The book Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds is an epic fantasy (598 pages for this first part of the trilogy). The story is well-written and filled with memorable heroes and villains, exciting battles, breath-abating twists in the plot, and, most enjoyably, word play that exceeds the sword play in the story. Yes, humorous one-liners and puns fly freely throughout the book, hitting characters and readers alike.
In the beginning, a young, red-headed kid named Cyrus Solburg becomes an apprentice to a hero (which he has always longed to do), and after working at it many years and proving himself, hopes to become a “Hero, Second Class.” Crimson Slash, “Master Hero,” to Cyrus, narrates his scenes out loud during battles, which annoys not only the villains, but also other Heroes he fights alongside. Voshtyr Demonkin is the Arch Villain, and as his name implies, is half demon, which gives him special powers, and boy, does he come back in amazing ways after seeming to lose. But then, the Heroes in the story have great comebacks as well.
Some of the races in this world are the normal epic fantasy races of Men, Elves, Goblins, Orcs, and Dwarves, plus there are other races like the Araquellus (a fishlike humanoid race) and the Katheni (a cat-like humanoid race). There are also Monsters like Vampires, Manticores, and Zombies, plus mythical beasts such as Dragons and Gryfons, all of which play incredibly fun roles in the story.
Other creatures, which serve the Villains, include Minions, who are “...cheap to buy, cost little or nothing to feed, and fight loyally to the death for their Villain,” Toadies, which “...make good Counselors, Viziers, and Tax Collectors,” and Henchmen, “...excellent bodyguards and/or general purpose Thugs. But they have the brain of a brick.” However, Tax Collectors “…are the most feared parasite in Centra Mundi, followed by the Grinder Leach at a distant second.” To remind the reader of their fearsome status, Tax Collectors are brought up in several parts of the story as despicable creatures to avoid at all costs.
This story will have any fantasy-loving reader in stitches (ouch!) over and over again. However, readers are warned that they shouldn’t start reading it unless they have two or three full days to read, or at least five or six evenings with nothing to do, because the book is not a light read. Hero, Second Class is highly recommended for all fantasy lovers ages 11 to adult.
Mitchell Bonds grew up in Priest River, Idaho, and was first published at age 20. His second book in the trilogy is Hero in Hiding, and he is currently working on the final episode of the trilogy.