Antipaladin Blues by Jess Gulbranson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When the forces of good prove to be a bunch of assholes, the world needs a bad guy to settle the score. With his demonic spiked armor and flaming sword, Kannon comes to the City of D to set things right...
Antipaladin Blues is a novella that takes the standard Dungeons & Dragons inspired fantasy tropes and drops them on their heads. The main character is a carnage-loving antipaladin and the rest of what will eventually resemble an adventuring party consist of a denim-wearing mage, a lady alchemist trying to make a go of things in a man's world, and Frank Burley, last of the red-hot archliches.
The worldbuilding is surprisingly good for a novella of this type. Imagine a world where wizards suppress non-magical healing techniques and the emperor plots against his own people.
The book runs on ultraviolence and anachronistic humor, reading like a twisted version of Sam Raimi's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. There are also quite a few Dungeons and Dragons inside jokes, making for a funny read but at no time does the humor descend to a silly level. The ultraviolence is the star of the show.
The thing that separates Kannon from a lot of dark fantasy characters is that he knows what he is and loves it. There's no lamentation, no regrets, just a bastard in a spikey suit of armor kicking ass and taking names, the asses in question belonging to paladins, wizards, angels, psionicists, and all sorts of other things.
Antipaladin Blues is a fun read and I'm hoping Jess Gulbranson continues the story in the future. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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