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fish wielder book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Fish Wielder is a parody on all things fantasy. I mean all things. If there is a fantasy trope, it is thrown in there. If there is a literary turn of phrase, it is in there. The author even pokes fun of the book itself quite frequently. Prominent lampoonings involve Conan the Barbarian, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, and any book with elves in it.

I felt I had to read this book since the author has three Rs in his name–J.R.R.R. Hardison. I’ve read books by most of the other authors with multiple Rs in their names…Tolkien and Martin, as well as a host with only one R.  The parody started there and didn’t stop.

Like many parodies, it pushed the bounds of tolerable, but at least for me it never quite crossed that line. Just about when the joke was getting old, Hardison would switch it up again. There were a few good surprises, like some elves spontaneously combusting upon death, just because they were so awesome. Things like that kept me smiling though the book. Not to mention a fastidious barbarian, and a fish that can’t swim.

Thoral Mighty Fist Wielder is a barbarian like none other. For one thing, he always wins a fight, even if he doesn’t know he’s in one. It’s like the fates are looking out for him, though fate has a little help in the form of Brad, a talking fish and Thoral’s best friend.

Someone in the Bad Religion has decided Thoral is a threat and must go. So many attempts on his life are made. Thoral, however, is a little slow on the uptake since things don’t seem more dangerous than normal. To relieve his boredom, the duo go adventuring. They save damsels, find treasures, kill bad guys and generally do amazing things. Then the third act comes along and twist upon twist of a twisted scheme is unveiled. And then the cliffhanger comes along asking you to wait for the next book.

While I think I’d have a hard time reading such a trilogy back to back, I do think that when the second book comes out, I’ll have to give a try to see the further adventures of Brad and Thoral–they were funny and entertaining. Most fantasy fans should give this book a try.


Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by J.R.R.R. Hardison. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.