T.J. Klune is a recent discovery for me. As in, during the last year or so. And yet I have become so obsessed with his work that I’ve gone so far as to save the email telling me he replied to one of my tweets.
But in the spirit of the series of books I’m about to talk about, I feel like he’d probably be okay with it.
Tales From Verania by T.J. Klune
What series is this I speak of? Well that, my friends, is The Tales From Verania series, the fourth and final volume of which has just been released. The series starts with The Lightning Struck Heart, where we meet our hero, Sam of Wilds, apprentice to the King’s wizard, while he’s being monologued at by a dark wizard after having been captured.
Sam gets captured a lot.
The first book follows him through the trials and tribulations of saving the Prince (a royal douchebag) from the clutches of a dragon. Sam’s journey includes his two best friends and the unrequited love of his life (also a douchebag, but we forgive him for it because his face is delicious).
Book two is A Destiny of Dragons, wherein Sam finds out about his destiny. I’ll give you one wild shot in the dark as to what his destiny involves…
I won’t tell you much about it, or about the third or fourth books, The Consumption of Magic and A Wish Upon the Stars, because *Spoilers!*. But suffice it to say, the whole series made me laugh like I was on drugs, and I cried at the sad bits even when I was rereading for the third time.
This series isn’t Klune’s only masterpiece and hopefully I’ll get to talk about some of my other favourites another time, but for now, without further ado, I give you a list of just a few of the things that made me fall in love with this world, these characters, and this author.
(Again, slightly stalkerish, I know).
- Gary the hornless gay unicorn, best friend number 1 to Sam of Wilds.
- Tiggy the half-giant, best friend number 2 to Sam of Wilds.
- Gary sweats glitter when he’s in the grip of ‘unicorn rage’, and Gary will cut a bitch!
- Tiggy collects brooms. We don’t really know why, but we accept it because Tiggy is adorable.
- Ryan Foxheart, AKA Knight Delicious face. Because he’s a knight, and his face is delicious. Of course.
- Ryan Foxheart poses everywhere he goes like a somehow adorable douchebag.
- Gary’s parents are travelling with their swingers’ group.
- Gary’s brother, Terry, a unicorn who still has his horn, is an accountant.
- Sam’s grimoire is a magical tome of great power. Hah! It’s just a big diary in which he talks about Ryan’s penis and practices his Mrs. Sam Foxheart signature.
- Sam accidentally turned the most powerful wizard in the world’s nose into a dick when he was 15. He had dick on the brain.
- The wizard, Randall, had to officiate a wedding the next day.
- Sam’s art is terrible. He painted the King as a three-breasted monster destroying Verania with his fire breath.
- The King is a KILF.
- Morgan of Shadows is the brother/uncle/father/mentor we all wish we had.
- He also wears pink shoes with curly toes.
- There’s a guy called Todd who has amazing ears.
- Sam’s ex (even though he denies it) is a six-inch-tall fairy who is constantly naked and has a size kink. A really, really big size kink.
- Mama, a badass drag queen who runs Meridian city’s only gay brothel. Someone once tried to open another one. It didn’t go well.
- Sam’s parents fully embrace and adore their son’s weirdness. We should all be so lucky!
- The king is like a third parent but one whose moustache Sam would possibly still take a ride on.
- Kevin, The Beast from the East, who has been worshipped as a god by a cult of corn people.
- Kevin is a perverted dragon, who tries to sleep with anything remotely male.
- Kevin is mostly a vegetarian but still likes to chase sheep because he likes the sounds they make when they flee from him in terror.
- Kevin and Gary have a truly disgusting, loving relationship and somehow manage to convince themselves that they are Sam’s step-parents, even though Kevin would still tap that ass.
- Kevin and Gary use baked goods as code names for their weird sexual practices. I can’t be the only one who is curious and would welcome a list describing what each of the baked goods mentioned in the books is code for…
- The corn people feed their ‘guests’ truth corn, which makes them unfortunately talkative about their erections.
- Sam once went into the dark woods to find something unexpected and came back with best friends.
- Morgan of Shadows, Sam’s mentor, wears bright pink shoes with curled over toes.
- Cheesy Dicks and Candlesticks, the catchiest song in Verania.
- Sam’s arch nemesis is a sixteen-year-old girl called Lady Tine DeSilva. I hate her. I hate her with the fire of a thousand suns. You will too.
- Sam goes to Ryan Foxheart fan club meetings. He uses the name Mervin and wears a fake beard. He is a foxy lady.
- The fan clubs ship Sam Haversford and Ryan Foxheart (Haveheart) or Ryan and Prince Justin (Rystin)
- Lady Tina DeSilva is the head of WHSAL (We Hate Sam a Lot).
- You will also hate Prince Justin, at least at first. I will probably never forgive him for what he said to Sam on top of Kevin’s keep. Don’t worry, no spoilers, but just know, if I could have murdered a fictional character then and there, I would have.
- Gary once engaged in bondage play with a centaur.
- Tiggy is the most adorable half-giant in existence. Gah, his face!
- Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart is forbidden to swear, because there may be small, impressionable children around at any given moment who look up to him and whose image of their hero could be ruined by a stray curse word. That mothercracker better watch his language! Sam can swear, of course. That sort of thing is expected from wizards, practically obligatory.
- There are sand-mermaids. Beautiful redheads with shell bras, they are not.
- There’s a teenage emo snake-monster dragon who has named himself…wait for it…Zero Ravyn Moonfire. Really.
- There are a mated pair of lesbian feather dragons. They are majestic and amazing with proper, mysterious and magical dragon names. Pat and Leslie.
- Randall, the head wizard in Verania, has an unfortunate habit of recalling out loud, at length and in vivid detail, all of his previous wild and weird sexual exploits.
- At one point there is a shirtless pull-up contest. Sweaty douchebaggery abounds.
- Justin is Sam’s best friend 5eva, he’s just not quite ready to admit it.
- Bad guys always, always, always They can’t help themselves. On the plus side, it’s really easy to convince them you’re a fellow bad guy if need be, you just have to do a good monologue. Mention your daddy issues and you’re home free!
- The evolution of the foxy ladies is glorious! No spoilers, but seriously.
- Sam of Wilds can make your nipples explode.
- As everyone knows, hugs should last at least a minute. Preferably more. In fact, the required length seems to increase the better you know the recipient.
- Sometimes wishes do come true. Sometimes you make them true yourself.
- There will be a return to Verania sometime in the future, with Justin’s story. Considering how much I wished I could bitch slap him in book one, its genuinely impressive that I’m not so excited about a story just fir him that I might wee a little bit when it comes out.
There’s no way I can even begin to convey how amazing these books are here, you’ll have to read them yourself. They’re so funny they make me a do an awful hyena laugh out loud, regardless of where I am or how many people happen to be in hearing distance of me. But they’re also poignant and touching and a little bit heart-breaking at times. They’re wonderfully written with a fresh take on the traditional high fantasy world. So, whether they sound like exactly your cup of tea, or whether they’re a mile out of comfort zone, if you’re even the least little bit curious, give them a go. I hope they give you even a fraction of the joy they’ve given me.
HaveHeart forever mothercrackers!
Kate is a physiotherapist based in North Wales, because in order to buy books you first need to have money. Her list of favourite authors includes several dozen names and she’s always on the lookout for new additions. Aside from books she’s also a huge fan of supernatural films, preferably featuring hordes of the undead, people with superpowers, or both! And in her non-reading time she’s trying to perfect her baking and confectionery skills.