I recently became a fan of Dungeons & Dragons and I’ve seen this new book series, Touch of Insanity, floating on my timeline that was clearly inspired from a campaign. Excellent! I was immediately drawn to the elegant cover and decided to give the first in this series of short stories, First Steps, a go.
“THE WHOLE WORLD HAS GONE MAD.
The goddess Mischa has gone mad. Cities fall into ruin, the dead rise, magical rifts tear open the fabric of reality, and insanity spreads through Besamie like wildfire. Kharee wants a simple life, but the gods have other plans for her. Created specifically to heal Mischa, Kharee’s powers were kept from her when dark magic interfered with her conception. Now, as agents of darkness close in, Kharee must discover the truth about herself and her missing powers if she is to live long enough to fulfil her destiny. Join Kharee and her friends in this face-paced adventure.
Kharee ends her engagement to local politician, Lord Erik, and joins a small group of adventurers to earn money for her family. Kharee and her companions manage to prevent the murder of a powerful druid, but as she learns more about her colleagues, she discovers they aren’t as trustworthy as she hoped. As Lord Erik’s henchmen close in on her, a mysterious elderly woman named Windola gives Kharee a gift to help with her adventures and clues to her future.”
Kharee is a half-elf living the simple farm life with her human father, elf mother, and siblings. She’s a tomboy who prefers to wrestle with her guy friends than wear pretty dresses. As a young adult, she is betrothed to an elf lord who can pay a bride’s price, helping her struggling parents with the farm. The elf lord is a sickly, creepy version of Lord Farquaad (I very much enjoyed him as a villain!). Despite her elf mother teaching her how to behave like a lady, Kharee snaps at the disgusting lord’s gross advances and fights him off. Being his bride is unthinkable, and she decides to be an adventurer instead and send her parents money that way.
Like in her novel Eyes of the Hunter, the author’s writing style is clear, well-written, and easy to follow, and I read this book in one day. I did feel parts could have been drawn out more, such as the battles, Kharee’s sisters, and her preparation and “training” in how to behave like a noblewoman. However the writer wanted to write bite-sized stories that are easy to digest, and they are advertised as “fast-paced,” so I really can’t complain all that much!
We get a glimpse into the fantasy world, into the different races and the magics, the creatures and the different races that occupy Besamie. The karpa creatures in particular were terrifying; I won’t be forgetting them in a hurry.
Overall, this story was enjoyable and I’ll probably be reading the next one. It was a little fast-paced for me and I would have enjoyed being slowly seduced into the world, but that’s likely just personal preference. If you’re interested in fantasy, particularly Dungeons and Dragons-esque adventures, and you’re looking for something quick and easy to read, I recommend Touch of Insanity: First Steps. Four stars for this fun short story!