Monday, February 6, 2017

Myth-Fits - Jody Lynn Nye

   2016; 305 pages.  Book #21 (out of 21) of the “Mythadventures” series.  New Author? : No, but the first one where she’s not just a co-author.  Genre : Fantasy; Humor; Dimension-Travel.  Overall Rating : 7½*/10.

    Business has been a bit slow lately at Myth Inc.  Some of that is due to the competition undercutting their prices – Myth Inc. is the best at recovering priceless artifacts, and generally they only take the top-dollar cases.  They still have a healthy amount of money in reserve.

    So when a man named Looie approaches them to find something for him in an alternate dimension, and wants a price-break to boot; they turn him down.  Even when the head of Myth Inc., Bunny, wants them to take the job.

    But when they find out just where Looie’s artifact is located – in Winslow- attitudes change.  Winslow is the most luxurious vacation spot in the dimension, and it prides itself on never saying “no” to any request from any of its customers.

    What’s wrong with combining business with pleasure?

What’s To Like...
   Myth-Fits is the 21st, and latest, entry into (the late) Robert Asprin’s Myth Adventures series, and I espied it in my local library’s “Recent Additions” section the last time we were there.  I recently read another one of the later entries (reviewed here), and was rather disappointed.  I am happy to say this one does a much better job of catching the initial spark in the series.

    I liked the choices of the Myth Inc. characters here.  It was good to see Aahz get some major ink, as well as my favorite MacGuffin, Gleep, tagging along.  The rest of Skeeve’s crew: Tananda, Bunny, Chumley, and Markie, all lend their unique slants to the story, and happily, my three least-favorite characters, Guido, Nunzio, and Uncle Bruce, get either scant or zero attention.

    Winslow was a neat new dimension to explore, a whole city dedicated to providing for you as if you were on a cruise or lounging around at Club Med.  There are four main plotlines: (1) find the Loving Cup; (2) find out why the lines of magic at Winslow are so hard to draw power from; (3) figure out who the “other magician” is that evidently is also searching for the Loving Cup; and (4) get Bunny to tell why she's suddenly so worried about the business's bottom line.

    As usual, the story is told from a first-person POV (Skeeve’s); and as usual, there are witty pseudo-quotes to start each chapter.  I enjoyed going on the scavenger hunt with Skeeve and Company, and it’s always neat to come across that delightful British phrase “and Bob’s yer uncle!”

    There is a decent, slightly twisty, stutter-step ending.  As always this is a standalone novel, as well as part of a series.  It does help if you’ve read the initial book though, just to understand the Aahz/Skeeve relationship.  There’s a bevy of various beasties vacationing on Winslow, a couple of way-kewl artifacts to search for, lots of magic, and plenty of Asprin-inspired wit.

Kewlest New Word. . .
Fleering (v.) : laughing imprudently or jeeringly.
Others : Dirndl (n.); Ambit (n.);

    “(She) must be looking for the Loving Cup, too.”
    “Why do you say that?” I asked.  She could have been looking for anything!”
    “Occam’s razor, kid,” Aahz said, wearily.
    “Was he a barber?” I asked.  (pg. 52)

    “They threw me out of the Central Help Desk!”
    “No reason!”
    “No reason?” she asked, with a little smile.  “You managed to provoke Winslovaks into making you leave the courtesy desk instead of letting you do what you want?  Jeopardizing their dimension-wide reputation for never saying no to any request?”
    Aahz pursed his lips until he managed to squirt the words out.
    “I was just trying to push them a little.  The sooner we get that cup back, the sooner we can get out of here.”
     “And by push you mean bully, cajole, and harass the staff and probably everyone who was waiting in line. Maybe even random passersby who were minding their own business?”
    “. . . Maybe.”  (pg. 182)

 “Stop trying to make me have fun!”  (pg. 190)
    The quibbles are minor.  For a fantasy series that is rooted in the concept of dimension-travel, we don’t travel to a lot of places in Myth-Fits.  There are three: Myth Inc’s headquarters in the bazaar on Deva, Winslow, and a brief-but-perilous detour to a dimension called Maire.  Still, both Maire and Winslow are new places for the reader, and they’re the setting for at least 90% of the book.

    Some of the plays on words are overused and get tiring very fast; in particular the Pervect/Pervert witticism.  There are some footnotes, but they’re just cheap plugs for earlier books in the series.  Terry Pratchett’s Discworld footnotes have me spoiled, I guess.

    But these pesky things are minor.  Myth-Fits is a fun, fast, easy read, and it was a pleasure to discover that this series has regained some of its pizzazz.

    7½ Stars.  Some authorship data, gleaned from Wikipedia.  Myth-Fits is Book 21.  The first 12 books were penned by Robert Asprin alone, and the next 7 were co-authored by him and Jody Lynn Nye.  Only the last two (Books 20 and 21) are attributed solely to Ms. Nye.

    It was therefore a happy surprise to read this latest work, and find it to be the equal of the earliest works in the series, which happen to be my favorites.  My two-cent opinion is that Jody Lynn Nye has basically saved this series from the dustbin, similar to the fine job Brandon Sanderson did for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after the latter passed away.

    Bravo, Ms. Nye!  May you be inspired to write many more adventures for Skeeve and Aahz.

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