Happy Friday, y’all. We have suviiiiiived another week.
I don’t know where you are, but here…snow and freezing temps are imminent. The back porch is officially a no-reader zone until the mercury rises a bit. I’m looking forward to snuggling by the fire with a book this weekend.
This week’s offering is brought to you because it has just won a slew of awards in the GoodReads M/M Romance Group’s 2015 Reader’s Choice Awards, announced January 17th.
1st Place for:
Best Book of the Year
Best Secondary Character (Gary)
Best Story that Should have a Sequel
2nd Place for Best Cover Art
3rd Place for Best Long Story (over 250 pages)
T.J. Klune placed 3rd for Favorite All-Time M/M Authors
Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.
Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King’s Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.
When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.
At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.
Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.
Or so he thinks.
Fantasy, Humor, M/M, GLBT+
400 e-book pages
Series, book 1
July 20-22, 2015
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
Click for more information regarding ratings.
It has taken me DAYS to sort through my thoughts on this with a lot of self-reflection, a lot of writing, a lot of editing and deleting. This is still probably TLDR for most…but whatever. You’ll either embrace my ramblings or not, either is okay. 😛
First – my feels for this author because I’m feeling the need to express my love and adoration for TJ Klune. Love this guy. Seriously. I want to hug him, and squeeze him, and call him George. Oh, and pinch his cheeks, and feed him to put some meat on his bones, and hug him some more. He’s SUCH a wonderful storyteller and bard of our times. I love how his mind works. I love his imagination and wit and just…all that is TJ is just so freakin’ adorable. I’m thrilled he’s found his footing and back to writing and sharing his gift with us. And also, I think it’s awesome he’s found a home in my home state of Virginia. I promise not to stalk him at the grocery store – or anywhere but his blog and GR posts…I ain’t got time, that ain’t my bag, and I ain’t leaving my beach. I’m content being a quiet little super-fan from afar.
The story – So…TJ (admittedly) is a little bit of a virtual crack dealer with this latest book. I’m asking myself how the hell I got sucked in. I don’t do Fantasy books. I don’t do dragons and unicorns or giants or wizards (apprentice or otherwise).
Okay…except that I did spend a semester of college studying Arthurian Literature, and there might have been some dragons, and wizards, and lush knights that I thoroughly enjoyed studying/analyzing, kept the books that reread often in the last (ahem) twenty years. And, I might be a super-fan of Beowulf and own about twelve versions. And, I might have a fascination with any story or movie depicting the tales of King Arthur and Guinevere and Sir Lancelot and Merlin. And, Princess Bride might be my all time favorite movie. Maybe I am a fan…but a reluctant one when it comes to anything new labeled as “Fantasy” because it has a lot of genius to live up to in my mind.
Also, I’ve resigned myself that, whether it’s ‘my thing’ or not, I’ll read whatever TJ writes.
Right. So I got sucked in. This story was…phenomenal. I don’t say it reluctantly. I say it honestly. The bare bones plot of the story was interesting, adventurous, imaginative, gripping, and I loved it.
The Comedy Here’s where I have some problems, and I’ve decided that TJ’s comedy is going to be hit or miss for me. This was not uproariously hysterical to me like it seems to have been for so many others. I wish it had been. In several of TJs books I’ve laughed out loud and fell in love with his sense of humor – the BOATK series in particular. However, I’ve noticed that in both of the Comedy books of TJ’s I’ve read (this and Tell Me It’s Real), I haven’t really laughed. I’ve grinned. I’ve smirked. I’ve outright smiled. But…I haven’t laughed. In this book, I recall two audible, yet mild, chuckles. I don’t call this a complete miss…but, comedy-wise, it wasn’t exactly a hit for me either.
After reading The Lightning Struck Heart, I’m reflecting on what I find humorous, what makes me laugh out loud. Why – when so many of the reviews I’ve seen for this book are people admitting to nearly pissing themselves with out-loud, side-splitting laughter – was I just grinning, smirking, smiling, and mildly chuckling two times. What’s wrong with me that I seem to be in the minority here?
I’m coming to terms with the thought that maybe I’m a hard sell with comedy. I’ve always believed that I’m a bit too easily amused – but now I’m guessing not. Maybe it’s a little more out of reach for me.
What I have to say may sound like I’m insulting TJ’s humor or those who were full of LOLs – and I’m really, really not. Swear. TJ has proven to me that he’s really fucking hysterical in a way that I like. But, for this book, I think my problem is that it was too much. Too in my face. Almost attempting to force one laugh after another. Unfortunately, that’s what doesn’t appeal to me. It’s not that the humor isn’t funny – it’s kind of the fact that I don’t have to look for it – it’s continually beating me over the head. I don’t like being beaten over the head.
I like humor and comedy that’s sometimes cerebral and less campy, farcical, or slap-stick. I like well timed little nuggets of observational comedy, some understated witty satire, and subtle word-play of puns, manipulation of language, and mild forms of sarcastic or sardonic humor. Veiled innuendo is also good. Mostly though, I like when comedic punches slide in under the radar almost undetected until I’m like…What? What was that? Well, damn that was funny.
I’m not saying this book didn’t have elements of the above. What I am saying is that it was there in glowing freaking neon lit up in spotlights and showered with fireworks on top of an acid trip on every page, every paragraph of the whole book. It’s cool that does it for some people.
This kind of in-your-face humor makes me more sad than anything because it makes me wonder what kind of heartache is behind the curtain? Which makes me think that this book was so necessary for TJ to write because this was his first book after going through such an incredibly difficult time. It makes me think this book was a form of therapy. So that’s what makes me glad he wrote it.
Again, I loved the story. I really like the characters and the adventure. I also really like the ending that tells us it’s not an end, but a to be continued. I will absolutely follow this series. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll love it. Just, I’ll know that my grins and quiet chuckles will be drowned out by the masses. And that’s okay.
This review also posted on GoodReads.
My rating and review may not be so stellar considering all the love this book has received. But, I did enjoy it immensely and highly recommend it. I mean…how can you not want a unicorn and a half-giant?