Book Review – The SatNav of Doom by Will Macmillan Jones
This is the fifth short novel in the continuing contemporary fantasy series featuring the rock band The Banned Underground. The band members include four dwarfs, a green bog troll, and a bass playing dragon. In this episode, we find them as almost a backdrop to the main plot in which the British government is working with the Edern (think elves or fairies) to develop a future-telling system that will help the government pull the British economy out of trouble. The Dark Lord wants to hack into this system for his own (evil) purposes, and he sends a team to the ostensibly secure Edern laboratories during a fund-raising event at which the Banned are playing. The Dark Lord’s minions are there to install a computer virus. Meanwhile, the dwarves are after those same minions for an unpaid bar tab. (Confused yet?)
The SatNav of Doom is a comic slapstick farce along the lines of Robert Asprin or Piers Anthony, full of puns, word-play, and references to old rock tunes. Now, I can’t say this kind of humor normally has great appeal for me. I’m more of a science fiction than a fantasy reader, and when I do read humorous fantasy, I prefer something with a bit more satirical or philosophical content (e.g. Terry Pratchett), but in the subgenre this book represents, it’s pretty good. The characters are all clowns, but they can be funny in a burned trousers kind of way (Yes – there is such a scene). The copy editing is adequate, and whereas the prose is sparse and could not be considered literary in any sense, it is serviceable for the type of book this is. I also enjoyed the Doctor Who twist at the end.
I will caution that some may not ‘get’ some of the references (old rock songs and Doctor Who, for example). Also, this is not the book to start with in the series because the character development occurs mainly in the previous offerings. If you have read and enjoyed the others, though, you’ll like this one, too.
Disclosure: I received a pre-publication promotional copy of the eBook edition from the author.