The Prince Has Been Outclassed, book 2 of Ben’s Damn Adventure by Matthew Howry, continues mostly in the same theme of the first book; a funny, fun apocalypse adventure. While it has its strengths, the plot progression and character growth were less than I was hoping for.
We do learn a little more about the world, and we get to meet a bunch of new side characters who are roped into Ben’s group of adventurers. I feel that I have forgotten a bit since the first book and might have benefited from a re-listen before jumping into this one. Vivi, the Aeon Slug I remembered, and Short Bus, of course (probably my favourite character in the book, tbh), but others had me scratching my head for a bit.
A relisten to the first might be useful to compare something else I noticed. In parts of the story, Howry seemed to restate what was just said before moving on. Like, driving the point or, more commonly, the joke home to make sure it landed. I realised when writing this that I didn’t note down any examples, but it was something that niggled at the back of my mind while listening.
Character development falls short, particularly with Ben. A lot of character stuff revolved around the entire cast being naked the whole time and the awkwardness with that.
Generally speaking, the plot meanders without any clear sense of direction or purpose, lacking any real advancement to move the story forward. Sure, we do move forward, but more should have happened for a book over twelve hours in length. Not so much sluggish (ha! a slug joke) since something always seemed to be happening, just a lack of real advancement.
Don’t get me wrong and think I’m hating on this because I’m not; I’m just pointing out some issues I took with the overall story progression. The story and dialogue offer moments of genuine humour, and Johnathan McClain and his trademark style of delivery are perfect for the humour and style of this story. The production quality was good, and I didn’t make any note of any obvious background noises or other issues.
The Prince Has Been Outclassed is definitely a fun adventure with a cast of unique characters and moments of genuine humour. For me, it mostly falls short in terms of plot direction and character development. I will continue with this series, but I do hope the plot moves on a bit in the next one.