Thursday, 16 April 2009

Series spotlight - Blart series by Dominic Barker

There are so many good books that have been out in the market for ages. Series Spotlight is to introduce readers to series they may not have heard of before and will be featured every Thursday. (Except for last Thursday, when I completely blanked. Woops!) Today’s spotlight is the Blart series by Dominic Barker.

Once again these are technically children’s books, and definitely more suited to younger readers.

These books are parodies on the fantasy-epic-quest genre. I honestly don’t know how I feel about the series. You might think that I must like it because I’m featuring it, but I’m trying to feature a wide range of series in this feature. Parts of the books are good (I wouldn’t feature a series I thought wasn’t well written) but parts are annoying.

Blart – The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Save The World
When the wise wizard comes to collect Blart for adventure, he’s surprised to find that Blart doesn’t want to go. Capablanca had studied for many years to find the first son of a first son of a first son (and so on) who is destined to be a hero. Unfortunately, Blart is ignorant, lazy, cowardly, and more interested in his pigs than anything else. But the quest awaits so he has no choice but to go and stop the evil Lord Zoltab from being released by his minions. They’re joined on the quest by bloodthirsty Beowulf, who is desperate to become a knight, Princess Lois, a sulky, rude Princess of the happiest Kingdom in the world, and Tungsten the dwarf, who is rather sensitive about his limited height.
This is clearly a parody of Lord of the Rings, but also other fantasy quest stories. Parts of the book are very amusing, but by making his antiheroes unpleasant and whiny, Dominic Barker has made them irritating to the audience too.

Blart II – The Boy Who Was Wanted Dead Or Alive – Or Both
The wizard Capablanca has made an embarrassing mistake. After capturing Lord Zoltab, he imprisoned him somewhere, then used a spell to erase his memory so that no-one can find him again. Unfortunately, they are suspected of having freed Lord Zoltab. The only way to disprove this is to produce him – which means they have to find him all over again. Joined once again by Beowulf and princess Lois and a new companion, Uther the enterprising merchant, they must rescue Pig the flying horse and find Lord Zoltab.
In some ways, this is better than the first book. Uther is a sleazy, money-grabbing character who isn’t above ripping off his fellow companions. There is also an amusing resulting in Blart wearing a dress and being serenaded.

Blart III – The Boy Who Set Sail on a Questionable Quest
(From Amazon)
Princess Lois has been kidnapped by Anatoly the Handsome, who wants to marry her. Cue 'damsel in distress' to be rescued by none other than our own heroic Blart. He sets out on the good ship The Golden Pig with Olaf the innocent - who believes what everyone says all the time - and Kupverstich the Strange - an explorer-come-scientist whose ingenious explanations for the natural world have one thing in common: they're all wrong. They must battle cut-throat pirates, a sixteen-tentacled octopus, escape the suffocating bureaucracy of Triplicat, where they are briefly marooned, not to mention evade the Guild of Assassins, who have a contract to kill Blart, in their selfless (well, almost) bid to rescue poor Lois. But will they make it in time?
I haven’t read this one and I’m not sure that I’m going to. I suspect that this book will be very like the others and there’s only so much fantasy satire I can take. On the other hand, it’s only £3.59 from Amazon at the moment, so I might. I’d like to find out what happens to Blart and Princess Lois next.


  1. I love this series - it's always so interesting. I'll be referring back to this post when my son's a bit older, I think, because it really sounds like it could be his kind of thing!

    Thank you!

  2. P.S. I meant that I love your 'series spotlight'! I haven't read the series itself. :)

  3. Great spotlight! Not sure I'll be reading them myself though, but they sound interesting anyway for younger readers! :)

    By the way, you have an award over on my blog:

  4. Cute!! I still love reading kid's books, they're fun and easy and light, and sometimes you need that in a book. :)