Review: Frivolous Pursuits by D.C. Farmer
Title: Frivolous Pursuits (The Hipposync Archives Book 2)
Author: D.C. Farmer
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult, Humor
Publisher: Wyrmwood Books
Publication Date: July 27, 2015
*Review copy courtesy of author/publisher
Darren Trott has a job, a feisty girlfriend and a house with potential. Oh yes, he’s living the dream. Problem is, it isn’t the dream he applied for. You see, Darren likes taking photos of plastic models in real world settings. He calls it art. His girlfriend Amanda calls it a frivolous pursuit. She wants him to give it all up and turn his garage studio into a nail bar. Trouble is, his art won’t let him. Every time Darren takes a picture, something very peculiar happens. Something amazing, and weird, and genuinely out of this world. Psychopathic relatives, aboriginal demons, warrior queens, and a Brownie called George with red skin, claws and an attitude bigger than a banker s wage, all want a piece of Darren. But they’ll have to get past Amanda first because she’s at the front of the queue. DC Farmer cordially invites you to join him in exploring the next white-knuckle case report from the Hipposync archives.
This book was quite the theme-park ride. I think if I had to sum it up in one word it would be quirky. I like quirky. Give me another word. Witty. I know quirky, witty, urban fantasy, doesn’t really go together, but stick with me… I don’t read much urban fantasy, and even less adult urban fantasy at that, so I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get when I do pick one up. It all hinges on how they sell the magical in the mundane world. Is it going to have that absolutely rolling my eyes unbelievable forced feel, or is it going to be more of a sense of wonder and awe, can’t wait to immerse myself more in this universe pull?
Although it deals with some pretty fantastical concepts; Fae immigration, dream-hopping brownies, and travel to plastic-doll universes made real through photography for starters; This book spends quite a bit of it’s time in the mundane world with mundane characters. More than half of the book, with the main character trying to convince himself for much of that time that the events in the other realms weren’t even real. It’s a story, not so much about the character IN the magical world, but in how he has to fix his life in the mundane world before he can be of much use as a savior in the magical one. And he has plenty of life lessons to learn. The book definitely gets points for character growth, but it loses just a few for being such a dunce in the first place and taking so long to get to some of these things that he should have already known.
I really liked quite a lot about this book. The characters were all so richly imaginative, vivid and strong, that they colored the narrative rainbow. Darren, the protagonist was helpless, hopeless, bumbling, funny, fierce and lovable from page one. And I loved that for once this was not really a romance, but it was a bromance between Darren and his best friend since childhood Sanjay and the relationship they have was just so fantastic to see portrayed. The rest of the cast of characters are all larger than life and reveal themselves over the course of the story to be either variously lovable or loathsome. I’m quite willing to sign up to read his first book as the two main characters from Gorilla play rather charming cameos here in Frivolous. It’s really quite an interesting and limitless playground the author has set himself to play in for this series.
This is Brit lit, so it also had that witty British banter that I love so much. Mostly in the dialogue between Darren and Sanjay where it was parried with pitch perfection, and sometimes more funnily in the failed attempts at humor by Darren aimed at his girlfriend Amanda, who chooses to ignore him every time, only causing him to try harder.
There were a few moments of real stop, pause and laugh out loud humor in this as well. The author has a great imagination and sense of humor. And overall, it’s very creative, and very well written. The prose is tight, but also quite lovely and thought-provoking. It all feels like a very strange trip to be taking. And that’s really the only fault I can find with it is that it is a very strange book indeed, at various times I felt like I was in some adult version of Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels and something much much stranger, but then again, do I call that a fault or a wonderful surprise?
DC Farmer (as someone else–names changed to protect the innocent) began writing thrillers while the kids were in the bath. They grew up and so did he. Now he writes speculative fiction under the umbrella of the Hipposync Archives.
He lives in Wales and uses quite a lot of that umbrella.
Frivolous Pursuits is the second book in the Hipposync Archives series and follows on from The 400Lb Gorilla.