Tom Parking has a boring normal life. Nothing horrible or tragic had ever happened to him and that's part of the problem. Chosen Ones always have tragic lives! Tom knows thinking about being plucked from his world and brought to another is a ridiculous dorky fantasy and has the good sense not to mention it to his one friend or the girl he likes and is terrified of, but then he is magically transported to another world after all! Okay, so the messenger, Gark seems weird and it is kind of lame that the portal is a donation box in a Kmart parking lot, but he's the Chosen One, this is going to be awesome, right? Unfortunately, he's the chosen one of a kingdom so lame they didn't even bother naming it. Their philosophy is based around the idea that being miserable and expecting more misery to come is the best thing, because you'll never be disappointed, the King despises Tom, and every one lives in filth. Tom decides ruining and risking his life is not worth being Chosen One and chooses not to be Chosen. However, when they choose his best friend to be Chosen One, Tom is torn. He's really great at it and Tom is left feeling like more of a loser than ever. Tom has to find a way to reclaim his stolen destiny, but in doing so he may doom Grrjhrhh (they just use any random noise) and Earth and a bunch of worlds he doesn't even know about!
This is a very good book that frustratingly shies away from greatness. On the very good side the book is funny and has an amazing premise. It skewers the Chosen One cliche incredibly well and the first visit to Ghhghast is hilarious. Unfortunately the book sort of lags between visits to Frhasaghafs and Earth. Also, the book introduces very few characters overall and misses an opportunity by using the characters it has pretty sparingly. Basically it's a real Tomfest. Fortunately, Tom is funny and Pierson really draws on his inner nerd to really nail the feelings of resentment, awkwardness, and confusion that come with high school nerdom (So I've been told. I mean, I wasn't a big huge nerdo. REALLY!). The central arc of Tom becoming a better person and facing his insecurities works pretty darn well, but the final third of the book is rushed and there isn't enough world building of the world Tom travels to or the enemy that wants to control it. This sounds like it would be a pretty serious dealbreaker, but Pierson really nails the humor and brings a lot of heart and feeling to the book, so much like Tom it succeeds in the end. If you like fantasy, but enjoy a good satire of it OR if you hate fantasy and wish to see it mocked OR if you're on the fence about fantasy and just like laughing in general, give this one a chance.
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