This is brief because the longer review will eventually appear on Castalia House.
“Lord Talon’s Revenge” was almost exactly what I expected it to be. It was a fantasy novel that hints at being something of a cynical parody, but doesn’t quite go all the way. Mr. Simon is simply too fond and respectful of the genre, and of western civilization, to really mock fantasies; so instead he mocks BAD fantasies, then takes those tropes he mocked and elegantly shapes them into something wonderful.
Basically, he creates the world of “A Song of Ice and Fire”, a world full of backstabbing liars and villains and where the only hero is a hopeless idiot, spends time thoroughly tearing down the hopeless idiot, and then has said idiot pull himself up by his bootstraps and stick his thumb in Mr. George R.R. Martin’s eye, and with a smile on his face all the while.
But it wasn’t what I expected because, quite honestly, I expected it to be worse. My experience with Mr. Simon’s book of short fiction lead me to the conclusion that he was a pretty good fiction writer who sometimes achieved great depth of insight (as in his Smiggy McStudge stories/essays and related works). I expected something smart and entertaining, but not something brilliant.
And yet, brilliant is what I got. The characters were memorable; the plot intricate and complex but never convoluted; the prose sharp and memorable; the humor and parody dead-on and clever. And when Mr. Simon wanted to be serious, and tried for moments of beauty and longing, he managed it. Sections were genuinely stirring, and not at all in a humorless way.
Everyone who loves fantasies needs to read this book, and at less than three dollars, you have no excuse. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.
After you read it, WRITE A REVIEW!!!