Antonio Simon, Jr.
Darkwater Syndicate (2013)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/17)
“The Gullwing Odyssey” is the first book in the Gullwing Series by Antonio Simon, Jr. It is a delightful fantasy story involving kings and princesses, dragons, knights, and even a few human beings! The story revolves around Marco, a messenger for Lord Amadis Eric, and his primary mission– to deliver an important parcel to Queen Catherine Saint-Saenz Lucinda of Avignary. With Queen Catherine located on the other side of the world, Marco realizes he may be in over his head as he encounters setback after setback, inhibiting his ability to complete his mission, which could ultimately cost him his job and his retirement pay!
I absolutely loved this story! It’s a fantasy, comedy, coming of age, adventure all wrapped up into one hilarious, witty, laugh aloud tale! The writing is superb–Simon has mastery over the English language and knows how to draw readers in with his elaborate storytelling charm. The humor sets the tone throughout.
One of my favorite moments is when Marco meets Barclay, a Knight on a religious mission. Marco is subjected to Barclay’s beliefs with no chance for escape as Barclay holds him hostage, so-to-speak, forcing him to read the most holy book, the ‘Book of the Glorious Verb,’ which begins:
“In the beginning, there was the Good Master. And He spoke the word that brought the universe into being, the glorious verb: BECAUSE.” (36)
This exasperates Marco as ‘because’ is neither a verb, nor an explanation of the message. At this point I just had to stop reading as images of my mother saying, “Because, I said so!” sprang to mind, causing a most enjoyable laugh at the memory. The whole book is like this, the canny wit amusingly pushing the story forward.
The characters are full of depth and definition, and the settings explicitly detailed, filling the readers heads with wondrous pictures and fantastical imagery.
While seemingly geared toward the YA crowd, I find the story will appeal to all ages, mostly due to the humorous elements. I give “The Gullwing Odyssey” by Antonio Simon, Jr. a highly recommended five-star rating.