The Banned Underground – a rock band led by the jazz-loving saxophonist and troll, Fungus – are back and on tour. Meanwhile, The Grey Mage is once again trying to get his hands on the dwarf treasure The Amulet of Kings (the main focus of the first Banned Underground story which I reviewed) but is thwarted in his efforts, largely due to the incompetence of his dark wizard underlings; Ned, Bill and Ben.
Elsewhere, a board of merchant bankers, the Edern, who operate out of an enchanted Fairy Hill in North Wales, have come together to solve Britain’s financial crisis. Apparently the old method of reading chicken entrails is no longer suitable (vegetarian Prime Minister) and the cab driver who gave the British government betting tips is retiring, so a more technical solution is required, which consists of using the Prescient Predictive function of a sentient SatNav to chart the future of financial markets. This method, the Determination of the Operation of Oscillations in the Macroeconomy, is the SatNav of Doom. However not all of the Edern like the idea of government policy being handed over to a machine, as their own input would become obsolete. Therefore the Grey Mage, who has been contacted by one of the board members to sabotage the prototype, now has a new mission for his hapless subordinates – to go to North Wales and hack the SatNav of Doom by uploading a virus so its results get sent to him.
The Banned Underground are playing at the Fairy Hill, so disguised as members of the band’s security, Ned, Bill and Ben have to try and sneak in whilst the band are playing and find out where the prototype is. Of course, it is never as easy as it sounds, especially when a taxi full of the dwarf Lord’s guards are hunting them down.
The main issue I had with the first book was the language, with endless punning conversations that meandered off the point and although I would say that is still an issue with Macmillan Jones, he seems to have pulled back a little bit for this one. However, I still think that there are too many characters flitting around and in trying to summarise the plot I had to go back and re-read parts to actually work out what was going on. There are four groups who eventually converge on Fairy Hill – the Edern, the Grey Mage’s men, the Banned Underground and the dwarves hunting Ned, Bill and Ben and although there is a plot bringing them together, I think it could have been more skilfully managed so they interact with one another to a greater extent. I’m thinking along the lines of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels where the comedic element comes from different groups unwittingly affecting one another with their actions, which is used to a slight degree here but I think more comedy could have been generated. The dwarf guards for example don’t really have much to do with the story and unfortunately the delightfully funny witch Grizelda, who is my favourite character from the first novel, only makes an occasional and brief appearance.
At just over 100 pages in length it only takes a few hours at most to read, and I did snigger at some parts, but a move further away from the endless punning and joking would benefit future instalments and give a stronger focus to the plot.
Review by Cat Fitzpatrick
6.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
The Banned Underground: Book 1 written by Will Macmillan Jones
What could be worse? Having to take a holiday with an aunt who turns people into frogs? Or battling the local dark lord? Or getting involved with a jazz-loving bog troll an [...]
Our rating: 6.0 | positive reader reviews
The Banned Underground: Book 2 written by Will Macmillan Jones
The Banned Underground is back to rock your world again. This time they've destroyed the Throne of the Mountain King and must get another before the dark legions of acc [...]
Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews
The Banned Underground: Book 5 written by Will Macmillan Jones
The Banned Underground – a rock band led by the jazz-loving saxophonist and troll, Fungus – are back and on tour. Meanwhile, The Grey Mage is once again trying [...]
Our rating: 6.5 | positive reader reviews
by Terry Pratchett
For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of [...]
Series: The Discworld Series: Book 28
Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews
by Jonathan Stroud
When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in... For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A nu [...]
Series: Lockwood & Co #1
Our rating: 9.1 | 1 positive reader reviews