On Brutalia violence is a way of life. Ravenous ravens circle overhead, monstrous grot bears cause chaos and the streets are bulging with brawls. But Mort isn’t like the other islanders – he’s determined to live peacefully. His struggle is made even tougher when the cruel queen appoints Mort as Royal Executioner. No one has challenged the royals and lived to tell the tale. Can Mort keep his head and outwit the queen?
I heard this book was hilarious, so when I received it through Netgalley I was over the moon. And what they said was right… this book is Great Fun!
We follow Mort, who is the only pacifist living on Brutalia. Like the name suggests, the island is filled with violence, with at its head the Queen and King… who are against everything that is beautiful, and like their horrible punishments. Mort cannot hurt a fly, so you can imagine his distress when he is made royal executioner and has to kill his best friend.
This is definitely a book you need to be in the mood for to read. It is very silly and doesn’t take itself serious whatsoever. It reminded me a lot of the Wizards of Once books, not only in tone but also in formatting of the text. There is also a very present narrator who constantly takes the reader aside and talks directly to us. And then there are the illustrations which are great!
There is a lot of violence in this book, obviously, but combined with the humour it becomes very slapstick. Each chapter starts with a conversation between the ravens, which often includes some bad puns. And all of it comes together in about 200 pages (with large font and plenty of illustrations, making this for me a 2hr read). The characters aren’t very well developed, and I would have liked the plot to have a bit more substance… but I don’t think the target audience would have any issues with that.
Overall, this is perfect for if you want a quick and very fun read, and I had a great time with it. I am very curious to where the sequel would take us (as this book has very satisfying ending and can stand perfectly fine on its own), and will certainly be continuing the series.