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Kill the Farm Boy
Cover of Kill the Farm Boy
Kill the Farm Boy
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In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast...
In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast...
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  • In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.
    "Ranks among the best of Christopher Moore and Terry Pratchett."—Chuck Wendig
    "When you put two authors of this high caliber together, expect fireworks. Or at least laughs. What a hoot!"—Terry Brooks
    Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.
    This is not that fairy tale.
    There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.
    And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.
    There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he's bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there's the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy's untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there's a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar "happily ever after" that ever once-upon-a-timed.

    Praise for Kill the Farm Boy

    "A rollicking fantasy adventure that upends numerous genre tropes in audacious style . . . a laugh-out-loud-funny fusion of Monty Python–esque humor and whimsy à la Terry Pratchett's Discworld."—Kirkus Reviews
    "Dawson and Hearne's reimagining of a traditional fairy tale is reminiscent of William Goldman's The Princess Bride and William Steig's Shrek! Irreverent, funny, and full of entertaining wordplay, this will keep readers guessing until the end."Library Journal
    "Will have you laughing out loud until strangers begin to look at you oddly."SyFy
    "A smart comedy . . . nuanced, complicated, and human."Tordotcom
    "[Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne] make fun of the typical 'white male power fantasies,' and in that, they succeed, with their heroes all characters of color and/or falling somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella."Publishers Weekly


  • From the book Chapter 1.

    In a Foreboding Tower, Glowing with Portent or Possibly Pollen

    Many moons ago in a principality far, far away, a hirsute lady slept in a tower that was covered in thorns. In general, such an occurrence would not be considered worthy of note, for people slept in towers all the time regardless of their current level of hair growth.

    But in this particular case, it was not just the lady who slept. Almost everyone in the castle was magically sleeping, including the earl and countess and even Oxnard the guard, sitting in the kitchen with his mouth open, eyes closed in bliss, forever eating a piece of cherry pie, thereby creating with each passing minute a new world record for extended pie eating. Dogs, horses, children, knights, the bathing woman with soap in her eyes—­everyone stood or sat or lay as if frozen in midaction, even when such actions were wildly inopportune.

    The sole exception to the rule was the owner of a lonesome, warbling voice that could be heard every so often singing songs about remembered conversations, and how awfully quiet sleeping people tended to be, and how if someone didn't arrive with groceries soon, a certain someone would go to sleep and wake up dead, because ­Oxnard the guard didn't have the keys to the tower door on him and they were nowhere to be found, plus the door itself had turned into solid stone, and all the other exits and castle walls were likewise impossible to manage and food was getting rather scarce, especially cheese.

    There was little else of note besides the roses peeping out from the thick blanket of vines. The plush fuchsia blossoms were as beautiful as the thorns were sharp, and there was an abundance of them both, together with a cloying scent of attar and some dizzy, happy bees that seemed to possess a particularly charmed ability to not succumb to sleep and thereby patter to the ground like furry grapes.

    There was also an abundance of portent swaddled about the place. Oodles of it. A surfeit, even.

    Something would go down there soon.

    But for now, the lady slept.

    And drooled a little, probably.


    In a Squalid Barnyard in Borix, Redolent of Feces and Angst

    The very worst part about drudgery, Worstley thought, was all the blasted drudging one had to do. Nothing joyful or fun or frolicsome around the corner for a lowly farm boy like him to look forward to. Just more drudgery of a mind-­sapping, soul-­sucking nature—­and on a good day, no cause for involuntary upchuckery.

    At least he'd become somewhat accustomed to cleaning up the barnyard after his older brother, Bestley, had been stabbed in the heart by Lord Ergot for being too handsome. Some said barnyard duties were a step up from scrubbing the chimney, but Worstley wasn't so sure. It had been almost nine months since he'd last vomited at the smell of assorted animal dung, but it was a constant struggle. It was still his least favorite chore, and he had to do it every other day: walk out there with a shovel and a sack among the goats and the pigs and the chickens and those dratted geese that goosed him whenever they could and scoop up whatever foul turds they had excreted since the last time he'd cleaned up. And after that, the stables awaited the same routine. Only then could he have a sad waffle with no syrup on it for breakfast. He didn't think his mother made them properly: rumor in the village had it that waffles weren't supposed to be gray.

    Like most cheerless days in Borix, the sky was the color of his mother's waffles. Worstley sighed at the clouds, exasperated. "Would it kill you to let the sun shine through every...

About the Author-

  • Kevin Hearne hugs trees, pets doggies, and rocks out to heavy metal. He also thinks tacos are a pretty nifty idea. He is the author of A Plague of Giants and the New York Times bestselling series The Iron Druid Chronicles.

