fantasy, and humor and would like to try something different. I cannot say another thing, that I really want to see what more Kian N. Ardalan is capable of.
Kian N. Ardalan
Kian N. Ardalan was born in Germany, Dusseldorf to Persian parents and has since traveled between so many places that he sees himself as a person of the world; well, with one exception.
When he wasn’t playing video games or reading novels (mostly Darren Shan and Anthony Horowitz) or trying to convince his parents to watch that R-rated movie about vampires and werewolves, he delved into fantasy worlds of his own making