Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Review: Magic, Mensa & Mayhem by Karina Fabian


Dragon Eye, P.I. I knew from the first page that I was going to love this book. Well...to be honest, I knew it before that, from all I'd been hearing about it all over the place, but let's not split hairs, all right? One of the main characters having the same name as me is pretty darn cool, too. Doesn't happen as often as you might think. And while fantasy's not usually my thing, this is definitely not your usual fantasy.

Okay, so we have the dragon and the nun, working together as private investigators. The bishop sends them to accompany a bunch of faeries to a convention, a prospect that doesn't exactly thrill Vern - though Grace is unruffled. But not long after their flying circus leaves the ground, mischievous magicals are already causing trouble. Minor incidents escalate until one of the head elves decides to conquer the state of Florida while his sense of proper oratory etiquette is impaired by a chemical high.

In true intellectual style, many topics are sideswiped, considered, and passed by on the helter-skelter ride to the climax - issues such as temporal philosophy, interspecies morality, the Inner Child, and even semi-professional counselling as Vern comforts a failed wannabe actor. Other gems include quips from TV and movies, a talking purse, respectful nods to Doctor Who and Star Trek (among others), enchanted dancing, dodging the paparazzi, naiads eliminating a case of littering, obsessively tidy brownies, artificial sweeteners, and multifaceted cultural misunderstandings.

Vern the dragon detective is a magnetic character despite his demonstrative cynicism. He made me laugh just about every time he opened his mouth. His partner the nun is almost as funny again, and the two of them make sport of bouncing puns off each other and anyone who happens to be in earshot. Not just any puns, mind you - not the painful kind, but puns that are woven into the story and thus are a force of hilarity to be reckoned with - in any of the numerous languages you'll find in the book.

All in all - a tall tale destined to become a part of modern legend if the reading public has any sense, and a real-world fantasy with a kick that's as funny as it is preposterous.

As I said to a friend recently, this is the only story I've ever read where artificial sweetener is seen for the force of evil it truly is. Ahem.

Don't forget to take a look at all the goodies on www.dragoneyepi.net
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