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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finn Fancy Necromancy (Preview) by Randy Henderson

Finn Fancy Necromancy
Randy HendersonMacmillan-Tor/ForgeTor Books

What more could a debut author want? A cool title and a funky cover. Randy Henderson, winner of last year's Writers of the Future award, has it made. I reviewed his story here. Perhaps I should revisit this tale to confirm or negate my earlier impression.

Tor supplied a hefty amount of opening chapters for reviewers to check out Henderson's work. For those of us who love oddity, Henderson churns out a heady mix of the familiar and unfamiliar.

To pay for his crime of dark necromancy--a crime he didn't commit--Finn Gramaraye has been stuck in another realm for twenty-five years where he's been hanging with blobbish creatures and reflecting on past mistakes. When he exits, he has to deal with the difference between his last time on Earth [1986] and the present, and all the changes between. No sooner is he free, than he finds himself embroiled again in a battle against sasquatch (sasquatches?), among others.

This bears favorable comparisons to Kevin Hearne, Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. The Rowling connection is in feel and scenario, mostly the prison and guards (Enforcers). The Hearne comparison comes with the voice, direct-to-reader with personality although both occasionally rely on too much dialogue. Both use traditional tropes, but Hearne is more explicit about its historical magic development.

Henderson shares with Pratchett a light humorous tone, except Henderson often relies on puns and 80s nostalgia i.e.
"He looked like one of the hair metal rockers from Poison, with a mighty mane that covered his face and draped down over his shoulders."
"The sasquatch ignored us. It looked like we'd narrowly escaped a hairy situation."
This is sample enough to give you a flavor for whether this is your cup of tea. It will appeal most to those who enjoy the off-beat, but there's plenty of tried-and-true as well:  an unusual dynamic that drives familiar genre tropes.

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