5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2002
Woad to Wuin is the second in the Sir Apropos of Nothing series. These novels stand in contrast to Knight Life. They seem to have two primary goals: first, poke fun at most of the sacred cows of fantasy, and, second, have a punny time doing it.
If you missed the first novel, know that Apropos is a non-hero, not an anti-hero; while he is self-centered, lacks courage, has slight empathy, has little ambition, and doesn't respect the property of others, he does has some consideration for others, as long as no harm comes to him. However, the only person he fully trusts is himself and sometimes not even himself.
In this novel, he finds himself in the adventure of Bubo, the hairyfooted dwarf, and is snared by a magic ring that makes him irresistible to women. They force themselves on him and treat him as a sex toy. He is first attacked by Sharee and then by every women with a pulse for miles around. He is rescued by Walker and a band of dwarves, who lead him to the Flaming Nether Regions to dispose of the ring. Afterwards, Apropos returns to Sharee, but she blames him for the sexual gymnastics and tries to zap him with lightning bolts.
After a couple years as a tavern owner, Apropos finds himself caught between Sharee and a LOUDMOUTHED oaf named Beliquose, who burns the house down with Apropos and Sharee inside.
Suddenly Apropos wakes up and finds himself elsewhere...and elsewhen. He is now the Peacelord, leader of a band of conquering, brutal cutthroats. Moreover, he finds that he is invulnerable, with nothing to fear; well, almost nothing. He goes on an orgy of hostile wish fulfillment: conquering, pillaging, and burning. And, best of all, he has a beautiful and lusty consort and bedmate. What more could he ask for? Well, you know Apropos' luck, always ready to turn against him.
Apropos comes out of this episode of total villainy with just a little more empathy and compassion. I would suspect that by the time David is through with him (and us), Apropos just might be a real human being. Stay tuned!
-Arthur W. Jordin
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
Let me begin by saying: there is a reason this book has mixed reviews. It's fantastic, but at times it is absolutely appalling; in the course of the book, our blithe antihero becomes a violent, ruling tyrant. There is a point after "waking up" months later (with no memory of his cruel actions), when he is talking to the mistress he acquired during that time. He said he'd loved her at first sight. She said he'd beat her near to death.
-And the scene does, somehow, manage to be funny. An odd tribute to Peter David's talent.
Once past the amusing- and largely irrelevant- first chapter (an hilarious I-can't-believe-he-wrote-that! spoof of the Lord of the Rings), this is NOT a mere parody. It is a satire, and there really is a difference. David is unapologetic in his violence, making it somehow all the more chilling, all seamlessly interwoven with the truly comedic.
One of the other reviewers wrote of the first book: "I feel like someone mixed Victor Hugo with Dave Barry...we have discussions of Sir Umbrage of the Flaming Nether Regions amidst tales of a childhood upbringing that makes you want to weep. The combination doesn't work." The principle carries through to its sequel, and indeed, I almost put this book down at one point- but I finished it, and I'm glad I did. Despite the violence Apropos comes across, and commits himself...he really doesn't learn a moral lesson from any of it. Which is rather amusing when you think about it after the fact, but on top of that there's something here that's just more real, when things don't follow a path to make a moral point. Our antihero is generally as unapologetic as his writer, and there's something as equally human in Apropos, as in the traditional fantasy heroes of other sagas. Many of his faults are scarily common.
But despite the fact that this is more than just a parody, the one thing that carries through the story, from the very beginning, is that Peter David does NOT take himself too seriously here. Be prepared to be taken aback by the level of indifference Apropos can display, but he truly does have the potential to be a hero. He's just too cowardly, lazy, and selfish to want to be- and I love him for it. There's an air of the ridiculous through much of this book. It's absolutely wonderful, and I can't stress how much I enoyed it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2003
Finally!! I really enjoyed this book. Once again Peter David put out another nonconventional book. Very interesting how Apropos became a villian, I can see how that would chaff normal fantasy readers (nb I hate characters who are so perfect and pure..."everyone" has something wrong with them) Apropos is my ideal hero. He learns from his mistakes and experiences.
Another thing about Apropos's adventures that impress me is that by the end Apropos gains a little bit of wisdom and knowledge. However, Apropos does not come by his knowledge easily it usually takes some kind of massive upheaval for him to make that final decision which pulls him back from his freefall.
Apropos kicks ass...he has almost no virtues or morality BUT but you will cheer for him. Even though he is a scoundral, even though he is pitiful, even though he is a liar and and a cheat...you find yourself wishing for him too get a clue, to make that vital last decision, to show some compassion or pity. And sometimes he will surprise you and do just what you want him to.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2002
This book, as the first Apropos novel, is simply a joy to read. You love and hate Apropos throughout the book. Mr. David has written a well balanced book. There are pitched battles, quiet love interludes, comedy, and my favorite � great amounts of introspection and philosophy from our self-professed cynic, Apropos.
