Review copy was received from Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Misadventures of Myndil Plodostirr by Michelle Franklin
on August 15, 2022
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
In which a beloved missionary encounters heathen clans, murderous faeries, werewolves, and people who generally dislike him...
A Pratchett-like mythical adventure a hapless young orphan-turned-missionary who tries to unite all of Ireland's kings under one god, befriends werewolves, and accidentally brings about the Great War of the Early Middle Ages.
A young, sunny, chatty, devout (and often annoying) church initiate gets sent out into the world by his abbot to convert the heathen (i.e. keep him far from the abbot) and his adventurous journey brings unexpected results. Always a source of wry, well-penned old-style storytelling, Michelle Franklin’s latest standalone fantasy tickled the fancy.
The Misadventures of Myndil Plodostirr (my, that is a mouthful, but suited to the garrulous hero) begins by taking readers back to an Ireland in the early days of Christianity’s arrival when the old gods and the fairy realm populated the land. Vikings raided, kings vied for more territory, and the common people suffered most. Myndil was left at the monastic orphanage by the sea and he grew up under the hearty care of Brothers and sisters. He loved his home there and was determined to become a Brother devoted to God- and in Myndil’s case, a God who spoke directly to him.
Myndil, for all his goodness and godliness, never stopped talking and doing good so that the average soul wearied of his presence rather quickly. And, none more so than the newly arrived abbot there to set up his abbey by building onto the monastery and taking charge of affairs. The abbot likes dreary penance, but Myndil is not a voluntary thorn in his side so he devises a ‘missionary’ journey for Myndil. Go to the heathens and make converts, he tells Myndil. Little did the abbot know what would result as literal-thinking Myndil sets out without any guidance other than the ‘voice of God’ in his head and his own non-existent worldly wisdom.
I had such a good time following Myndil through his growing up years at the orphanage with the saucy and somewhat earthy Brothers and Sisters and then out on his journey. He’s simple, but not stupid and innocent, and generous of heart without an ounce of prejudice in him so he has quite an impact on all the people he encounters and most especially those who seek to do him harm. I loved the surrounding cast of quirky Brothers and Sisters, the odd creatures that lived at the monastery, and the fun diversity found outside the walls of the orphanage. The historical setting when England and Ireland are not united so there is war and changes of power, but the fantasy element of fairies and old gods, magic, and magical people and creatures gave the story a richer, fuller stage backdrop. I enjoyed the clever werewolf lore the author created. Always the humor and the dialogue gets me the most. Myndil is a foil in a nice sense just as the abbot plays the foil to so many clever witticisms in the opposite way.
All in all, this quickly read standalone classic-style fantasy was a delicious reading treat that I really must beg fantasy lovers to add to their reading lists and TBR stacks.
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