And the award for funniest title with matching cover art goes to … Crap Kingdom by D.C. Pierson.
Unfortunately, the book doesn’t quite live up to this epic title and imagery. That said, it’s still a hilarious romp that anyone who’s ever fantasized about becoming the hero of their own fantasy adventure will instantly relate to:
THE CHOSEN ONE MUST BE RETRIEVED FROM EARTH
HE WILL BRING DOWN THE WALL AND RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO GLORY
HIS NAME IS TOM PARKING
With this mysterious yet oddly ordinary-looking prophecy, Tom’s fate is sealed: he’s been plucked from his life and whisked away to a magical kingdom to be its Chosen One.
There’s just one problem: The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. Okay, well, two problems: the king hates Tom. Also, the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. And being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats’ noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery.
So, basically, the kingdom sucks.
When Tom turns down the job of Chosen One, he thinks he’s making a smart decision. But when Tom discovers he’s been replaced by his best friend Kyle, who’s always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom wants Crap Kingdom back—at any cost. And the hilarity that ensues will determine the fate of the universe.
The concept of Crap Kingdom is right along the lines of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, though a bit lighter. What happens when a kid who reads a lot of fantasy, and dreams of becoming the hero of a fantasy world, actually finds himself in a fantasy world?
Of course, in Pierson’s version, the fantasy world leaves a lot to be desired — and hero Tom isn’t so keen on being the “Chosen One” after he sees what the gig entails.
The concept of Crap Kingdom is pretty genius, and the beginning has lots of promise. It’s funny, witty, and instantly relate-able. However, along the way, the story gets bogged down with details and the charm of the original concept can only carry so far without more support. At times, it became tiresome to read and some of the denser middle passages were particularly slow to get through.
For fantasy enthusiasts, it’s easy to see how Crap Kingdom offers a humorous take on their wildest dreams come true. But the overall book just lacked enough oomph to really elevate it beyond a cute concept with only mediocre execution.
Crap Kingdom is in stores tomorrow