#Review: Fish Wielder – J.R.R.R (Jim) Hardison
Thoral Mighty Fist is tired of his meager existence. Though he’s done everything to pull himself from the depressive state that plagues him at every turn, nothing seems to brighten up his days. Until the moment he and his trusty sidekick, Brad, a talking Koi fish, are given the chance to save the world around them. Their goal—to find the Pudding of Power, Dark Lord Mauron’s most prized dessert. Finding it will prove to be trying, but it’s a goal Thoral has set himself upon. Nothing and no one will keep him from fulfilling his very goal.
An intriguing read, Fish Wielder thrusts the reader into Thoral’s plight, one that’s full of so many twists and turns, that it keeps you guessing from start to finish. Thoral is a man who’s tired of the cards he’s been dealt. In his mind, there’s something better on the other side. All that changes when he’s presented with the unexpected quest of finding something that hasn’t been seen in years.
A satirical take on all things fantasy, we catch glimpses of Lord of the Rings, Lovecraft, Alice in Wonderful, and many more. Jim spins a story that truly piques interest, while making the reader laugh at all the silliness every step of the way. He’s taken elements from all of the fantastic worlds and blended them together in such a way that you’re actually rooting for Thoral and Brad as they strive to find the Pudding of Power.
Thoral sort of reminds me of Thorin Oakenshield from LOTR, except this character is far more depressed and intent on doing things in unconventional ways. Fish Wielder is a story that’s enjoyable by anyone of any age. The parodic and comedic elements truly makes the reader want to continue reading in order to know what happens next. It’s definitely a delightful read.
“Come on, pal. Let’s get out of here,” Brad suggested, fanning himself with a fin. “We’ll fight a monster or go on a quest or steal the jeweled eye from an idol or something. It’ll be fun.”
“My heart is too…” Thoral trailed off. “What is that word that means when something has substantial weight?”
“Heavy,” the fish supplied. Thoral always had trouble remembering that one.
“Heavy. Yes. My heart is too heavy for adventure,” Thoral complained.
“Well, maybe if we pick something really hard, you’ll get killed,” the fish offered.
“A hero’s death?” Thoral asked, perking up just a bit.
“Yeah, sure. A hero’s death.”
“And then I couldst be done with this world,” Thoral murmured.
“Exactly,” Brad affirmed.
“Then let us go,” Thoral said, “this very instant.” He slammed his drink down on the table so hard that some of the ale sloshed out of the tankard, splashing at the fish. The koi danced back, just missing a soaking.
“Up to bed first and we’ll hit the road in the morning,” Brad countered, stepping around the puddle of spilled drink.
“No, we will leave now.” There was a dangerous edge to the warrior’s tone that drew the attention of everyone in the room even though he had not raised his voice. The bar went silent.
“Look, Thoral,” the koi answered, “it’s getting late. I’m tired. You’re drunk. We could both use some sleep. Let’s not make a rash decision that might lead to all kinds of unexpected complications.”
Every eye turned to see the barbarian’s reaction.
“We will leave now,” Thoral insisted. The warrior and the fish stared at each other.
“Be reasonable,” Brad tried again. “Just give me one good reason why we shouldn’t wait until morning.”
“We will leave now,” the barbarian declared, “because I am Thoral Mighty Fist!”
Everyone gasped. Brad sagged, defeated. Once Thoral noted that he was Thoral, there was no point in arguing further. Everyone knew it. That’s just how it was.
Fish Wielder is kind of like Lord of the Rings, set in Narnia, if it was written by the guys who made Monty Python and the Holy Grail while they were listening to the music of They Might Be Giants.
In ancient times, the Dark Lord Mauron cooked the most powerful magic chocolate dessert ever made, the Pudding of Power.
One thousand and two years later, the evil leader of the Bad Religion, the Heartless One, is trying to recover the lost pudding in order to enslave the peoples of Grome. Only the depressed barbarian warrior Thoral Might Fist and his best friend, Brad the talking Koi fish, have a chance to save the world of Grome from destruction, but that’s going to take a ridiculous amount of magic and mayhem.
Thus begins the epically silly epic fantasy of epic proportions, Fish Wielder—book one of the Fish Wielder Trilogy.
About The Author:
Piers Anthony, New York Times Bestselling author of the Xanth series reviewed it and said,
“This is one wild romp! I suspect some smarter reader than I could do a doctoral dissertation just fathoming the fantasy genre’s famous legends that are parodied here. I’m not sure I’ve seen such preposterously determined critic-baiting parody since Xanth or Asprin’s Myth-begotten series. I recommend it to anyone.”
And that made me very happy.
I’m a writer and the creative director for Character LLC, a Portland-Oregon-based company that does story-analysis for brands and entertainment properties. I’ve worked as a writer, animator and director in commercials and entertainment since graduating from Columbia College of Chicago in 1988. I started my professional career by producing a low-budget direct-to-video feature, “The Creature From Lake Michigan”. Making a bad film can be a crash course in the essential elements of good character and story, and “The Creature From Lake Michigan” was a tremendously bad film. I learned from that debacle, and after a brief stint recuperating as a freelance writer and film editor, I founded my own production company. During its seven-year run, I wrote, directed and edited live-action and animation productions, including educational films, television commercials and television pilots. Shifting my focus entirely to animation, I joined Will Vinton Studios in 1997. There I directed animated commercial and entertainment projects, including spots for M&M’s, AT&T, Cingular Wireless and Kellogg’s as well as episodic television. While working at Vinton, I also co-wrote the television special “Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy” with actor Paul Reiser.
I co-founded Character LLC in 2000. While working at Character I’ve given story advice to many of the world’s largest brands including Amazon, Discovery Networks, Target, Microsoft, Verizon, Samsung, McDonalds and Walmart. I’ve even appeared on NBC’s “The Apprentice” as an expert advisor on brand characters. I did character development work and have written for the PBS children’s television series “SeeMore’s Playhouse” and I authored the “The Helm,” a graphic novel for Dark Horse comics that was named one of 2010’s top ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA, a branch of the American Library Association.