Buried in Angst
by David J. Pedersen
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Release date: May 25th 2013
Liked It A lot
Content Rating: R Mature themes.
A little flirting never hurt anyone, right?
It takes more than just a new job and a new mount to resolve a midlife crisis, but will the temptation of a younger woman really make it better?
Angst had found the adventure he was looking for and got to be the hero, but those days are behind him. To save the ones he loves most, he had to sacrifice his bond with the sword that allowed him to be a hero.
Now, Unsel faces a new threat. With the mysterious destruction of a large coastal city, Angst sets out to discover the cause. He soon learns that a war between the Elements is coming, and humans are in the way. It’s hard to fight back when Angst is dying, the removal of his bond to the great sword Chryslaenor slowly killing him.
Angst needs a sword to live, but Chryslaenor has been stolen! His friends reluctantly join him on another quest, but where do they start? Rose is missing, Angst’s focus and spirit is broken, he has somehow upset the Elements of Ehrde, and a newcomer wants to overtake the throne. What could make things worse? Perhaps a kiss from Princess Victoria’s younger cousin, Alloria?
Buried in Angst is David J. Pedersen’s long awaited sequel to his first fantasy novel, Angst. Join Angst and his friends as they continue…
A Midlife Crisis in Medieval Times.
This is the second Angst book (read my review of the first book.) Buried in Angst has more surprises in it, and not like twists and turns (though there are a few of those.) This is not your typical trope filled fantasy.
Pedersen once again takes the well known and gives it a breath of fresh air. Playing with the genre in a way that only someone who truly loves fantasy can. It’s hard to describe just how much these books feel like home for a fantasy reader while also feeling like something completely different. Like staying in an AirB’nB that has the same floor layout as your home but all the furniture is in different places. The book has an air of the unexpected.
Angst defies description in any normal terms of a fantasy hero. He’s middle aged, he’s got marital problems, he’s got bad habits, he’s too friendly with a certain princess, but he’s got a heart of gold and would sacrifice anything for his friends.
The story pivots around the fallout from the first book. The collateral damage that is bound to happen when large magical battles take place aren’t often the subject matter or fantasy novels. Here that collateral damage comes back to bit Angst and Unsel in the behind.
Becoming a hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Possible spoilers ahead.
However, there are some uncomfortable bits. Particularly with the way the relationship between Angst and Victoria plays out. The problematic way Angst flirts with much younger women, Victoria and Alloria is creepy. Especially when his “friendship” results with the Princess sneaking into his tent naked to sleep next to him.
The upside is that all his friends call him out on how wrong and gross this is. It opens up a big divide between them. One that is not resolved by the end of the book.
This has caused me to do some deep thinking. This series is about a “midlife crisis in medieval times” in that way it’s not a stretch to see these more uncomfortable parts as a midlife fantasy themselves. In a lot of media about midlife middle aged men are portrayed as seeking to be desired by younger women. In fantasy this is a trait we see more often in villains. Angst pretty much throws out the rulebook on hero troupes, so it shouldn’t surprise me that he defies the troupe of “sexual interest”.
So with all that said, do I still like the book? Yes. If it were billed as a YA novel I might have more of a problem accepting it. This is a book for people in midlife and it’s refreshing to have flawed heros (who are flawed in unexpected ways.) It refreshing to have midlife issues addressed in an epic fantasy story, even if they make me uncomfortable. I haven’t read the 3rd book yet but I am hoping it shows some growth in Angst’s character in this area.
A fantasy novel that defies expectations and throws troupes out the window. I’d recommend it for mature readers.