If you hang out with me you have certainly heard me rant about Too Many Curses, by A. Lee Martinez. I only recently discovered this marvel of a book and, regretting the sixteen years I spent in deprivation of Nessy the kobold demon, have been on a mission to force all of my friends to read it ever since.
The library classifies this book as “funny horror,” a mash up genre which may seem contradictory, but is blended together seamlessly. The storyline follows Nessy, the dog-like kobold demon, in her quest to prevent hellhounds, mysterious mists, and sadistic witches from destroying her masters castle, which also happens to be haunted with such things as banshees, carnivorous carpets, and a zombie librarian. Despite these trials Nessy remains unflappably confident in her ability to take care of everything, accompanied by her loyal friends the nurgax, fruit bat, and disembodied voice. Her true trouble begins when the legendary Tiama the Scarred shows up at the door and demands to meet Margle, the master of the castle who has unfortunately just been eaten by Nessy’s nurgax.
The story has no particularly deep meaning. There are certainly messages, such as not judging others and being kind, but try to analyze much beyond that and you won’t find much. Through deep, deep digging you can find more themes, but they are buried so well that it is somewhat doubtful whether they’re intentional. More likely they are the product of Martinez’s values which bled subconsciously into his writing.
This is not a book that will leave you up at night questioning your version of reality, and it isn’t meant to be. The whole point of the book is to make the reader smile and giggle, and it is remarkably good at getting exactly those reactions. Martinez’s completely absurd brand of humor can appeal to anyone. For example when he details the history of the Sword In The Cabbage, as he has renamed the sword in the stone, there is no deep thinking or prior knowledge required, it is merely something silly to make the reader laugh.
The only reason I did not finish this book in one sitting is that I constantly had to drop the book on my face and giggle uncontrollably. I honestly have never read anything so obscenely adorable, and I recommend Too Many Curses highly.