Review: Mishap's Heroes: Magic and Misrule
Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Magic and MisruleMagic and Misrule by K.M. Merritt
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This was a fast and entertaining read that took a bunch of social outliers no one thought much of and turned them into heroes. The main protagonist is a half-orc hoping to become a paladin in a D&D-style world. She sets out on a quest with a rag-tag party of similarly overlooked beings that include a klutzy wizard who's also a runaway noble, a hafling monk, and a non-gendered ranger with a wolf companion. She is also joined by her trainer, Henri, who will observe the quest and make the call on whether or not she's fit to be a full-fledged knight.

I had a little trouble getting into the story at the beginning. I think I just didn't quite click with the MC, Vola. There were a lot of aspects about her that I really liked, but I also found her a bit irritating. However, the other party members were able to round out the cast for me in a satisfying way.

The story was a classic D&D-style quest - find and defeat an evil culprit to save the townspeople. The first leg of their quest was a bit slow, but once the group reached their first goal (and the first plot twist) the pace really picked up.

This was definitely a character-driven story, with the main focus being on interpersonal relationships. Merritt used external conflicts like the swamp through which the party slogged and a rival group of heroes to highlight the internal struggles of the characters, and especially Vola. I would even go so far as to call this a coming-of-age story as Vola struggles to find her place in the world. As such, I recommend it for fans of light YA fantasy adventure.

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