The Woods Out Back
Although he did everything right - did well in school, earned a university degree, etc, Gary Leger hasn't been able to find a job in his field. Now he works at the town's plastic factory, working with plastic chips. His only pride is his new Jeep. He reads a lot of fantasy novels and has a wonderful imaginary life while working. He often will go to the small woods behind his house to read.
One night he goes back there with a copy of The Hobbit. While napping, a strange thing happens. A leprechaun named Mickey McMickey kidnaps him. They go to the world of the Faerie. Mickey had been caught by an elf named Kelsey Gil-Ravadry who is on a quest. He needs a human who fits into a mythological suit of armor. This quest involves having the right sized human wear the armor to hold a magical broken spear for a dwarf to repair in the fire of a dragon. Gary decides he must be dreaming, mustn't he?
Mickey and Kelsey quickly disabuse him of that notion. It's not long before he is attacked, seduced by pixies, avoiding a wicked sorceress, conning the local duke, looking for dwarves, avoiding stone people, ducking ravens, hitching rides with giants, and generally escaping for his life every time he turns around. But will he be able to stay alive until he can help Kelsey fulfill his life quest? For that matter, what about his enforced companions. What if they are killed before he can finish and return to his world?
The Woods Out Back is a cool fantasy of swords and dragons. While the target audience is the young male (teens through 20's), anyone who likes fantasy novels will have a great time with The Woods Out Back. R.A. Salvatore follows the swashbuckling tradition in this novel. He has some great creatures. Mickey is a magical leprechaun with superb powers of illusion. The elf gives Gary two choices - help him or die. The dwarf is a grouchy fellow who is marvelous with rocks and smithing. Then there is the dragon - I like Salvatore's twist for the dragon.
Don't look for any women in this book. Gary's mother makes a brief appearance. There's the sorceress who is evil and trying to stop the quest. And there is the seductive pixie. This is a guy's book. Salvatore decided females aren't needed on this quest.
Still, I had fun with The Woods Out Back. I listened to it and was hoping the library had the sequels in audio format as well, but not yet. So I'll not get back to this fantasy series - Spearwielder Tales - immediately, but I hope to.
Notice: Graphic violence
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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