From the blurb:
Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.
Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King's Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.
When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.
At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.
Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.
Or so he thinks.
Soooooo much to say about this one! First of all, I'm a MEGA T.J. Klune fan. I love his particular brand of humor and I think that he is an extremely talented writer. I preface with that because all of you should know that my rating and review is coming from someone who is a self-proclaimed T.J. fangirl.
So what do you need to know about this one? What is the deal with this story? I'll break it down for all of you.
If you have read a T.J. book recently, you are already well acquainted with the characters in this book. No, these are not people who we've seen before, but they are strikingly similar to some of T.J.'s greatest from his previous books. In the same way that Bear, Ty, and Paul had no filter and sort of just blurted out ridiculous things, so does Sam, the main character here. He is the same funny, everyone loves him but sort of wants to kill him, person as we've seen before in many of T.J.'s books. That isn't a bad thing, but it rings very familiar.
I really liked Sam, even though he was willfully oblivious to the point of painful. It was also a little annoying how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loved him, but I still found him to be a great protagonist. However, my favorite characters were Tiggy (I SMASH!! You'll see...) and Gary. I just LOVED the idea of a horn-less unicorn who was into some weird, freaky-deaky sex stuff. Gary, you bad boy you. He just cracked me up! I also loved Ryan, (aka Knight Delicious Face). I toootally got the appeal, and I also wanted to squish his sexy face and bone him.
Now, this is where my warning comes into play: THIS BOOK IS FOR T.J. KLUNE FANS ONLY. The humor is non-stop, every page is just ON, and if you found previous T.J. Klune books to be over-the-top, you will not like this one. This book is even more over-the-top, with each page sort of getting more and more ridiculous. The banter is constant. I looooved the back and forth between the characters, I loved the nicknames, I loved the humor, but even I, a HUGE T.J. Fan, could see how it could becomes tiresome. In my opinion, it was incredibly enjoyable to read a book that was so light and fun.
I'd call this fantasy ultra-light. Though this is set in a fantasy world with knights, wizards, and magical creatures, there are a ton of pop-culture references (from our world), and the world-building is shaky at best. I think the fantasy realm is meant as another vehicle for T.J.'s imagination, and this book is not meant as a heavy-duty fantasy novel. For example, the King jokes around with Sam like he is Sam's bestie and not a ruler of the kingdom. There is NO formality in the castle, and everyone gets in on the puns, joking, and sexual innuendoes.
Now this is where I found this book to be a little... sticky. This book is super long, clocking in at 400+ pages, and I think it could have been cut down a lot. The beginning, especially, is really repetitive. While there is a story arc, the book is mostly just one zany happening after the other. I also wish the editor had been a bit more careful because I found numerous grammatical mistakes, which always irks me.
The romance element of this book grew on me more and more. For almost the entire book, Ryan is engaged to someone else. That made the relationship-building element a little difficult for me to get on board with. However, over time, I grew to be totally team HaveHeart and a big Foxy Lady (you'll see...), and I was SOOO ready for these two guys to just get their act together! I also understood the attraction between the two men a little more as the book went on.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is almost no sex in this book. Be prepared. Just one tiny scene with some nookie, but if you are looking for some detailed action, look elsewhere.
Moral of the story.
If you love T.J. and you can't get enough of his particular brand of humor, you will simply adore this one. It is lighthearted but heartfelt, and though I think it could have used some tweaking, it was a classically funny T.J. read with a beautiful HEA.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Catch ya later!