“Percival Gynt and the Conspiracy of Days” by Drew Melbourne- An SPSFC Review

I’m a judge for the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest (SPSFC), and I’m reading and reviewing whichever books in the contest appealed to me! Follow the blog to keep up with more updates from the contest, along with many, many other reviews and topics!

Percival Gynt and the Conspiracy of Days by Drew Melbourne

Our group picked Percival Gynt as a quarterfinalist for this year’s SPSFC, and it’s easy to see why in the sample portion we read (the first 10-20%). I’m one who tends to be skeptical of novels that have comedy as a major driver, but the humor found in this book is consistently funny (to me) and never takes over or away from the plot. And the plot is truly not what I expected.

Melbourne navigates the line between absurd and expected, quickly introducing readers to a universe-ending threat, because of course that’s what would happen in a story like this. But he also subverts the tropes, hitting readers with regular twists, many of which both add to the humorous elements of the story while still making sense. And it’s that last bit that is most important to me as a reader of stories like this–is the humor the driving force of the plot, or does it result from the plot? It’s the latter that I prefer, and Melbourne delivers time and again, making the humor arise from situations that make sense within the story.

The story is, frankly, insane. And I mean that in the best possible way. The story starts with an escape using an outdated Apple Watch to turn back time, and it gets messier from there. It’s hard to go too far without spoiling it, and it features a character named Um. So, um, enjoy that! But seriously, the wildness of the adventure makes it a joy to read, and the humor helped keep a smile on my face even as Percival was facing universe-threatening consequences from his actions.

Percival Gynt and the Conspiracy of Days is a surprisingly deep adventure with its tongue firmly planted in-cheek all the way through. I recommend it highly.

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