There have been countless legends and with that, countless heroes destined to be the “chosen one”. Dan is not that person.
Sucked into an exotic, barbarous world, Dan meets a jovial warrior and finds himself on an adventure he could’ve never imagined - battling monsters, demons, armies, and evil sorcerers.
Dan the Destructor is a mixture of sword & sorcery and post-apocalyptic B-movies presented in a quick paced pulp novel format. It’s fun, badass, fantastical, and action-packed.
If the blurb makes it sound straightforward, that’s because it is! But don’t think leaning into the schlock and pulpy goodness doesn’t pay off. This is a fun, imaginative read set in an interesting sword and sorcery world.
The structure is tight, the pacing fast. Mr. Rimes is not at all interested in wasting time. Early on in Dan’s dive into the strange, magical, and yet apocalyptically futuristic world he’s swept up into, we have the opportunity to linger in a certain location while side characters advance the plot.
Rather than let Dan rest on his laurels (and perhaps enjoy certain sultry pleasures), the author pushes the soon aptly-named Destructor into motion through simple internal motivations that deepen his character.
Things like this appear throughout the book, adding shading and color to what could have easily appeared flat, black and white.
The plot itself is fun, with lots of dangerous encounters, scheming of delightfully wicked villains, and plenty of world and character mysteries to lead us into future installments.
As mentioned, the villains are great, each of them distinct in an old-school, almost Saturday morning cartoon kind of way. And they don’t all play nice, which adds a tasty layer of intrigue that progresses quite apart from the actions of our heroes.
We meet several secondary and tertiary characters along the way, each of them also suitably distinct, but for the most part we’re drawn along by Dan the man himself, and his native companion and mentor in this new world, Fenrik.
This jovial barbarian is one of my favorite kinds of characters. Big, helpful and friendly, yet strong and uncompromising. He’s got a life of his own we touch on a little bit, and his role in the world plays no small part in driving things along. We’ve seen this kind of guy a lot in fiction, but when well done, it’s not the kind of character we tire of.
Dan is rather simple, and that’s just fine. His internal issues revolve around a breakup he’s just processing, with promises of connections back to that in future installments. Outwardly he’s as jazzed as any of us pulp fans would be to be transported to a world of magic and moral brutality against the forces of evil.
This being the first of Rimes’s novels, one can see the areas where he’s got room to improve. But I’ve read a lot of new writers and I have every confidence any of the little issues one could mention concerning this book will be ironed out with experience (and maybe a second edition sometime?) One simple example would be that, by the author’s own admission, this story started as a graphic novel script. In the process of adaptation, we ended up in what I’d say is a suboptimal use of present tense, with an unconventional way of tagging dialog (just read the sample, you’ll see). That said, the author’s own conventions in this book are consistent and overall the copy is really clean.
So if you’re in the mood for a rollicking adventure with manly men mercilessly battling evil in a weird barbaric future, grab a copy of Dan today!