*I received a free ARC of this novella. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
THIS REVIEW IS FOR ONE NOVELLA FROM THE FOLLOWING ANTHOLOGY:
Anthology blurb: These Aren’t Your Typical Heroes
Heroes aren’t defined by shining armor, golden crowns, or noble virtues.
Beggars, thieves, killers, children, and fools—a hero is anyone who takes a stand against oppression, abuse, and evil. Ragged though they may be, they hold their ground, defy hopeless odds, and conquer the impossible no matter the personal cost.
Eighteen bestselling and award-winning authors give you a look at what it truly means to be a hero: the simple act of standing up and making a difference, even to just one person.
‘Another Chosen One’ novella blurb:
One young hero. One village under attack. One chance to change their fate.
Born into a small farming community, Jack Mortlake has always wanted to be a hero. So, when a gang of elven mercenaries turn up one morning to loot everyone he loves, he grabs the opportunity with both hands.
This is because Jack has been harbouring a secret. Having found an old spell book in the forest, he’s been secretly preparing for a moment like this for some time. However, he soon realises that being a hero isn’t as easy as it seems.
When a spell goes horribly wrong, he finds himself stuck with some impossible decisions to make. Will he save the village and become a hero, or does his future harbour a different fate?
Another Chosen One, written by Daniel Parsons and included in the Ragged Heroes fantasy anthology, is an interesting take on the anthology theme, as it features more of an anti-hero than an unlikely hero.
Parsons takes epic fantasy tropes, inspects them, turns them round a few times, then spears them with some sarcasm and a lot of resultant gory death and destruction (although nothing too graphic!).
His hero, who is called Jack as fairytale tradition demands, knows what needs to be done, and that he is the boy to do it. Unfortunately he has little knowledge, no skill, and has made a fundamental miscalculation about his resources.
The tone here reminded me of the Evil Overlord list that did the email rounds in the 90’s and remains superbly and sarcastically funny to this day. The dry humour from the reader perspective comes in the gap between Jack’s perceptions/motivations and what is actually happening.
Parsons has packed a lot into a short space here, mixing a lot of action with some plot and character development and a bit of world-building, making this the perfect opening to the new fantasy series it precedes.
If you like your fantasy comedic, but also a bit dark, then you will enjoy this story!
“Oh, gods.” An elf next to the leader gently massaged his eyelids. “Tamos, we’ve got ourselves another air groper. What is it with these remote towns and kids thinking they’re heroes?”
“Think? Ha!” Jack barely lifted his gaze from the book. Licking his finger, he turned a page, and continued to stride through the parting crowd. “This is a genuine spell book. Let’s see how quickly that smile leaves your face when I unleash the power of ALL CHAOS!”
He snapped his fingers, spread his stance, and pointed at the elves. Immediately, his finger glowed and a bar of golden dragon fire as wide as a tree trunk scorched the air between the villagers.
Or, at least, that’s what Jack imagined would happen. What really happened was there was a lot of straining, then an awkward silence.
– Daniel Parsons, ‘Another Chosen One’ in the Ragged Heroes anthology
The Ragged Heroes anthology releases on Amazon on 27th March, and is currently on preorder, giving you 18 epic fantasy stories for £0.99! (These author-bundle deals really are a bargain, in my personal readerly opinion.)