Review: No Country for Old Gnomes

Posted: April 2, 2019 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Fantasy, Humor

In KILL THE FARM BOY (EBR Review) we are introduced to the demesne of Pell (hah! see what I did there?…ok if you haven’t read it then you’re lost already, sorry), with Worstly, his talking goat Gustave, Dark Lord Toby, and the gang as they trek across the land in search of their quest. Or something. It’s much more complicated than that, but basically if you haven’t read it and want a good laugh, go read it and then come back for details about book two.

The story opens in the underground home of a family of gnomes, who were minding their own business when some halfling hooligans bomb their house. Now homeless, they must find safe harbor and make for the human city of Bruding.

Ovitaur Agape Fallopia (think half human, half goat) is made caretaker over a metal golem that is the target of thieves. Her parents are ready for retirement and a life that doesn’t involve being perpetually on the run, so they’re more than happy to foist the responsibility on their daughter. But things go wrong, as they are wont to do.

Dwarf Bäggi Biins is off to work through an adolescent violence crisis before he can return home and live a quiet life. He just needs to find the right quest.

Halfling Faucon has made it his personal mission to make sure the laws are kept, even if that means working with halfling lowlife drubs to do it; and part of that is hunting down an ovitaur family and their purloined gold automaton.

And the griffin Gerd has been banished from her home because of her taboo love of eating fluffy omelets. But she seems to have taken a liking to Faucon and his quest for law and order–plus he feeds her all the eggs she wants.

They all converge on the town of Bruning and discover that they have a mutual purpose: to stop the halflings from being very naughty.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD GNOMES tells the story of some plucky (and puntable) gnomes who seek justice at the harassment of halfling hooligans.

If you read KILL THE FARM BOY, then NO COUNTRY FOR OLD GNOMES is the same in tone, silliness, puns, wordplay, and corny jokes. Except this time we don’t see much of Gustave, Grinda the Sand Witch, Fia, and the others; no, this is about the gnomes Offi and Kirsi and their new friends whose quest to stop the halflings turns into a journey fraught with danger.

Hearne and Dawson take your usual dungeon crawl bosses, journeys across the countryside, visits to allies, and dangers along the way and tell the story with their usual twisty methods. What you think you know is going to happen won’t…and if it does, it’s done to comedic effect, poking at the stereotypes of modern fantasy storytelling. The result is hilarious and carries you along on a story that you must see the end of because you’re wondering what kind of meddling these authors will do to a story like this. As with KILL THE FARM BOY, the story is too long and gets a little bogged down with its own story about 3/4 of the way through, but makes up for it with details about the characters and their shenanigans.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD GNOMES is good fun, full of laughs, clever details, and characters that on the outside seem exaggerated, but in whom you may see a little of yourself.

  • Recommended Age: 13+ (more for comprehension than content)
  • Language: Almost none; frequent references to the ovitaur's initals
  • Violence: They are on quest, so they come across some serious bosses--not always unscathed
  • Sex: Less innuendo and fewer references than book 1

Don’t miss the giveaway for a free copy of the book here.

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