Book Review: RAT QUEENS VOL. 1: SASS & SORCERY by Kurtis J. Weibe

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So, when you said hotter than a dragon getting his dick tickled… Did you mean, like… you’re really horny, or…

Synopsis:

Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.

It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

Rat Queens has been getting great reviews in the past few months so, in the midst of my reading slump, I decided to pick up the first volume. Now I see why. In a time when people are speaking up to embrace and celebrate difference, RQ shines.

The titular guild, the Rat Queens, is made up of four young women each with a role from classic role playing fantasy games: an Elven mage, a dwarven warrior, a human cleric, and a smidgen thief. Yet, these girls are anything but stereotypes. Hannah uses her magic for drugs, Violet can outdrink any man in Palisade, Dee is an atheist cleric and Betty has a thing for orgasms. And the best part is that the girls completely and unapologetically own it.

While it may seem that RQ is largely about the characters, I get to tell you that it’s not. What I really enjoyed about this bind up is the fact that it was able to complete its own story or event and set up a second in a way that didn’t feel like a cliff hanger. This is great news (to me) because I can read this volume and get a complete series of events, therefore leaving me satisfied. There is still that lingering thread of the wider storyline that will be addressed when I pick up volume two (which I intend to do) but for the moment, I am satisfied. And even if I wasn’t, the characters are so ironic and fun that you won’t mind visiting them again whenever the mood arises.

I did have one thing that bothered me a little about the girls though: the language felt like it didn’t know when it was. For the most part the setting is authentic in its high fantasy-esque world with elves and trolls and magic and goblins. Yet sometimes the girls would use words that came about in the 21st century and it would bother me. I can’t really see people in that setting going around saying things like “look at the amount of fucks I give” and “fuck bullets”. It definitely adds to the comedic nature of the series but it just nagged at me a little. I’m sure I’ll get used to it over time, but for now it’s just something I noticed.

All things considered, Sass & Sorcery was a great start to an interesting twist on the sword and magic style of fantasy. Volume two, The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth, hit shelves a few months back so I’ll look into picking it up. Hopefully the complete-story-within-a-volume thing that I mentioned earlier continues. It will be really unfortunate for me if it ended with a cliff hanger since it took almost a year for volume 2 to be released…

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