Palisade has been known for being a land with peace, quiet, and commerce. And though the town is no longer threatened by outskirts and monsters, its prosperity is being demolished by the unsettling disturbance caused by the various parties of adventurers. None more outrageous than the Rat Queens, a quartet of highly skilled ladies who love nothing better than to drink alcohol and spill blood. So clearly it becomes a surprise when a routine quest turns out to be a trap for their assassination, right?
I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to read Rat Queens. In fact, it took a full day for me to really think back at how awesomely funny the book is. Kurtis J. Wiebe has crafted one of the most stunning fantasy stories in a good while, with female characters who are vulgar and violent and damn well proud of it. Heck, a great deal of it comes from little Betty, whose race is that of the Hobbit-like Smidgen. She thinks fondly of what a sexual deviant she is and gleeful provides candy and drugs for dinner. The dialogue is just wonderfully hilarious and the pacing is spot on for the type of adventure Wiebe plans to take us down.
Of course, for the book to really work, the art has to play wonderfully with the genre it is played in and parodies with. Roc Upchurch manages to pull this off with some striking visuals that work well in realizing a fantasy setting while also allowing the personalities to shine all that much more. The colors tend to get murky at times, which may seem like a distraction, but I think it further adds to the fun of the book in that this is not going to be anything like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. When the girls fight, they know how to fight. Battle-dwarf Violet clearly knows how to wield a sword with viciousness and elf mage Hannah uses powers acquired from having Necromancers as parents. The violence level of the book is quite astonishing, actually, such as when a giant axe smashes a body so hard the guts are spilling out all over the place to the disgust of the girls.
Rat Queens is a surprisingly awesome book from start to finish. Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch present a wonderful fantasy story with extreme characters being set in rather extreme situations, leaving us in stitches at just how funny all of this ends up becoming. It takes what films like Bridesmaids has set up and hoists itself to the next level with girls who are the most vile characters to ever represent their gender. This book comes highly recommended.
How raunchy would you like to see a girl act? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.