The reader is guided through Apropos' life, by Apropos. This way we get to see everything from his point of view, and at the same time we get to see that view evolve. Apropos is a character who becomes loved by the reader because he is so easy to hate at times. He is honestly one of the most "human" characters I have read in a book in a long while. He is very real.
The story is great and driven. There are twists and turns and you never quite know what the whole plot is because you only get a little at a time. Mr. David savors it like a good New York Strip steak, giving us one bite at a time. The dialogue is also great, very witty and humorous.
From the mind of a man who reinvented DC Comics' Aquaman, with the Time and Tide 4-issue mini-series, and the subsequent 50 issues that came later; and from the mind who gave a voice to many of the sidekicks of DC's favorite heroes in Young Justice, comes a great story about a man who would not let Destiny/Fate/whatever rule him. A man who would definitely not ride through life as a sidekick.
I love this book and cannot wait for the third. If you have not picked up this book or the first I suggest you do so. You will love it.
Keep up the good work Peter!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2002
The Woad to Wuin, by Peter David, is the second book in the Sir Apropos of Nothing series. The title of the book makes it obvious that this is a tongue in cheek book, and David delivers very nicely. It's not as good as the first book, but it is definitely a worthy successor to it. Only a weak middle part of the book mars what otherwise is a funny and interesting take on the fantasy genre.
Apropos is not your typical fantasy hero. He's self-centered, always looking after his own interests before others'. That's what I've always loved about Peter David's writing: he always does the unusual. I wouldn't want to read about this type of character all the time, but it is a nice change of pace. In The Woad to Wuin, David takes Apropos on a journey of discovery, as he finds the depths of his self-centeredness, as well as what little moral sense he has. It's an interesting relationship the he builds with Sharee, as they are companions of necessity more than anything else. They don't really like each other much, but they are both outcasts and so share a certain kinship. Deep down, though, there seems to be a grudging respect between them, despite their animosity. Apropos saves her life a few times when he knows that it involves risking his life. When his men capture her, he goes out of way, risking his power, to try and set her free. He constantly regrets these actions, however, when she continually spurns his help because she knows the type of man he really is. I found watching the two of them fascinating, and thought the book lost a little during the sequences when she wasn't there.
The other characters in the book are interesting as well. There aren't that many, really, but all of them are well-rounded with intriguing bits about them. There's Kate, Apropos' lover while he's the Peacelord. She seems like just a stereotypical ditzy blonde, but she has a hidden depth to her that's revealed in time. Warlord Beliquose is aptly named, as he speaks in nothing but shouts, the volume of his voice shaking everything around him. All of his conversation is in capital letters, which anybody who is familiar with the Internet already knows is considered shouting. The men in Apropos' army aren't quite as well done, but even they have one or two little quirks that make them interesting. The most fascinating of them all, though, is Bicce, the hound (part woman, part creature) who Beliquose uses to track them. Even though she is mostly a beast, she has a certain nobility about her, especially toward the end of the book where she turns into something you don't really expect. I found her the most intriguing of the minor characters, and David does a good job in portraying her.
The plot is also fairly interesting, though it desperately drags in the middle. When Apropos wakes up, you spend a lot of time wondering along with him about what has happened to him. Then he starts doing some horrible, nasty things. While he does suffer attacks of conscience, it is still very jarring for the "hero" of the book to be doing all of this. It can get a bit unpleasant, actually. Then, as this goes on and on, it starts to get rather boring. There's still the mystery there, and Apropos slowly learns some things about himself, so it's still valuable, but it's not very interesting. It's not that the section can just be excised, though, as it's very important to the development of the plot. It's just a slog to get through, as it's not very interestingly told. Things start to pick up again as things are finally revealed and you find out what's really going on. Suddenly, the book explodes into a breakneck pace with revelations occurring right and left and the book gets exceptionally good again.
It's a shame that the book is disjointed in this fashion. I really struggled to get through the middle part of the book, and that's not something that usually happens with David's writing. With this exception, the book is a wonderful exploration of a self-centered character who has had nothing but hard knocks in life. He is the product of the rape of his mother and his mother is then killed by somebody else who was also in the process of raping her. He does find some information in this book about who that person may have been, but it's left unclear whether or not this is a symptom of the alleged perpetrator's madness or if it's really true.
I want to read more about Apropos, and I can't wait for the next book. I hope we learn more about what happened with his mother and the person who allegedly killed her. I just hope that it's a bit better than this one was.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The harrowing adventures of my favorite anti-hero, Sir Apropos of Nothing, continue! The Woad to Wuin starts shortly after the first novel leaves off, with Apropos hiding in the forest (if you don't know why, read the first one!) scavenging for food. He traps a dwarf, accidentally, and picks up a very special ring. Several pages of Lord of the Rings spoofy-goofiness follows. And that's just the beginning.
