A Song of Ice and Haddock

The Dogsbreath Histories Book 2

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
556 Pages
Reviewed on 04/21/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

A Song of Ice and Haddock is the second book in The Dogsbreath Histories. Keven Shevels continues to chronicle the history and exploits of the Dogsbreath family as Ivor the Dogsbreath takes center stage. Ivor encounters Colon the Barbarian on his way to the Dark Lord Cumquat. Colon needs a guide, and he is bent on killing the Dark Lord to avenge his brother, but Ivor wants nothing to do with it. However, a traveling tinker like Ivor, who has chronic halitosis and is penniless and bare-arsed, is likely to give in at some point. But they will not be alone in this crusade; they will be joined by an exciting host of characters that includes a vulgar dwarf and a gay elf.

Some fantasy stories are impressionable while others are memorable. A Song of Ice and Haddock falls into the latter type. For starters, it does remind you of the Monty Python films. Keven Shevels takes the campaign storyline to absurd levels to deliver a unique storyline that is both humorous and adventurous. The plot is reassuringly simple, yet the setbacks, challenges, and misadventures along the course of his characters' journey provide plenty of space for tension and laughs. Lampooning the absurdity of the quest in fantasy, he provides brilliant comic relief against the seriousness of their quest without compromising on the narrative cohesion. A Song of Ice and Haddock sustains the level of humor delivered by his first book The Haddock Flies at Midnight. This is a sure-fire entertaining fantasy that will delight many.

Asher Syed

Chlamydia and Cystitis walk into an old inn... I can assure you that you have not heard this joke before, or any others that run rampant through A Song of Ice and Haddock by Keven Shevels, book two in The Dogsbreath Histories series, preceded by book one, The Haddock Flies at Midnight, and followed by book three, The Maltese Haddock. In a world where beasts cannot be killed by the axes of dwarves or the swords of elves, it takes a hero like Ivor Dogsbreath to save an entire party with butter. His breath is brutal but he knows the shortcuts that most heroes avoid in the interests of full exposure, and the quest to rescue Princess Poolipong from the clutches of a terribly, horribly decorated room. Can the rag-tag team complete its mission? Can a dentist reschedule an appointment to accommodate a rescheduled war? Can a nickname like Fudgie be cute and endearing? The answers are yes, no, and yes, but you will have to read the book to figure out the order of the answers.

Going into A Song of Ice and Haddock by Keven Shevels was less of a shock for me since I was already accustomed to his unapologetically offensive style of writing, having previously read The Haddock Flies at Midnight. The second book in The Dogsbreath Histories isn't difficult to follow without reading the first and despite its weight in page count it is a surprisingly light and fast read, although not quite as quick as, say, the speed at which a gay elf can scale a wall. This series is not for readers who have no tolerance for a narrative that drags race, religion, or general civility through the mud, or if you do not appreciate a good anal sex joke. Putting all of those things aside, Shevels is a wildly talented author and even though he has made the decision to use his talent for evil toilet humor instead of good, it's hard not to have a chuckle when the army of Timbukfour and the yet-to-be proven rumors of the Desert People come to town.

Jamie Michele

A Song of Ice and Haddock: The Dogsbreath Histories Book Two by Keven Shevels is an adventure comedy. The series covers the lineage of the shockingly peculiar Dogsbreath family, with book two focused entirely on Ivor, a tinker who unintentionally invented the colonic. Dogsbreath is cajoled into a fight that is not his against The Dark Lord. Dogsbreath travels with a barbarian named Colon, Fudgepacker the dwarf, and an elf named Goldblum and it is through these four that we get independent alternating point-of-view characters that include two sisters, the baddies, a captive princess, and others. Shevels turns the classic fantasy plot of a quest to save into a satirical mission full of flawed plans and unforgettable characters.

I like sketch comedy and there aren't many with the will or skill to take sketches over a full-length arc. Keven Shevels' A Song of Ice and Haddock does exactly that. The story pokes fun at the eccentricities that are customary in fantasy characters and multiplies them with exaggerated stereotypes, names that range from Sheep Shagger Shamus to Mrs. Ramsbottom, and crude comedy that parodies adventure stories in the style of the mid-twentieth-century rise of British satire. Shevels' jokes landed with me and there were several that had me laughing when I remembered them a few hours later. I could not pass this story on to my grandmother, my daughter, or my priest and this is going to be true for the majority who get past the first scene. The Dogsbreath Histories has gained a new fan and catching up on book one is on my to-do list.