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A mysterious new cook has arrived for the King of Daxaria's household. With his strange appearance and guarded personality, many members of the staff, and even some of the nobility, are curious about him. However, with the rumors of a war on the horizon, and the Queen pregnant with her second child, there isn’t time to worry about an eccentric stranger. Besides, how important could he be?
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Yes, it's a good story.
chapter after chapter of characters radically changing their world view to fit modern values after a day or two of honest empathy, put me off this story.
Maybe I just see so many real people in my life that dogmatically double down in the face of the arguments the mc uses that I cant suspend my disbelief. Makes his every sweeping empathetic success embittering.
Thanks to the author for the great recipes, I enjoyed meeting your cat's namesake.
Let me start with the main character: A "house witch" who is employed as the new kitchen chef in the king's castle. He makes sweeping reforms in his domain and remains essentially unchallenged in that respect because he uses great common sense. He has background, he has opinions, and he drives his own story. The support characters are internally consistent as well (...within the abysmal setting described next).
The setting is my big gripe here, and that is what I'm rating as the story score because good worldbuilding is what I expect in stories. My review title calls this whole world "incongruous" because it just is: The main character is a normally educated, liberal man from the 20th century; the castle is a fantasy stone thing like from the 12th century; the King rules over a continent and holds court like in the 15th/16th century; the government's infrastructure is just not there; the young prince freely roams all over the place with no guardians; the King's knights are bastard upstarts from the 8th century and NOT nobles ("Sir Taylor"). In short, the setting is all over the place like the fairytale court of a Disney movie... except that in a Disney movie, the King's court is just a backdrop. In THIS story, we actually learn the ways of the peasants and servants, and delve into the politics of small and great people alike. Under that level of scrutiny, the Disney castle backdrop gets flimsy and my suspension of disbelief ends.
The grammar is good, but even good spellcheck apps can't find the occasional wordchoice error, like "new"/"knew" mixups just for example. Can be read fluently and that is what is important!
The narrative style begins haltingly and especially at the start of the story the reader is left to piece things together by himself. Lots of things are kept mysterious, but in a rather clumsy fashion.
The premise is charming, a man-witch protecting his household, currently the king's castle he's working in as a cook. He influences those around him for good.
There is a lot of humor in the novel, most of which is quite well done.
Also, many details are lovely and well developed: for instance, the food involved in the MC character's job, his familiar (who has a voice in some chapters that reminds me about a novel by E.T.A. Hoffmann).
There are many weak parts present, alas, too.
Character building lacks depth. The MC love interest, the HER, the SHE, should be–if we add the details– somewhere around 35+ years old, which is quite antique for a medieval setting. Unfortunately, her background lacks credibility, and so does the MC's (28 years old). We have people who should have many experiences in their life but feel like a barbie doll freshly out of the box. The hints to their past are by far not enough for a credible character. Both should have been made younger, frankly.
Many reviews point to the main weakness: the world-building is disjointed. The MC feels like an isekaied modern character, yet he's not. The elements are incongruous, and he does modern "good" with contemporary language and modern values all over the place. Think GoT in reverse.
That said, it still is a fun read.
As of chapter 14 I’m unsure if the MC is supposed to be someone from a modern western country reincarnated in fantasy-land or whether he is supposed to have gotten his modern values and morals somewhere else.
In any case, the MC is extremely confident in his modern-day understanding of "justice" and such values. The way the MC takes it for granted that the purpose of "punishment" is to mend the harm of the injured party and how casually he interacts with everyone from peasants to nobility feels a bit incongruous with the fantasy world at the moment.
It screams "Look at me, I’m the MC and I know better than you!" This impression is not helped by doing things like giving the pregnant Queen orders not to drink alcohol despite that apparently not being common knowledge in the kingdom. Even if it was common knowledge, he is just a cook. How can he order the royalty around, at most it should be a strong recommendation or something like that.
It has a good primise with a unique story, but it just feels like it is missing something thats really important , something that would put everything together and make it a better story, not exactly sure how to explain it.
I can only give it a 3.5 with how it is at this point in time.
The plot leaks out like a sieve.
Everyone is incompetent but the MC. The previous royal cook was running a pigsty without anyone caring about it. The Knights captain never heard his rape-y subordinates were openly terrorizing the female staff. Those moronic wannabe rapists were doing everything in the open. The majordomo fat lady only cares about "authority". The resident spymaster and friend of the queen doesn't vet new staff. The royal mage fails to make definite identification of the MC as a witch just cause he couldn't get close enough without being rude?!?(wtf?!) The queen has problem keeping her pregnancies but kept having alcoholic drinks....
And i bet i forgot more.
Then comes the hero MC to save the day by plot contrivance cause he's really incompetent otherwise.Let's just say he's not much of a thinker. Did i mention he is very pretty 👀?It's pretty obvious this mc was female yuri protagonist that was turned into a male for some reason.
There is also the dissonance of what you're "told" with what you're "shown".
For example you are "told" everyone cares about the well-being of the female staff that was constantly harassed by the rape prone knights, while you have witnessed in the previous chapters how openly they did so and nobody gave a damn.
No thank you. I really can't understand which novel is everyone else reading
I'm loving this story so much. I havn'et come across a story that explores the greatness of food, it's always alchemy or blacksmithing yet food is what's used everyday and most important. Looking forward to more!
You won't find many grammar mistakes if any, the story itself is incredible, and I found myself actually laughing out loud and legitimately wanting to cry at places... AND ITS ONLY AT CHAPTER TWENTY!
needless to say, I'm very excited for the rest of this book if the author so chooses to continue. Also I love kraken.
Exactly as advertised, and fantastic.
That's all I really wanted to write, but its a romance focused around a magic cook as he interacts with a loveable royal family and their court and servants. He's not macking on the queen, the king and queen are happily married, and most of the main characters have a refreshingly earned moral high ground. There are some more serious themes below the surface, but for the most part it's just delightful campy fun. I don't really enjoy romances, but it's a story like a marvelous farmer: out standing in it's field.
I'm taking a half star off cuz I'm not sure if the food is geographically/historically accurate (I'm not sure if cantaloupes existed close to sauerkraut, physically or in point in time). Its mostly a penalty for my own ignorance, but if I don't find something to complain about I'm pretty sure my head will explode.
i have binged this story in like a day and now it has become one of my favorities so far. Writing is very good and while I was reading I didn't find any points that can break your immersion here. Characters are very well developed and feel alive. The selling point for me here is the uniqueness of our MC as a "house witch".