Welcome to my stop on the Broken Prophecy Blog Tour! Read on for an excerpt, my review and a Q&A with the Author! Follow the tour by clicking on the banner and commenting to increase your chances to win in the Giveaway. Enter below!!
by KJ Taylor
A fun adventure that satirises fantasy tropes in the style of Terry Pratchett.
Ambit Afterman is the Chosen One. Born with the mark of the silver bellflower on his palm and given a magical spear, he is the one whose coming the prophecy foretold.
Unfortunately, he would much rather drink beer and get laid – destiny can go f**k itself.
Together with his demon friend Snarl, Ambit sets out on a mighty quest – to make sure the prophecy doesn’t come true, and avoid doing anything heroic under any circumstances. Along the way he will make polite conversation with demons, not deliver any great speeches, not train with the wise monks, and weasel his way out of adventure and into the nearest pub. But there may just be time to have cheap sex with the beautiful princess along the way.
Once, long ago, the Land of Flowers was happy.’ The storyteller paused to look meaningfully at his audience. ‘Yes, very happy,’ he added. ‘But then the demons came. One day the sky went dark and the Nine Mountains erupted, with fire and smoke pouring into the sky. The land went dark and lava flowed over the earth, and the demons came crawling out of the ground – thousands of them, with burning eyes and metal teeth. They spread everywhere, killing everyone they found, destroying villages and towns, spoiling everything.’
The storyteller’s voice rose dramatically and his audience, mainly children, listened expectantly. Around them other people were half listening. Adults relaxed in the shade after a long day’s work, and a young woman was singing for tips in the background. She provided a rather nice soundtrack.
‘Today, the Nine Mountains are home to the nine demon lords,’ the storyteller continued, ‘and they send their minions out to oppress anyone living too close to the ruined lands they’ve taken for themselves. One day, perhaps, they will spread through the whole of the land and the human race will be wiped out.’
‘Or maybe they’ll bore themselves to death first,’ a lazy voice put in from somewhere behind the audience.
‘But there is still one thing that can stop the demons and put everything right again,’ said the storyteller, ignoring the interruption.
‘The Chosen One!’ a small girl piped up. Around her, the other children buzzed excitedly.
‘Fifty years ago, when the demons first came, it was said that someone would come with the power to drive them away forever,’ the storyteller nodded. ‘A special warrior, with a special weapon.’
‘Bullshit!’ the heckler from up the back shouted.
The storyteller glared in his direction, and went on doggedly. ‘Some say this destined one hasn’t been born yet. Others believe he is already here, and that one day, any day now, he’ll appear to begin the fulfilment of his great destiny. For all we know, he could be here today. He could be one of you, and you don’t even know it yet.’ He smiled at the fascinated children.
‘I wouldn’t count on it, kids,’ the heckler threw in.
‘When will the Chosen One come?’ a boy asked.
‘Nobody knows,’ said the storyteller. ‘That’s all I know. But maybe, one day . . .’
‘Maybe one day people will stop wasting time on fairy tales,’ said the heckler.
‘Will you shut up?’ the storyteller finally snapped.
The young man lounging on a rock by the wall of the town tavern only grinned at him, and when the other adults nearby muttered ominously, he grinned at them too. The singing girl took the opportunity to sing a little more loudly, and was rewarded with a faint rattle of demon eyes thrown into the bowl at her feet.
Seemingly realising he wasn’t going to win this particular confrontation, the storyteller pushed his red-striped hair away from his face and turned his attention back to his listeners. ‘If you want to know more about the Chosen One, the monks in the valley are the people to ask,’ he said. ‘They know the prophecy, and they can recognise the Chosen One. Many people go to them asking if they’re the one, but all of them have gone away disappointed.’
‘I want to go and see them!’ a small boy said immediately. ‘I want them to teach me how to fight demons!’
‘That’s definitely something you can find there,’ said the storyteller. ‘The monks are always happy to take on new apprentices.’
The boy glanced proudly at his friends, golden eyes shining with excitement.
‘Oh goody, let’s all go and get ourselves killed,’ the heckler muttered. ‘Why is everyone letting this old goat tell their kids what a great idea it is to go and fight demons?’
‘And I suppose a coward like you would tell them they shouldn’t?’ the storyteller threw at him.
‘I’d tell them to make up their own minds, is what I’d do,’ said the heckler, idly rolling the shaft of a spear over his palm. ‘That’d be why you’re the popular one, right?’
‘Well, I’m not too scared to go and see the monks,’ the golden-eyed boy told him.
‘That’s because you’re a stupid kid,’ said the heckler. He winked at the singer, who had stopped singing and was now eyeing him with interest. ‘Hey, sweetie, want to see my spear?’
‘Who are you, anyway?’ someone else asked. ‘I’ve never seen you around here before.’
The heckler shrugged. ‘I’m just passing through.’
‘Going anywhere in particular?’ the man asked.
‘Trying to work out where I’m going at the moment,’ said the heckler, resting one long leg on the other and stifling a yawn. He leaned his spear, which was a shabby thing with its shaft bound with leather, against the wall beside him.
‘One of the Dispossessed, are you?’ said the storyteller.
‘Stop doing that,’ the stranger growled.
‘Giving everything names,’ said the stranger. ‘It’s obnoxious. I’m not a Dispo-whatever; I’m a traveller. Labels are unnecessary. And right now I’m way too sober, so fare-thee-well, grandpa.’ He stood up, heaving a heavy pack onto his shoulder, and sauntered off into the tavern, snatching the spear along the way. The singer glanced around and followed him.
