‘Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest’ is simply epic

When I think ‘‘fantasy,’’ I think a world on the brink of darkness, serious characters in dire situations, creatures that spring out of nowhere and delight in making the heroes squirm, as well as a great deal of jumping over metaphorical bridges made of illusionary pink sparkly foam that leads toward promised fatal glory. And you know what, I think A. Lee Martinez and I think similarly because he managed to deliver on my most intense ‘‘fantasy’’ fantasies.

Most people think ‘‘just add water’’ but A. Lee Martinez thinks ‘‘just add humor.’’ A God eating a human? That’s fine, just make sure that the God is in the shape of a burger. A female underdog-type love interest to a God-in-the-making? That’s stellar, just make sure the love interest is a rare creature who radiates wit and insecurities that catapult her into turning her side-kick status into a front-kick one. A. Lee Martinez will gladly make your humorous fantasies come true as well as add some unexpected ones of his own.

Helen and Troy don’t have much time. They are on a quest, which sounds all fun and exciting, but if they don’t accomplish it, they die. They might also die while accomplishing it. They might also die just for the hell of it, because the Gods were bored or something. Or because they’re being followed by killer orcs. Regardless, they are on a road trip—pardon, road quest, as per the title—and stumble upon a ton of helpful-malevolent beings that simultaneously want to exterminate them and cheer them on. If you sense that there is a lot of contradiction in this story, don’t let it discourage you. Or let it, if your mind is so weak.

I’m just saying, how often do you get the chance to witness a written scene involving a gladiator-type fight between a respected, professional Cyclops and a Minotaur girl, afraid of her own power? Thank you, A. Lee Martinez, for the honour.

Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the copy in exchange for a review.

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