Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David
Eighteen people attended this meeting at Charles and Willie Siros’s home. The topic was Sir Apropos of Nothing, a humorous fantasy novel written by Peter David. This book, set in a medieval world of knights and kings, follows the adventures of a young man called Apropos who is the illegitimate offspring of nobility. Apropos tries to lead a low-key existence, but somehow he keeps falling into situations involving duels, princesses, and mythical creatures. Fourteen of us had read the book, and twelve finished it. Five had read prior books by Peter David.
Two of us enjoyed the book a lot. We loved how it made fun of the traditions of fantasy. It covered several standard fantasy bases with a twist and a tongue-in-cheek attitude. One highlight was when Apropos was concerned that he might not be the hero of his own story, so he beat up the guy who seemed ready to take over the role. Although we felt the main character was too whiny, we found the constant humor and inventiveness of the storytelling made the book fun to read.
Four others generally liked the book, but found it needed editing. These people generally liked the humorous tone, the puns, the slick writing style, and the dialogue (particularly between Apropos and the princess he rescued). They felt that the book was too long for this story, and that many sections (particularly Apropos’s childhood) should be reduced in page count.
The rest of our group hated the book. Most complaints were about the puns (“hated them!”, “very distracting” ) and dislike of the main character (“so whiny and tedious he made me angry”, “never grew as a person”). One person who disliked the book said “this is why I don’t read fantasy!” and “If I hadn’t been on a plane, I would have thrown the book across the room!”
While we came to no agreement about this book, it was a lively discussion. Afterward we had a nice dinner at Serrano’s.
–A. T. Campbell, III