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Sir Apropos of Nothing [ SIR APROPOS OF NOTHING ] By David, Peter ( Author )Sep-16-2010 Paperback [Paperback]

Peter David
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (16 Sep 2010)
  • ASIN: B00BANLN16
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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As I stood there with the sword in my hand, the blade dripping blood on the floor, I couldn't help but wonder if the blood belonged to my father. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy turned on its head 22 Sep 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sir Apropos of Nothing, by Peter David, is a wonderfully funny fantasy novel that takes potshots at most of the clichés in standard fantasy fiction, turning them on their heads. It looks at the roles of the hero, sidekick, and villain, and asks "What if the sidekick isn't happy with his lot in life and wants to be the hero instead?" The narrator, Apropos, is very self-aware, especially of his role in the proceedings. And he's not happy about it. The tale becomes a comedy of coincidences, missteps, and daring-do, and it's told wonderfully by the ever-talented David.
This book starts with one of the greatest opening lines I've read in awhile. "As I stood there with the sword in my hand, the blade dripping blood on the floor, I couldn't help but wonder if the blood belonged to my father." Thus, Apropos is introduced, along with his tragic lineage. I know it seems strange to call a book with something as horrific as a gang-rape a "comedy," but David writes with such a deft touch that you will find yourself laughing at the appropriate times, and being horrified at the appropriate times. He's that good of a writer, as he's shown in his other books and the comics he writes. Apropos narrates the tale as if he's speaking to the reader, and when he's talking about both his being conceived and his childhood in general, he relates the tale in a very off-hand way, as if he's repressing his emotions about it a little bit. Because of that, you don't get just a narration of the events as they take place. Instead, you also get a bit of a psychological insight into him.
Apropos is not a very likable character. He's self-centered, looking after his own skin when the going gets tough. He gets involved in things because they will benefit him, not because it's "the right thing to do.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! 1 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It is a very entertaining book. It is very funny but also very serious. I think this is the main reason why I find this book so intriguing. The book has some dark sides but it is first of all an optimistic book, showing us how Apropos, the main character, is handling all kinds of adventures and problems mainly by using his wit. I liked this character immediately. He is a very complex person with strength and weaknesses, a man who grows with his experiences, who learns from them as you can especially see when you read the end of the book.
It is a whole story. It has a definite end. But it can also be seen as the first chapter in a series of books. Peter David is considering writing a sequel. I am very much hoping he will do that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sarcastically brilliant 15 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Sir Apropos of Nothing is a brilliant come-back to all the samey fantasy out there. The main character is so ruthless and unpleasant that you really shouldn't like him, but he's so funny and well written that you can't help it. Events are unpredictable enough to hold the reader's interest, whilst never being so left-field that you are yanked out of the story. The word-play is an absolute joy. The author clearly revels in puns, so if you like them you're in for a treat. Some really bizarre stuff happens, even by the standards of a fantasy book. The sequence with the unicorns in particular is weird and wonderful.
There is some bad language and explicit stuff, so it's not really for kids, but anyone over 14 or so ought to be fine (whether they'd get all the jokes is another matter, but it certainly wouldn't hurt them).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nasty fantasy 11 Jan 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Many fantasy novels are boring and predictable: they star a little boy destined to become a hero, receive incredible powers, travel across the world, etc. After so many ones read, they just make me sleepy. Apropos is... an alternative: he's a cripple, a coward, a cynic, sometimes a real jerk, and his mother is a prostitute. How about that? It's fun to read about a character like this, for a change.
The first part of the book is funny and pleasant, but the second half becomes... less surprising. You can see that Apropos will eventually become a hero, willing or not. The ending is not bad, instead, and sends off our little bastard for a trip around the world - a happy ending would have been insufferable.
