Book 2 of Big Sneaky Barbarian felt rather disconnected from the first book> Sure, we still have Loon, the supposedly sneaky barbarian with anger issues and snark for days, and some of our friends from the first book eventually show up, but we spend most of the book with Loon falling ass-first into trouble. We get to meet some new characters who attach themselves to his orbit. Another sojourner from Earth the same as Loon and a rather annoyingly-voiced spirit of an immensely powerful being, to name a few.
The town Loon finds himself in is under attack. A massive centipede-like monster wants to lay eggs in the town water supply, which historically hasn’t gone well for any town or city where that has occurred. Thinking back, I’m not sure how we even got here… maybe I need to relisten to the first to see how strong the connection is.
The story itself is a load of laughs, don’t get me wrong. The author’s ability to string together immensely long alliterative sentences for the sake of pushing a joke as far as he can is simply amazing. More than anything, this felt like a side quest. There’s still something larger going on, but beyond a few minutes sprinkled in here and there, nothing really moved forward in that department.
We get more of a look at what made Loon, well Gabe when he was on earth, the person he was. There are some seriously heartwrenching parts of this story, and Loon’s ability to pivot from batshit crazy to deeply serious is so well crafted. Some great moments of self-reflection where you can feel him growing as a person.
As with the first, Johnathan McClain continues to show why he is 100% the correct voice for this book. He clearly has a lot of fun recording this, cutting loose with whatever insanity is going on… and when the time comes for serious he delivers an Oscar-worthy performance.
No post-credit blooper reel on this one, unlike the first. No biggie, as they’re nice occasionally but all the time they could get a bit much. Top-quality production as usual.
Ultimately, an action-packed, non-stop, insanity-fueled ride through a fantasy setting that had me laughing with all the low-brow humour. Yes, the story didn’t move on maybe as much as I would have liked, but it was just so fun to listen to. Give me more!