The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex
by K.R.R. Lockhaven
GENRE: Humorous Fantasy
NOTE: The book is currently $0.99.
Kept hidden by the United States government for decades, the Site is a place where magic is real. But that doesn’t mean that everything happening there is sparkly. Soul-sucking policies and layers of stifling bureaucracy threaten to take all the fun out of magic.
Harris, a newbie Conjurer, starts his first day of work at the Site bursting with excitement: he’s been brought on for an extremely big project happening the very next day. In a triumph over its habitual inefficiency, the Site manages to carry out its plan and conjure an actual dragon to be used by the military.
The dragon (Zoth-Avarex, the self-proclaimed greatest dragon in the multiverse) immediately eats the person next to him, snatches a “princess” from the ranks of the Conjuring Department, and flies away to the Space Needle. There he manipulates the media, outwits the Site’s bumbling management, demands sixty-three billion dollars’ worth of treasure (because Smaug was said to have had sixty-two billion in his hoard), threatens to destroy the city—and installs a couple of food trucks.
After being led to the building, Harris took out his new rune-drawing wand, focused his will, and drew summoning, protective, and binding runes in the air, being extremely careful to get every detail right with every flick of the wrist. His drawings, once complete, became floating images of light in the air, like faded neon signs.
Then, in an even, monotone voice, Harris said, “Xop, I call you to this world.” Xop was one of the few names of minor imps that Harris thought he remembered seeing listed in one of his books.
From the air in front of him, something popped into existence with a literal popping sound. A furry flying creature appeared, flapping its wings and seeming thoroughly confused. It looked like a light brown baby sloth, except that it had bat-like wings that were covered in a fuzzy brown fur. A little puppy-dog nose stuck out just a bit between playful brown eyes surrounded by a mask of darker brown fur. It was almost too cute, as if some writer was trying way too hard to create a clichéd adorable animal companion. It was the second cutest being Harris had seen that day.
Once there was a show named Eureka about a secret government facility that was hidden from the prying eyes of the general population. All kinds of wild and crazy things occurred there – many of them even seemed magical. Oh, how I loved that show and I thought about it more than a few times as I was reading The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex (The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse) by K. R. R. Lockhaven. No, there weren’t any dragons in Eureka, Oregon but to be honest, if the inept brainiac scientists there had accidentally let one into our world, Sheriff Jack Carter would have known how to handle it.
Sadly, that show ended in July of 2012 but this book could easily be turned into a screen play to take its place. Lockhaven’s world building is reminiscent of the worlds of many past and present sci-fi authors. I love the concept of the magical community, called the Site, that is hidden in a forest near Seattle, Washington. Similar to the magical conscripts in the Harry Potter novels, young US citizens with a proclivity towards anything magical are secretly invited to live and work at the Site and to do their duty to save the country from all enemies foreign and national. The story of Zoth-Avarex revolves around a young conjurer named Harris who has just arrived for his first day of work there. Other main players are the beautiful sisters, Sylvia and Anna; Fireman Jake, and an adorable little imp named Xop. Then, there’s Marian and Eddie and Bill and the General, among others, who all have interesting parts to play.
Lastly, let’s not forget the mighty red dragon, Zoth-Avarex. This one, like most of them, loves precious jewels and shiny gold. . .and royal princesses. But he is also beyond-wise to the follies of human nature. I found this line, from the mouth of the dragon when asked about his pet peeve, particularly insightful, “I’ve seen unaccountable worlds and I have yet to find beings as lame and cowardly as comment-section bullies here on Earth. You know, internet tough guys who hide behind their keyboards. F them.” Too true. And some of these guys might just be dumb enough to bully a dragon.
Yes, the red dragon appears to be my kind of guy. Who wouldn’t vote for someone like him as President of the good ole USA after a speech like this? “…You can’t sit around all day listening to some radio or television program b-tch and complain about how horrible the other side is and tell you how to think. ‘The dragons’, so to speak, in your country are getting richer and richer while you all squabble amongst yourselves over whatever issues they’ve chosen for you to squabble over.” Hmmm…this fantasy seems eerily familiar to real life. Too bad the almighty Zoth is just playing the people like fiddles.
Back to the heroes, Harris and friends. . . They find themselves traveling through different dimensions in a mad dash to collect dragon binding artifacts to try to save the world from the villainous dragon. Yes, that’s right. . .Zoth IS NOT Mr. Nice guy. And one can only hope, he’s not almighty, either. After all, “There’s always a bigger fish…” That’s what the Phantom Menace says, anyway.
The best part about this story is that it is funny. It is both laugh out loud and snicker to yourself knowingly funny. It is also thoughtful and touches upon current events in ways that will make you think, too. I give this book 5 stars and extra bonus points because a continuation K. R. R. Lockhaven’s very entertaining story is on the horizon. I can’t wait to read book 2.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
K.R.R. Lockhaven lives with his wife and two sons in Washington State. Together, they conjured a bearded dragon named Sandy who rules over a hoard of sand and devours crickets by the dozens. When not writing or raising kids, he works as a firefighter/paramedic.
Author Website- https://www.krrlockhaven.com
Amazon Link- https://smile.amazon.com/Conjuring-Zoth-Avarex-Self-Proclaimed-Greatest-Multiverse-ebook/dp/B08TCFHY9T/
Kirkus Review- https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/krr-lockhaven/the-conjuring-of-zoth-avarex/
Twitter- @Kyles137 https://twitter.com/kyles137
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Thanks for hosting!
K.R.R. (Kyle Robert Redundant) is new to me, but I love meeting new authors. Thanks to this blog for the introduction.
Thank you so much for the great review! You’re the second person who has referenced Eureka. I guess I’ll have to check that out.
Great post – thanks for sharing!
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