Well, so far it's been a good read, if not great. I think I'll read the rest, and even the comic book mini-series while I'm at it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  71 reviews
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just entertaining 4 July 2001
By Haddrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After I finished reading Peter David`s novel "Sir Apropos of Nothing" it took me a while before I was able to move on to reading another book. It left a very strong impression on me, something that is not unusual with his books. But this one is not the next chapter of my favourite series, New Frontier, or any other Star Trek written by him, this is something completely different. Peter David created his own universe, his own characters. He has written other non-media books before, but "Sir Apropos of Nothing" is his first non-media book I have read so far. Here we enter a world where we meet kings, knights, squires, witches and some more phantastic creatures. But Peter David`s version is not as simplistic as meeting a noble king who is surrounded by noble knights who go out into the world in order to do heroic deeds, slay dragons and save the odd damsel in distress. I am quite tired of that pattern and therefore I welcomed it that this book is different, much more complex. I often had the feeling that Peter David was challenging this pattern deliberately. We find out quickly that appearances can be very deceiving, that people who seem to be nice have some dark secrets. Sometimes good and evil can`t be separated easily. Sometimes good people are pushed into doing something bad. Peter David put very complex people into his book, people with strength and weaknesses, people who make mistakes. Peter David`s strength has always been characterizations and this book is no exception. The people in his book are very alive.
This is first of all the case with the main character, a young squire names Apropos. I liked him immediately. He is a very positive character but he has some darker layers as well which make him even more interesting. Apropos has a wonderful sense of humour. On top of that he is able to deal with all kinds of adventures and problems, mainly by using his wit. This makes the book fun to read. Some parts really made me laugh.
On the other hand, "Apropos" is not a comedy. Therefore I think comparing it with "Blackadder" is not accurate. The book also has some very serious scenes, a mix I find very intriguing. I find it remarkable with how much ease and skill Peter David combined the fun and the serious parts in this book. He is able to insert humour in some very dark scenes without ever giving me the feeling that it is forced. Sometimes I was caught between laughing and being touched by the seriousness of the situation.
Not only is Apropos a very likeable character, also because of his weaknesses, he is on top of that a very strong character. He makes mistakes and there are setbacks as well, but his determination, his cleverness is remarkable. We can see during this story that this character grows, that he is learning from mistakes. This is especially visible at the end of the book.
What I find also remarkable is how Peter David handled the topic disability in this book: Apropos was born with a physical disability. Being disabled myself I know what I am talking about, and I think he handled this aspect in a very realistic but also appealing way. I hate it when people with disabilities are shown as objects of pity and being helpless victims. Apropos learned from very early on to see and treat his disability as a challenge. In time he became more and more able to defend himself if he has to. But first of all he learned to use his wit and how to evade physical confrontations. I find this very interesting. Apropos reminded me in some ways of Miles Vorkosigan, the main character in Lois McMaster Bujold`s series.
Peter David is openly challenging cliches and prejudices, not only concerning the "heroism and chivalry" stuff in fairy tales and about disabled people, but there is a lot more. The book often made me think. One other aspect is that Peter David obviously shares my opinion that having feelings is not a weakness, it is a strength. He is also challenging the cliché of the overly male hero who is only allowed to show feelings of the more aggressive kind. Apropos also has a very sensitive side. The richness of his character also left such a strong impression on me because Peter David wrote the book from the first person perspective. He already showed me in the past that he is very skilled at using the advantages this form of storytelling has to its full potential.
"Apropos" is a whole story. It has a definite end. But it can also be seen as the first chapter in a series of books. Peter David is considering writing a sequel. I am very much hoping he will do that. I think it is an excellent book, very cleverly written with some surprises especially at the end. To me it is much more than just entertaining. In other words, if you ask me, it is definitely worth buying.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but disturbing 22 Aug 2001
By David C. Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David's Apropos is a thoroughly unlikeable character, an anti-hero with nearly nothing to recommend him. David manages to run him through one situation after another to reinforce this impression, allowing Apropos to demonstrate, over and over, that he's a selfish manipulator who would betray a friend at the drop of a hat.
And yet ...
We can all relate to Apropos. I think most people wish, sometimes, that we could allow the bitterness of the past to rule our present actions, that we could use the excuse of "Well, other folks screwed me, so I'm gonna screw other folks first" to justify being right bastards to each other. If anyone has such an excuse, it's Apropos.
Therefore, that at times Apropos rises above his selfishness and self-serving ways to actually do good -- sometimes inadvertently, sometimes seized by a destructive fit of morality, sometimes because ... it's the right thing to do -- keeps this book from being a mere celebration of an anti-hero and gives us the same hope that we can rise above our own pettiness and greed, no matter how good the excuses for it are that we carry with us.
