Tor, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8431-7
Oh god, of all the heroes the author could have picked to star in a series, it has to be the worst piece of offal since Tasslehoff Burrfoot and Jar Jar Binks. Yes, Rodrick Poopchuter is back, and he is still as smug, on, rude, and close-minded as ever while the author labors under the delusion that this is the most charming hero ever. Tim Pratt must look into the mirror every morning and see L Sprague de Camp when he’s just inflicting a huge pain in the ass on the masses.
In Liar’s Bargain, Rodrick and his talking sword Hyrm get pressed into the service of a zealot, who wants him and a bunch of ragtag misfits and probably criminals – all pressed into the service of Lastwall and Iomedae, with failure or disobedience means death – to go rescue a political prisoner from a nearby country. That’s basically the premise of the story.
The first half or so of this book is a solid three-oogie read. Honestly, aside from that huge spilled sewer that is Rodrick, that part of the story isn’t bad. This story does give me old school vibes reminiscent of the brand of irreverent fantasy of Roger Zelazny and L Sprague de Camp, and I chuckle at quite a few moments here and there. It also helps that everyone is making fun of Rodrick and generally considering him less worthy than a gum stuck at one’s sole – as it should be; all feels right in the world.
And then the second half happens, and the story gets shot completely. Oh, I know, I have to respect the vision of the author, yadda yadda yadda, but yikes, he kills the most interesting character, only to set in motion a twist that I can see coming early on in the story, and worst of all, the death of this character means the freaking elevation of Rodrick back in the spotlight, ugh. Yes, once again, this piece of stupid ass mofo starts mouthing off and preening like he’s a turd stuck on a peacock’s rear end laboring under the impression that he is the peacock.
And it’s also official at this point: Rodrick is never getting any character development, and he’s always going to back in square one at the start of the next book – if there is going to be one, shudder.
Anyway, Liar’s Bargain starts out okay, and ends up in the toilet. Can’t the author write about the alchemist guy more often instead? If I have to read any more Rodrick Poopchuter tales, I think I will start drinking soon.