The First Rule of Adventuring by Vichet Ou

Rate: 7/10

Medium: Kindle

SPFBO Status: Cut

Overview (No Spoilers):

I was immediately drawn to this book by the quirky cover art- it had me expecting a fun novel, and I was not disappointed. It also begged the question of all of us: what on earth is with the goose? The First Rule of Adventuring is: you must talk about this really fun, lighthearted read. I found this book to be a breath of fresh air from heavy epic fantasy tomes that gives a humorous twist on typical fantasy tropes.

This tale follows a working-class adventurer, Asmund, on his journey to rescue captured princesses in order to collect reward money from their families. We meet the hero as he is attempting to rescue Princess Silga, who, it turns out, doesn’t follow the rules of being a damsel in distress. Not wanting to be rescued ever again, Silga chooses to pursue a career as an adventurer and becomes Asmund’s apprentice in exchange for her eventual reward money. The two discover that there is shady business occurring in the Adventuring world, and so, they seek to unmask the source. Magic, music, Composers, dragons, were-creatures, and the like all work well together to round out this enjoyable high fantasy adventure.

Adventuring is well written, follows a good pace, and is full of humor. I often found myself stifling audible giggles so as to not annoy my partner while they were watching TV. I only wish the characters had more depth and dimension- it often seemed like we didn’t know much about their inner workings and feelings. I know the novel is short, and thankfully not a tome, but I would have appreciated more background and depth in the world building as well. The Cruxverse is a unique place and knowing more about the history and ways of the world would have been nice. Regardless, this was a tough cut and I am looking forward to the next novels in the Cruxverse world.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • I loved the language building in this novel- I may be biased, but my son’s name is Gus, so to see ‘Gusdamnit’ as a swear word made my week. I still use it almost daily.
  • Ou’s creativity with words really shined. The phrasing and sentence structure were often really delightful and necessitated a re-read and highlight in a good way. “Was there a word for half-luck? Something slightly better than a wash in circumstance, but slightly worse in emotional impact?” 
  • Major giggles at “Miss Jackson”. The musical references throughout the novel were really enjoyable to come across.
  • It was refreshing to have male and female main characters who did not fall in love with one another. Rather, their adventure and friendship are at the center of the story, and I appreciated that.
  • What really happened between Asmund and his dad?
  • Who was Asmund’s love interest? While the main characters were not in love with one another, this parallel storyline of Asmund and his significant other was vague.
  • Breaking the fourth wall toward the end of the novel was very distracting- I don’t think it lent much to the story. Same goes for the trip on ‘shrooms… I was waiting for that scene to be over.
  • What happened during the Great Goat Hair Crisis? Was there different currency before?
  • How is the hierarchy set up? What are the ranks among Composers, Gus and Boor, and Milkman? They were always referenced, but I could never be sure what power / role each position had.
  • Still not really sure about the goose.

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