Hero, Second Class is the story of apprentice hero, Cyrus Solburg, encompassing his years of training with Sir Reginald Ogleby, also known as The Crimson Slash, and his first solo quest as a Hero, Second Class. Reg has a habit of narrating his own battles (and asking Cyrus to record them, please) because, he says: (p 56)"You think I'd trust some half-wit bard who's never held a sword to accurately describe epic combat? You might as well ask a blind poet!" It's Reg's job to teach Cyrus everything he needs to know to become a hero in his own right, even if the First Thing about being a hero changes every time Reg thinks of something new.
Here's a sample (p 76-77):
"Who just counterspelled me?" he (the villain mage) demanded.
Cyrus smiled. "Over here, Shorty. You want to use magic? Try me."
The mage smiled back, though in a decidedly more evil fashion. "Insolent whelp! I'll show you a thing or Five."
As he pronounced the last word, he flung his hands out, twisting his arms as he did so. His thin wisp of beard blew forward in the backwash as five fragments of flaming frost flashed through the air.
Cyrus had time to either scream or drop to the ground before the ice reached him. He opted for the latter, flinging himself into the snowbank. The inexplicably incandescent icicles passed overhead, smashing harmlessly against a large rock.
A slash of flame rent the newly chilled air and carbonized the mage's hiding-tree. Keeth (dragon) waded out of the drift, shivering massively. "I d-don't l-l-like c-c-cold!"
The Crimson Slash drew himself up to his full Heroic six foot four inches, not counting the boots, and pointed his sword at the now-exposed mage. "Frostbite! I challenge you to a Hero's Combat! Stand your ground!"
Cyrus clapped a hand to his head. Not again, he thought.
The Villain turned slightly aside. "You do? I didn't expect that. Very well. I must use the most powerful spell I have left."
The Crimson Slash shifted his shield to Spell Blocking Position Delta.
"Teleport!" the mage yelled.
"No!" shouted the Crimson Slash, lunging forward.
"Bok in a bucket," Cyrus muttered.
The mage vanished in a shimmer of powdery snow.
"By the Seven Furies..." sputtered Reginald.
Methinks that gives you a bit of a taste of Bonds' voice in this rollicking fantasy spoof. This is a land where Capital Letter and Assymetrical Numbers add strength to magical spells, where Villains band together under an Arch Villain to take over the world, and where Cyrus, with his unusual abilities, is forced to make an impossible choice of who he will save in the final battle.
But is it the final battle? Of course not. Hero, Second Class is Book 1 of The Hero Complex. I, for one, will be around for Book 2.
Reminiscent of Patricia Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, this novel can be enjoyed by folks of any age, but is complex and witty enough to be appreciated by adults. I enjoyed a novel that allowed me to read a few chapters at a time, but that I always wanted to come back to.
If you enjoy spoofs, puns and tongue-in-cheek humor, pick up Hero, Second Class. I'm pretty sure you'll be glad you did!