Let's see. . . he becomes an inn keeper, gets lost in some dark tunnels, becomes the powerful Peacelord, ruler of Wuin and conqueror of countries, has an amazingly beautiful wife-What? Peacelord? Conqueror? Wife? Is this the same Apropos? Our cowardly safety-conscious non-warrior has become blood thirsty, battle mad, conquering terror? Yep.
Problem is, he's not sure how it happened. He wakes up on the battlefield and-well, apparently he's sleep-walked through a year or so and keeping up the appearance is NOT going to be easy. One misstep away from being headless, Apropos tries to continue his heroics-at least until he can slip away-but he keeps having troubles, what with enemies and odd pets and loyal but bloodthirsty armies and marital duties and old flames and rebellious peoples and . . . Being a Peacelord is no easy chore! Especially for a cynic who knows that life is just out to get him.
If you liked the first Apropos, and delight in puns and spoofs and general hilarity, you'll enjoy the Woad to Wuin. I can't say that it was as good as the first, but it still deserves a hearty four stars and I'm anxiously looking forward to the next one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Sir Apropos of Nothing" left me with a very bizarre feeling. I couldn't tell if I liked the book or not. It was funny, it was well-written, but it was so hard to sympathize with such a wretched main character, even as David made you WANT him to redeem himself.
This sequel left me feeling much the same way. We start out with a very funny "Lord of the Rings" parody, but it doesn't really serve any purpose in the story other than to alienate Apropos from Sharee, the weaver who is his sidekick, unless he's her sidekick. The two of them wind up in a series of adventures, both together and apart, that leave you feeling that Apropos still has hope for redemption even while you're very disturbed at what he has wrought.
I enjoyed reading this book. It was fun reading it. But again, at the end, I can't decide if I liked it or not. I suspect the third book, which I most certainly will read, will leave me feeling the same way.
By the way -- the "revelation" in the last paragraph of the book? Saw it coming a mile away. It's a classic David twist.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2003
I liked Wuin, but the first chapter was a bit over the top. The sexual parody of Lord of the Rings, while it played a part in the rest of the story, was just a bit too much. Maybe I'm just a bit too old for the target audience of high school/college boys (but I've been a fan of PAD since I WAS a college boy).
Overall, though a decent, easy read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is the second volume of the adventures of the craven misanthrope known as Apropos of Nothing. It starts off as a rather unfortunate spoof of The Lord of the Rings, in which our so-called hero accidentally comes into the possession of a most unusual ring inscribed "One thing to rule them all", which gives him...well, let's say additional girth and length, not to mention stamina and irresistible animal magnetism. However, this situation is quickly resolved and it's not too long before Apropos is reluctantly launched upon another quest altogether.
It's a sturdy enough tale, but David continues to suffer from the problem of trying to yoke together his idiotic puns with epic grandeur and tragedy. Moreover, he essentially writes two characters: the snarky, amoral, and cowardly anti-hero who flouts all the rules and conventions of his blighted society, and the chowder-headed and brutal muscle-bound thugs that seek to oppress the protagonist. Basically, it seems pretty clear that David was frequently thrashed in high school, and this has shaped his worldview. The strong are morons who delight in violence, so if the weak are to survive, they have to be filled with hate and contempt towards all and be ready to bail out at a moment's notice.
David's material is actually pretty good. Even though he and his POV characters rail against the inequities of society and the futility of doing good, they do harbor hearts of gold and end up doing the allegedly right thing despite themselves. And like Weezer (or was it some other band?), he is trying to break your heart. He has a knack for abruptly interrupting his comedy hijinks with sudden wrenching horror or sorrow. (Not to mention that each of his novels features A Dark Secret, wherein one major character will reveal a hidden and wretched chapter from his or her past to explain why they can never again laugh or cry or trust anyone.) Some day, though, David will have to step it up and bust out of his own stereotypes and drop some of the goofier kidstuff.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2010
As with its predecessor, "Sir Apropos of Nothing", this book starts well, with an amusing and lighthearted tale of a "hero" who defies all stereotypes of heroes. (In this case, the opening involves a hilarious and very bawdy spoof of the "Lord of the Rings".) But also as with its predecessor, the book drags in the middle, as the character is just too annoying to be interesting for an entire novel; yet again similar to its predecessor, the book ends well, with the character actually evolving beyond his limitations and growing into a tolerable human being. I've rated this book one star lower than I rated its predecessor because it seems to me that the growth experienced by the main character should not have been necessary, as he'd already experienced it in the previous book, invalidating one of the saving graces of that book. All in all, I don't think I'll bother with subsequent entries in the series (there is at least a third). I think that for me at least, this series has been pretty thoroughly played out.