Book Review – The Mystic Accountants by Will Macmillan Jones
This comic farce follows a rock band of (mostly) dwarves on a quest to obtain a replacement for a magical throne they inadvertently destroyed during a gig. Their efforts are complicated by a group of evil, magic using accountants that wants to stop them in order to weaken and then invade the underground dwarfish kingdom, and a strange religious cult that wants to take over the world, or at least Wales, and skim some profits from the endeavor. There are also a couple of dragons, a few humans, and a testy witch who resolves disputes by turning her opposition into frogs.
The book is set in a fantasy version of contemporary Britain. As an American reader who last visited England at about the time of the first Moon landing, some of the references escaped me, although I don’t necessarily consider this a detractor. I’ve never visited Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, at least not physically, but I still enjoy reading about it. I just thought I should mention this for my countrymen because this book does assume the reader is familiar with British geography and jargon.
The Mystic Accountants is a zany romp that sometimes reminded me of The Three Stooges because of its slapstick humor or It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in that it has a large cast of quirky characters and unlikely car chases. The central plot, that of finding and procuring a new throne, takes a backseat to the antics of the characters, which are sometimes quite funny. They are more like clowns than they are believable individuals, though. There is some very clever wordplay, but the dialog felt contrived for the sake of a joke at times.
Witty banter is probably the strongest aspect of this book, although it may be being called upon to do too much. I saw several places in which dialog between characters was the primary method for conveying the action and describing the setting, which made these scenes difficult to visualize, at least for me. There were also cases in which the scene shifted without an obvious scene break using a blank line or some other convention.
The book contains footnotes, an obvious nod to Terry Pratchett, but, at least in the Kindle version I read, these were placed at the end of the book rather than the bottom of the applicable page, making them less accessible to enhance the scenes they referred to.
Whereas I would not group this book in the same category as Pratchett’s witty satire, it has its moments. Fans of zany slapstick, especially those with a fondness for popular music from the 1960s and 1970s, might want to try it.