When Angst turned 40, he knew it was over. Angst had longed to be a knight of Unsel, to make his mark in history, to be remembered for heroic deeds and wondrous acts. He grew up knowing he was destined for something great, but now it is too late. Not only is 40 far too old to become a knight, Angst is one of the few able to wield “the magics.” For 2,000 years magic has been outlawed, repressed, even outright destroyed throughout the world of Ehrde.
By law, Angst is reduced to using his great power only to file papers. His marriage is on the rocks, his friends are bored with him, and he hates his job.
The one person that makes him happy is the young Princess Victoria who seems to adore him. Unfortunately, that makes his boss, the Queen, hate him.
Without warning, Unsel is besieged with dangerous monsters – birds with metallic beaks, monkey creatures that can dive through solid ground, mindless horse-eating giants. The world that shunned magic now turns to Angst for help, and he is happy to listen once his back stops hurting.
On the edge of a mid-life crisis, Angst drags his reluctant friends along with him on an adventure into the heart of magic. He’s not sure where they’re going, what they’ll find, or even if they’ll survive. But he knows this is his one chance to be a hero because the only way to fight magic is with magic.
- Note I received this book from the author as a gift, because he enjoyed my review of his other book Clod Makes a Friend so much. Which makes me smile every time I think about it. 😊
Ah 40… while it’s not what it used to be, I like to think the hill has moved to 50, but it represents a milestone most of us aren’t looking forward to. In fact…
I TURN 40 THIS FALL! 😲
So I figure it was the perfect time to read this book.
Angst is an unusual hero in an unusual story. I read quite a bit of fantasy and have never come across anything like it. Angst is like the Dilbert of the fantasy world. Except he is a Dilbert with dreams of being a knight.
Often fantasy stories feature a self-assured hero, or a chosen one, or someone who is still learning the ropes, pretty much all of these hero-types are given quests that have pretty clear goals. Frodo must take the ring to Mordor. Roland has to reach the Dark Tower. Matthias needs to protect Redwall. Thomas needs to solve the maze. Alina has to defeat the Darkling. That sort of thing. In Angst David threw all of those norms aside to create a self assured (sometimes) man on a quest to do (something) he doesn’t really know what. The end goal of the quest being somewhat in flux drives his friends nuts. It was a fun twist on the fantasy quest troupe.
The world building is unique too. Unsel is a place both familiar and new to fantasy readers. It has it’s castles, knights, giants, magic etc. But so many new things were added… I wish I could tell you about them all but that would be spoiling it. I want you to go into the story and be as pleasantly surprised as I was at each new element.
I loved this book (though probably not as much as I loved Clod.) As one reviewer on Goodeads put it, “Angst isn’t a breath of fresh air, it’s a whole gust,” Dusty Craine. I absolutely agree.
The perfect read for someone just about to turn 40, or who recently turned 40, or just wants to read something with a character going through a mid-life crisis and contemporary fiction isn’t your thing. Angst is a funny and quick witted fantasy romp.