Title: The Ratastrophe Catastrophe
Series: The Illmoor Chronicles, #1
Author: David Lee Stone
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Humor
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
Source: From publisher via NetGalley
My rating: 3/5
Diek Wutspah is a normal shepard boy. That is until a dark, evil magic roots itself within him instilling him with the power to charm man and beast with his magic flute. When the ancient town of Illmoor is plagued by an infestation of giant rats, Diek offers to lead the rodents to their doom. But when the dim-witted Duke of Illmoor refuses to reward him, Diek seeks revenge by kidnapping the town's children. Just when it seems the children are gone for good, a team of misfit mercenaries - Groan, a buck-toothed Giant, Gordo, a wise-cracking dwarf, and Tambor, a has-been sorcerer - set out on a bumbling journey to stop Diek, and save the children. But will it be too late?
I was both hesitant and excited to read this retelling of a favorite classic. But in the end, I was happy with how it turned out to be something distinctively different from the original, yet still doing justice to the much-loved fable on which it is based.
Dullitch is a fascinating city, richly imagined and elaborated upon. Filled with humans and all sorts of creatures such as trolls, sprites, pixies ogres, dwarves, elves, giants, and gnomes, it ensures an interesting plot that would keep the fantasy fanatic riveted. The story also has its fair share of humor, and whatever it lacks in other areas – specifically the disjointed writing - it makes up for with a few hilarious scenes. Here’s one that had me laughing right at the start.
“What is it, lad”?
The boy turned and looked up at his father, his smile was apprehensive. “I thought I heard something, Dad.”
“That’ll be the cattle cart,” said his father, quietly grateful that his son had stopped playing; Diek’s musical ability suggested possible employment in the torture trade.
Mr. Wustapha looked out over a broad expanse of west-country farmland, his brow creased. A few cows in the field opposite had wandered over to the gate and were mooching idly about.
“No, it was more like a feeling than a sound. I thought I felt something.”
“Well, that’ll be your dinner,” his father continued, reflecting on years of terror at the dinner table. Mrs. Wustapha was one of a long line of cooks on her mother’s side of the family. He hoped fervently she would be the last.
Even though I found the writing to be a little off-balance with sudden scene transitions, I was impressed by the amount of work the author put into fleshing out each character, as well as the in-depth world building that made me feel part of the realm of Illmoor. The characters are what drive this hilarious spin on the classic fable of the Pied Piper. Each character is uniquely flawed, and stands apart from the rest. The plot is filled with twists and surprises, and the ending is not what you’d expect.
Overall, this was a fun read which reads so effortlessly I finished it in no time. Apart from the very simplistic writing which was sometimes more a miss than a hit, I still had a great time reading The Ratastrophe Catastrophe (try saying it five times really fast, I dare you)! I might actually read the rest of the series sometime.
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