This original and entertaining fantasy novel by Michael James Ploof opens with a long passage explaining the backstory – the event known as “the culling”, which has wiped out ninety-nine per cent of humanity and left a world crawling with supernatural beings – demons, vampires, werewolves, etc.
The reader is then plunged into the middle of an exorcism by a wizard and a cleric, and I half expected someone to roll a twelve-sided dice and cast a spell to increase strength, speed and stamina. In fact, the wizard duly casts just such a spell, admittedly without the need of a dice.
Thankfully, despite the initial prolonged explication and the threat of this turning into a dungeons and dragons session, the book actually turns out to be a skillfully executed and humorous tale. Orion Rezner, the protagonist, who tells the story in the first person, has a distinctive narrative voice, which reminded me a little of Kinky Friedman’s eponymous private eye: never laugh-out-loud but always reliably witty and likeable.
The fantasy world of post-culling Boston and its environs are worked out and described in fine detail while maintaining the fast pace and action of the story, and many interesting and memorable characters are introduced (a monkey sidekick and the ghost of Benjamin Franklin to name but two).
It’s clear the author is setting things up for a series, or at least a sequel, but Afterworld: The Orion Rezner Chronicles, by Michael James Ploof, works perfectly well as a standalone. I believe fans of the fantasy genre will find this intelligent, cheerful and imaginative novel thoroughly enjoyable.
Review by Neil McFarlane for http://ebookreviewgal.com.
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.