Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wuntvor 03: A Disagreement With Death (Craig Shaw Gardner)

Rating: 4
Year: 1989
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Read again? Yes

Fresh from fleeing Mother Duck and her fairy tales, Wuntvor and his companions learn that Death has taken Wunt's master, the great (sneezing) wizard Ebenezum. Death's holding him hostage and wants the Eternal Apprentice to hand himself over.

Snarks the horribly honest demon reminds them that he used to be a monk in the service of Plaugg the Somewhat Magnificent, and that Wunt might ask the third-rate god for help. Wunt and Snarks fly dragonback to the heavens--with a short stop to ask the Two Fates for directions (the third sister is on vacation).

The Fates' advice sends them to the Home of the Dragons. Hubert (the theatrical dragon) hasn't been home in quite some time. He's wildly famous, the local-boy-done-good, but his friends and relatives want to know why he's hoarding those tasty morsels (Wunt and Snarks). A little song, a little dance...and it turns out that the part of heaven where they'll find Plaugg is up, and a little to the left.

Of the six Ebenezum/Wuntvor books, this is the most disappointing. Once we've gotten through the Big Fight with Death, the book just winds down and seems to stop. A perfunctory resolution to the series.

Stylistically, through all six books Gardner's writing gets you there, but kind of plods along the way. Serviceable. The first time I read the series (1991 or so), it was cryingly funny. After maybe the 6th time, I'd say to just ignore the bumps and these short books will go by quickly.

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