A big welcome to Alex Hintermann as part of their blog tour for Of Gallantry and Magic and thank you for the opportunity to review the book!
Sir Tristan, son of a continental hero, is summoned to the court of Schafheim to interview for a novice knight position. After dozens of applications to courts all over the Continent, Lord Schafheim wants to see him. Immediately. But when he arrives for the interview, things start to go wrong: a brash, bearded commoner ties his dragon too close to Sir Tristan’s firebreather and refuses to move it. This same commoner offers to love Tristan in the way he has always desired.
Of Gallantry and Magic pokes fun at some of the tropes of knight-centre fantasy novels. While it is a parody, and an amusing one at that, it is also much more, as Tristan navigates his way through a wider world that he is ill equipped to deal with. I enjoyed reading about him learning about the realities of life, although he is still rather a unique character by the end of the story.
The author’s note at the beginning of the story sets the tone, and warns the reader that this story is not to be taken too seriously. The story is very tongue in cheek and I loved how a character compares Tristan’s speech patterns to that of a scroll, and another to that of a book. It makes sense, and reinforces the parody of the story, by having him narrate in 1st person.
Tristan is so naïve, it’s laughable yet sad at the same time. He’s a terrible snob, and is totally clueless about how bad his behaviour is. He has so many misconceptions about the role of a knight, and I enjoyed the way Gregory got under his skin, called him out on his behaviour and sets him on his journey to discover what life is really about.
The dragons are very much characters in their own right. Valeria is the only person Tristan truly cares about at the beginning of the story, and Hiroshi is adorable.
I’d recommend Gallantry and Magic to readers who enjoy a hero’s journey with a difference, and a story that gently pokes fun at tropes. 4 out of 5 stars.
Alex writes fantastical fiction because life is most interesting with dragons, magic, and beautiful men. Being non-binary informs Alex’s style and subject matter but does not dominate their stories. Life does.