Friday, June 12, 2009
Humor, mystery, and fantasy combine to create an outstanding story in Magic, Mensa and Mayhem by Karina L. Fabian.
This was not going to be one of those STUC (Save-the-Universe Cases). Just an all-expense paid trip to Florida to chaperone a group of Magicals at a Mensa convention for Vern the dragon detective and his partner, the mage Sister Grace.
Well, someone forgot to tell the pixies. They start pulling their pranks. Then the Brownies start cleaning and organizing things they aren't supposed to and a hyped up elf who is behind the times might declare war on Florida. And as if that's not bad enough, there's a Native American Trickster who can change forms and a Valkyrie heroine of legend who has turned her attention to bodybuilding and fashion design, both of whom create a little chaos of their own.
So much for that cushy job!
If you are looking for a deep fantasy novel, this isn't it. Magic, Mensa and Mayhem is, however, one of the most uproariously funny books you'll ever read. Honestly, I laughed so hard that my husband thought I had found my decades-long missing sense of humor.
Fabian proves once again that she is a master storyteller. Who else could combine a dragon detective, a magical nun, a host of other bizarre characters and Oprah, and make it work so well?
Now, keeping in mind that I am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre, this book hooked me from the very first sentence. Actually, the Acknowledgements section caught my eye first, and I rarely read those. Fabian shares how the book came about, the origin of Vern, how she entered into a relationship with publisher Dindy Robinson of Swimming Kangaroo Books and talks about where you can find Vern online.
Included at the end are two appendices. The first is "Uncle Vern's Glossary of Faerie and Mundane Terms" and the second contains the "Pronunciation of Elvish Names" found in the book and includes brief comments about each elf. Both appendices are as devilishly funny as the rest of the book.
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem is a must read for anyone who enjoys a funny, offbeat story.
I leave you with a Vern quote that is also included at the back of the book:
"...Wisdom of the Ages, Knowledge of Eternity, and I end up a babysitter at the Smart Humans' Convention."
Title: Magic, Mensa and Mayhem
Author: Karina L. Fabian
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Books