by Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Myth Alliances might be the perfect title for the latest entry into the adventures of the Magnificent Skeeve as this is the first novel written by an alliance between series originator Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye, although the two have previously collaborated on several short stories, four of which were collected in Myth-Told Tales. Unfortunately, while Myth Alliances does continue the plot of the earlier books, its satire tends to be scattershot with the authors trying to take aim at too many targets in too short a space.
The novel focuses on Skeeve’s attempts to save the dimension of Wuhs from the attention of ten Pervects who have moved in to help balance the dimensions accounts. Now, the Wuhsses have decided they want the Pervects gone and the Pervects refuse to leave. Without the support of Skeeve’s erstwhile partner/mentor Aahz, he must rely on his own abilities, augmented by his assistant Bunny, Tananda the Trollop, and the new input of self-help guru Zol Icty, to rid the dimension of the Pervects.
It would seem that Asprin and Nye have decided to simplify the situation in the series by dismantling much of the apparatus Asprin set up in the previous books. M.Y.T.H. Inc, does not appear and Skeeve is on his own dimension of Klahd attempting to actually improve his magickal skills rather than just relying on his repertoire of trickery to make his reputation. While these changes are welcome, they are sidelined by the authors’ attempts to skewer a huge variety of targets.
Among the numerous targets which the authors choose to attack in this one, slim volume are advertising, business, community democracy, self-help books, and more. Any of these topics would, and could, have provided enough fodder for a book rather than being crammed into the space of Myth Alliances. This gives the novel the feel of too much, too quickly, and each time the reader feels like he has a handle on the authors’ message, the authors mount a different hobby horse, thereby diluting all of their messages.
Of course, Skeeve and his compatriots are as likable in Myth Alliances as ever, using the magician’s strange charisma to gather alliances from a wide variety of dimensions, some familiar, others new. Skeeve’s blunders are, for him, learning experiences which allow him to shower his compassion on those he would try to help as well as those who would make him their enemy.
Skeeve and his pals have a lot of adventures left in them, but in order to fully recapture the feel of the earlier books in the series, which seems to be one of their goals, Asprin and Nye need to simplify and focus the novels in order to drive home their points and make the books more cohesive and coherent.
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