THE OUTSORCEROR'S APPRENTICE
In some ways, The Outsorceror’s Apprentice is the inverse of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld; where that series features a fantasy setting that’s uncannily like our modern world in some respects, here Holt takes a (pointedly absurd) fantasy world and shows how it got that way due to the intrusion of the mores and methods of our modern world. The result is consistently amusing and clever, although it feels a bit aimless at first; once all the characters’ arcs start coming together, though, the novel picks up speed and the conclusion is a satisfying and entertaining one.
Everyone knows that knights slay dragons, goblins and dwarves mine glowing rocks when not killing each other, young women are accosted by wolves dressed as grandmothers before being saved by woodsmen and elves are supercilious. But how on earth do you get a sustainable economy out of all that? Once that thought starts occurring to various knights, goblin kings, carpenter’s daughters and, er, lawyers, the kingdom is never going to be the same again. Assuming any of them can actually reach the Wizard, who’s not exactly from around here ... (ORBIT, Jul., 400 pp., $14.00)