4 out of 4 stars
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Fish Wielder by J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison is an exciting fantasy novel. Thoral Mighty Fist sits depressed and unhappy in the Inn of the Gruesomely Gashed Gnome situated in the magical world of Grome. His friend Brad, a talking koi fish Thoral once saved from drowning, gives him an idea of a deadly dangerous adventure to shake the mighty hero up a bit. So, Thoral, Brad, and Warlordhorse, a stallion with a sense of danger and an inner ear problem, start the biggest journey in their lives. May hooded assassins lurk in the dark, may the gloomy temple of the Bad Religion threaten under the veil of mist, may the overly loving elven princess sulk all way long, but the Goomy Prophecy of Doom must be overturned at any cost. So, the Brotherhood of the Pudding fearlessly steps onto the yellow brick road that leads toward an obscure fate or everlasting glory.
The amazing thing about this book is that the author creates an almost detective story. Despite some grotesqueness of the narrative, the book tells us about a real friendship, true love, and great escapades. The characters are brilliant, and Brad is my favorite among them. He is wise, brave, and always ready to offer a friendly fin. Despite his disagreements with Nalweegie, a beautiful (but quite spoiled) Evening Snack, he risks his little life to save her in fatal circumstances. The book also touches on a tragedy of a disturbed mind. It creates the main drama of the book and makes it more profound. At first sight, the numerous details seem to be too complex to follow, but then everything just comes together. Every single detail is explained and logical, the author forgets nothing, there are no loose ends. It is my most favorite aspect of the book.
Although I liked the humorous side of the book overall, I disliked some examples of a little overwhelming goofiness. For instance, Thoral, Brad, and Warlordhorse clashed with a pack of wolves with two heads. The scene could have been impressive and even horrifying, but then the author stated that both of their heads "were in the front," adding that otherwise it "would have been stupid." Side remarks like this could be a little irritating for a mature audience. And, considering that the book has some disturbing scenes and speaks about a torn-away breast, it is mainly for mature readers, in my opinion. Nevertheless, it was still a minor issue.
I spotted some typos as I was reading the book, but they were negligible. So, I assumed that the book was professionally edited and gave it 4 out of 4 stars. Any lesser rating would be not enough for this book because the author offered a unique way to look at some well-known characters and imagery, and the ending turned out to be very unexpected.
I recommend this book to all the fans of the fantasy genre. Those who love humorous prose would certainly enjoy it. I would say that the book also appeals to readers of mystery and romance novels because of a great number of jaw-dropping situations, surprising twists of the plot, and a solid love story. Even animal lovers may find the adventures of Brad, along with other amazing creatures, quite amusing.
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