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So, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a satirical fantasy not having read many before but this had me laughing like a hyena.
Ambit is the “Chosen One” which if you have read fantasy, you would have encountered…a lot! Unlike most Chosen Ones however he really doesn’t care about saving the world and becoming a hereo. He is not just reluctant, he is proactive about making sure he doesn’t fulfill his destiny.
His destiny is to kill the demons, yet his only friend is a demon whose advice he listens to and who is just as set against him choosing the path of destiny, and the oracle is a demon too hellbent on making sure the prophecy comes true! Huh!
Like most Chosen Ones would have done he sets out on a journey but his reasons are very different from what one would expect. He even assemblies his band of fellows but certainly not for the purpose of assisting him in fulfilling his destiny.
I absolutely enjoyed this satire. It does a great job of poking fun at the various cliched fantasy tropes and not in a malicious way but in a laugh out loud , dry wit manner.
I hope there is a sequel in the very near future because i can’t wait to see what Ambit has gotten himself into next.
I recommend this for anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of humour and fans of Terry Pratchett. There is strong language used in this book so be aware of that.
Q&A with K.J Taylor
Welcome to my blog and thanks for taking the time for a quick Q&A.
1. Describe Broken Prophecy in 3 sentences.
Ambit Afterman is the Chosen One, prophesied to drive demonkind out of the Land of Flowers. He’s also an irresponsible, hard-partying douchebag who would rather be doing anything else. This book is about his quest to not fulfill the prophecy.
2. Tell us about the main characters.
Ambit is a beer-swilling womaniser with major abandonment issues, who can actually be a badass warrior when it suits him, which it rarely does. His only companion is Snarl, a small demon with a sarcastic attitude. The two of them are inseparable best friends. One of the other main characters in the book is Lothrop Aquaberry, a master swordsman, traditional hero, and pigheaded idiot. And finally we have the Oracle, a demon with the gift of foresight. The Oracle is the one who first told the prophecy, but he’s also half-crazed after years of torture, and obsessed with the idea that Ambit will one day wipe out his own species.
3. Do you have a favourite? If so, why this character?
I would say I like Ambit the best. He’s not that bright even when sober, but still manages to be one of very few relatively intelligent characters in the book. His relationship with Snarl is a genuinely touching one, and unlike every other human character he’s actually prepared to treat demons with decency and respect, rather than thinking of them as monsters.
4. Could you share a favourite quote or part of the book?
‘I said I was so sorry,’ said Snarl, with surprising gentleness.
Ambit nodded. ‘That was it. And then, right there, standing next to my burning house with a heap of meat that used to be my family, I stood up and said, “F**k it. If this is what being the Chosen One means, then they can forget it”. So I heated the spear up and burned the mark right off my hand, and that was it. Snarl and I left and went looking for something to do that wasn’t saving the world. But we decided we should find out what the prophecy was so I wouldn’t accidentally make it come true.’
The Oracle gaped at him. ‘But you were meant to…’
‘Don’t care,’ said Ambit.
‘But the future…’
‘Can take care of itself.’
‘Don’t you at least want revenge?’ the Oracle said at last.
‘What’s the point?’ said Ambit. ‘It won’t bring anyone back. The way I see it is that if people want to get rid of your sort, they can damn well do it themselves. I’m not the Chosen One; I’m Ambit, and Ambit does what Ambit wants.’
5. What do you love about the fantasy genre?
I love the freedom to create new and incredible worlds, creatures, and cultures. There is so much that can be done within the genre, and I believe that it has yet to be explored to its full potential.
6. Which fantasy authors are your favourite and why?
George R R Martin and China Mieville – both of them for gritty realism and well-developed, believable characters, and the second for fascinating, original and clever worldbuilding.
7. Who is your favourite new author and why?
I confess it – I haven’t actually read anything new for some time! I’m one of those people who tends to re-read old favourites rather than trying new things. It’s a bit of a character flaw, really. Instead I’ll take the opportunity to recommend YA author Michael Grant – a bookseller nudged me into buying the first of his Gone series, and it was absolutely fantastic.
8. What are your favourite books to read?
I read a lot of non-fiction – books about history and human psychology are really fascinating to me. I also like to read about mythology and religion. Other than that I like stories with adventures in them – not necessarily high fantasy, which is not a genre I’m that fond of if you can believe it. I always liked YA fantasy better.
9. What are the top 5 things you must have when writing?
Solitude, no distractions, my headphones, my laptop (of course!) and a water bottle.
10. Are you working on anything new? When can we expect it?
I’m working on a number of things including a sequel to Broken Prophecy, but none of them are under contract at the moment so I can’t say for sure when they’ll become available! But keep an eye on my website and Facebook page and news will appear as it develops!
It was great having you on the blog today. I wish you all the best in your future writing endeavors!
It was my pleasure, and thank you!
About The Author
K.J. Taylor was born in Australia in 1986 and attended Radford College and the University of Canberra, where she returned to obtain a Master of Information Studies in 2012. She currently works as an archivist.
She published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy, through Scholastic when she was just 18, and HarperVoyager went on to publish The Dark Griffin in Australia and New Zealand five years later. The Griffin’s Flight and The Griffin’s War followed in the same year, and were released in America and Canada in 2011. The Shadow’s Heir, The Shadowed Throne and The Shadow’s Heart have now joined them in both Australia and the US.
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