When Finn Fancy showed up in my Audible recommendations, I didn't pay much attention for a while because I never heard of Randy Henderson or the narra..Show More »tor, Todd Haberkorn, and the cover art and title made me think it might be too silly. After all, everyone and his dog seems to think he can write fantasy and a lot of it is drivel. But I finally picked this one up when I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to hear and wow - I LOVED THIS BOOK and I really loved the narration, too!
The story starts with the release of Finn from exile where he has been for 25 years having been sentenced to having his spirit separated from his body for a magical crime where he was the fall guy. The story flows from there with Finn's determined pursuit to find the truth about who set him up, why that was done, and who is still out to get him.
One of the things I liked best about the story is that Finn, although he has some magical abilities, is such a regular Joe. He loves his family, but doesn't always like them or get along with them; he wants to find love, but doesn't recognize it when it sneaks up on him; he has work to rid himself of prejudices he was taught when he was young. And this poor guy has to face all those regular human challenges and some major magical challenges while he has just jumped physically, mentally, and emotionally from being 15 to being 40!
There was nothing I didn't like about Finn Fancy and so much I loved so I'll just list a few:
* Great prose, much better than most fantasy writers and I particularly like the many clever similes that Henderson throws around. One example:"To know I'd helped to make him so unhappy, made me feel like I had beaten a unicorn to death with a Care Bear in front of a small child."
* Good World Building. This story is low fantasy - magical elements integrated into our world with most non-magical people (Mundanes or Mundies) being unaware - but most of the plot takes place on the magical side with mostly magical characters. Henderson lets his world unfold naturally with the plot progression so there are no info-dumps, but also very little time when the reader is confused.
* Fun 80's nostalgia. If you were born early enough to remember the 80's you'll get a kick out of the references to old TV shows (a lot of great Trekker references incorporated here), movies, slang, and miscellany (remember the Commodore 64 anyone?). Henderson has a lot of fun with our hero having to leap the big technology gap from then to now.
* Nice characterizations and realistic relationships between characters.
* Both witty and suspenseful. It's a tricky line for a writer to use some dark and suspenseful themes mixed with some comedy relief, but Henderson does this really well. So there is a good mystery with a twisty resolution in this story, but a lot of engaging funny moments and a great deal of wit that keeps the story lighter and fun..And, for all that I am usually a fan of snarky humor, most of the wit in Finn Fancy is much more gentle and leans to clever rather than snarky and that was a nice change of pace.
So, I've found a new writer I love, but I've also stumbled on a narrator I really enjoyed as well. I initially thought that Todd Haberkorn sounded a bit nerdy and then I realized - that's the character. Finn is a bit of nerd and Haberkorn not only captures him well, but finds a great voice for every other character in the novel (including women and girls). Really nice performance for a really fun novel.
This is Randy Henderson's debut novel which explains why I hadn't heard of him before. I sure hope to hear a LOT more from him in the future.