This is a fun book.
L G Estrella’s novel harkens back to the kind of Young Adult Fantasy that used to be fairly common, before the advent of Twilight and paranormal bodice rippers took over the genre.
Simon is a young man attending university and working to help support his family, and in particular his mother’s medical bills. When his boss suggests that a new job has opened up that would pay considerably more, Simon is wary, but agrees to listen to the pitch, providing nothing illegal is involved.
It’s not illegal, but it is incredible. There is a multi-universe company–called, simply, The Company–run by Cosmic Guinea Pigs (yes, really) and they need delivery personnel.
For complex reasons involving a multiverse-wide war, these deliveries must be made by mundane operatives. They can be outfitted with high tech equipment, but can’t be too powerful themselves. Simon fits the ideal delivery boy profile–an ordinary person who is resourceful and open-minded and dedicated to getting the job done.
There follows Simon’s first two adventures as a Cosmic Delivery Boy, to two very different universes.
I would have preferred shorter adventures and more of them (the author spends a lot of time discussing the history of the two worlds and why each one is at war) but it doesn’t bog down too much in backstory. Also, the action is a bit cartoony and over the top–Simon’s equipment is so powerful that there isn’t any sense that he’s ever in real danger. But my complaints are minor ones.
It is, as I said, a fun book. I laughed at Simon’s adventures, and I could imagine the various situations he found himself thrust into. What’s more, Simon is a positive male role model without being unbelievable. He’s trying to do the best he can for his sick mother, his overworked father, and his boss, whom he admires. He’s virtuous without being smug, and the narrative voice is excellently delivered by the reader, Matt Cowlrick.
This is an enjoyable romp that avoids the “edgy” and “grimdark” feel of so much modern Fantasy.