Don’t Look Back is Chris Kennedy’s first foray into the Fantasy genre, and features a new cast of characters from his previous works. This contrasts with the Occupied Seattle and Theogeny series which featured many of the same core characters. The book follows the central character from a book convention in “our” world into a parallel universe where he seeks to help its heroes reclaim magic relics from a thief who is bent on controlling the realm.
What makes it awesome: Chris’s writing gets better with every book. He’s not afraid to try new things, as his three series in three different genres clearly demonstrate (military fiction, science fiction, and fantasy). The book starts off at a quick pace and maintains momentum. The hook of the protagonist discovering this new world in a COMICONesque setting was pretty cool, and I could actually imagine the spark of the idea coming to Mr. Kennedy’s mind as he did book signings. His cast of characters on the quest is the D&D version of the WWII movie with a fast talking Italian kid from New York, a Southerner, a Midwestern guy, etc. Except in this case, it’s a human, a half orc, an elf, a half demon, etc. This, as well as some of the elements of the fantasy world and the quest itself will invariably lead to some calling it “formulaic”. However, the commonalities don’t make it formulaic, they simply make it part of the genre, plus I find Chris to be funny and engaging enough in his writing that it doesn’t get old. The characters are interesting, there are inside jokes that amuse, and very much like the LOTR trilogy you find yourself reading faster trying to “keep pace” with the band of good guys and will them forward to success.
Why it’s not awesome: You’ll have to wait for him to release the next book to find out what happens next. In the meantime read the other five books and the prequel to this one if you haven’t yet.
It is a good ride. And for $3.99 (Kindle) you can’t beat it. My Kindle called it a 3.25 hour read and the Venti Mocha I started drinking as I read it cost more than the book and only lasted the first 15 minutes. I got more value and enjoyment from the book.