In No Country For Old Gnomes, the second book in the Tales of Pell trilogy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, gnomes and halflings are at war. This unexpected development brings together an eclectic assortment of people who seek to stop the conflict. Among them: Offi the gnome who has long felt overshadowed by his brother, Agape the sheep-satyr who has been on the run for years and doesn’t know how to make friends, Gerd the gryphon who really loves omelets, and several others. They have to figure out how to get along, and how to stop the war.
These characters were fine, but didn’t jump out to me as anything new or special. I liked some of their backstories and character arcs, especially Faucon the halfling’s journey, but overall I wasn’t wowed. And furthermore, I wasn’t as invested in this plot as I was in the previous book, Kill the Farm Boy. Sure, it was entertaining enough, but some of the humor didn’t quite work for me. I think part of my problem with this book was that it was less of a parody than Farm Boy. Certainly, this is still full of fun anachronisms, puns, and familiar tropes, but it reads more like a wacky but more typical light fantasy. It seems to take itself more seriously this time almost, and so fell a bit short of my expectations, as I was expecting something more in the same vein as its predecessor.
In the end, though, No Country For Old Gnomes is a silly book, with lots of Tolkien references in particular, with some entertaining characters and an overall interesting storyline. However, following the irreverent but still affectionate parody present in the first in the series, this book feels inferior. The writing is good, and the ideas are clever, but I personally feel it could have been executed slightly better.
Overall rating: 7.6/10