    Delilah S. Dawson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Phasma, Hit, Servants of the Storm, the Blud series, the creator-owned comics Ladycastle and Sparrowhawk, and the Shadow series (written as Lila Bowen). She lives in Florida with her family and a fat mutt named Merle.


  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2018

    New York Times best-selling Iron Druid chronicler joins with Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) to launch a witty, bighearted fantasy series starring Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bard, and Grinda the Sand Witch, all intent on keeping LOCHER from stealing the throne.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 19, 2018
    In this pun-laden quest, first in a trilogy, Hearne (A Plague of Giants) and Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) skewer the traditional tropes of epic fantasy sagas. Though the field is already rife with parodies and satires, the authors execute their own unique twist by killing off the titular farm boy on page 31 before his hero’s journey can ever truly begin. Now it’s up to a ragtag band of unlikely heroes—including a seven-foot-tall horticulturalist in a chainmail bikini, a cursed half-rabbit bard, a bread-conjuring would-be dark lord, a clumsy rogue, and a boot-eating talking goat—to save the kingdom from magical misdeeds. As they face their greatest childhood fears, contend with gourmand giants, and negotiate with arrogant elves, these improbable heroes display surprising depths and complexities. There’s a Pratchettian humor at play here, manifesting in frequent pun wars, silly songs, and an underlying level of societal absurdity—everyone takes cheese rather seriously, for instance. The authors claim they wanted to make fun of the typical “white male power fantasies,” and in that, they succeed, with their heroes all characters of color and/or falling somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella. Even so, there’s the feeling that they’re marching through familiar, previously conquered territory, putting this solidly in the middle of the field of humorous fantasy. Agents: (for Hearne) Evan Goldfried, Jill Grinberg Literary; (for Dawson) Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2018

    Combining the satirical fantasy of authors such as William Goldman, Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Tamora Pierce, Hearne and Dawson have written a thoroughly enjoyable, enormously ambitious novel. The authors state in their acknowledgements that their book specifically refers to killing off the "white male power fantasies," though they are substantially more successful at skewering the male-ness than the white-ness of the genre. The eponymous farm boy is anointed the "Chosen One" by a fairy in Chapter 2 (titled "In a Squalid Barnyard in Borix, Redolent of Feces and Angst") and is, as promised, dead after two more chapters. Readers are left to follow his (now) talking goat, Gustave; his accidental killer, Fia, a powerful warrior in a chain-mail bikini; an enchanted half-rabbit bard named Argabella; the Dark Lord Toby, whose magic primarily consists of causing bread products to rain from the sky; and a variety of supporting characters. Surprisingly, it is Dawson and Hearne's careful attention to their characters that proves the novel's greatest strength, much more so than their hit-or-miss puns or socio-politically minded satire. Fia and Argabella develop a tremendously touching relationship, Gustave steals many a scene, and the unexpected deaths of two traveling companions are genuinely moving. VERDICT The humor and empowerment theme should make this an easy sell for teens, and they'll stay for the well-drawn characters. Give this one to fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, or William Goldman.-Mark Flowers, Rio Vista Library, CA

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2018
    A rollicking fantasy adventure that upends numerous genre tropes in audacious style, the first installment of Dawson and Hearne's Tales of Pell series is a laugh-out-loud-funny fusion of Monty Python-esque humor and whimsy à la Terry Pratchett's Discworld.Worstley is a lowly farm boy who reeks of feces and angst. But when a nose-picking pixie informs him that he's the Chosen One and that he has a destiny, he sets off with a talking billy goat named Gustave to fulfill his glorious fate. Fia is a 7-foot tall warrioress who wears a chain-mail bikini and is on a quest of her own: to locate a rare flower allegedly high up in a magical tower. Poltro, the Dark Lord's inept huntswoman, who is deathly afraid of chickens, is sent to locate the Chosen One and bring his heart back to her master. Their paths eventually converge when Fia, attempting to climb the thorn-infested magic tower via a rope made of human hair, falls and lands on Worstley, quite possibly killing him. In an effort to somehow save his life, Fia takes the Chosen One's body and climbs back up the tower, laying him in a bed next to a princess who has been magically sleeping for decades. While exiting the tower, Fia meets Argabella, a female bard who has been cursed to look like a giant bunny. After collecting a Sand Witch named Grinda and Toby, the Dark Lord (who wears a fanny pack), the group of misfits sets off to rid the kingdom of the evil genius behind the terrible curses. The overturning of so many hackneyed fantasy conventions is a delight, as are the countless puns and jokes. But the narrative momentum suffers at times because the authors are so focused on the humor.Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring on laughing gas.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks "When you put two authors of this high caliber together, expect fireworks. Or at least laughs. What a hoot!"

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