I'm not sure how soon I'll revisit Apropos. But I'll remember the final lessons he teaches.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny! A *must read* for all fantasy readers! 25 July 2002
By Christine Zanotti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had never heard of Peter David before reading this book, and now I find myself looking for his novels whenever I go to bookstores. The book is well written, it has an exciting story line, and one of he most interesting main characters I've ever read about.
How many fantasy novels tell a tale of bold heroes, born from nothing only to achieve everything they set out to accomplish? Probably a vast majority of novels follow this model. Not Apropos.
Not only does this book deviate from the beaten path, this is a book where you feel the emotions right with the character. He carries with him so many emotions. You will find yourself cheering for him, feeling his pain, his anger, and sometimes wishing he were right in front of you so you could kick him right in the rear for some of the crazy things this young man does (all these insane adventures take place before he is even twenty years of age).
Another thing I enjoyed about this novel were the few, well placed references to other fantasy works. For example: at one point in Apropos, Apropos and Entipy are dealing with some irate unicorns, and the comment made by Entipy was directly from Beagle's "Last Unicorn."
I don't think I have to go any further to show you that I loved this book. Any true fantasy lover will enjoy it!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infectious fun within is certainly apropos! 20 Jun 2001
By ktomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
To comic book fans, Peter David is the writer who makes The Incredible Hulk incredible and puts the super in Supergirl. To Star Trek fans, David is known as the co-creator of the New Frontier series and author of the New York Times best-seller, "Imzadi". But this book has NOTHING to do with any of this, for it's Mr. David's first original novel in several years. It's also about the age of chivalry, and a cowardly young man named Apropos, the bastard son of a tavern wench and an unknown father, who may or may not be of royal blood.
Born with a deformed leg and a mischieveous attitude cynically weened on the pompous airs of knights and royalty, Apropos' presumed lowly existence suddenly gains purpose when his mother is murdered one night while 'servicing' a mysterious customer. Shortly afterward, he journeys to the king's palace, where in seeking vengence, Apropos inadvertently becomes squire to the most inept knight in the kingdom, the aging Sir Umbrage of the Flaming Nether Regions. However, Apropos' sudden ascent to notariety does not sit well among other aspirers of noble station. But a scandalous incident soon moves Apropos closer towards an unintended destiny that his mother seemed to have foretold.
Armed with irreverent puns and a plethoria of memorable characters, this tale not only skewers the divisions of class structures, but the idea that one's greatness is hereditary. Many of the skirmishes between Apropos, his acquaintances and his adversaries center around preconceived public myth versus one's personal desires and responsibilities. And as Apropos weasels through each situation, one senses his growing unease at possibly becoming what he had loathed. There's an inner rivalry and distrust towards heroic idealism, as if aspiring to selflessness is the stuff of idiots and lunatics.
Often juxtiposing the humorous with the horrific, Apropos' adventures meet with surprising twists of fate, leaving one breathless over what might come next. The tale is told in a breezy first person narrative, with relatively few lapses into self-indulgence. Mr. David's penchant for strong female characterization is also in fine form here, with memorable portrayals of mothers, wives, and the amorously-minded. And the title character of Apropos is a magnificent rascal, who compares favorably to like-minded compatriots Flashman or Blackadder. SIR APROPOS OF NOTHING is a rare treat of satire for those who always thought that the proclaimed feats of the knights of old seemed a bit greasy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tragicomic Antihero 8 May 2004
By Christopher Dudley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'd give this book three and a half stars if I could, but I can't quite justify a fourth star. It was very good in parts, and the idea of making a hero of the wry comic relief stock character was a good concept. But the book suffers from a bit of a cumbersome back story and a tendency to overstate the obvious. I did like the book, but I wouldn't follow this character's adventures through more than a couple books. If this is an open-ended series, I wouldn't pick up the next book. As of this review, there are three books in the series. If it's going to stop at 3, I might finish them. Time will tell.
It starts out with a genuinely funny situation in which Apropos is holding the sword that is protruding from the chest of a knight. Unfortunately, once out of that situation, the author launches into the origin story of how Apropos arrived in that situation - which lasts over 200 dull and somewhat depressing pages. If you can persevere past page 300, you might find the story entertaining after all. If the story were about 250 pages shorter, it would be a lot better, and a lot of that extra bulk could be taken out of this origin story.
The story is told from the perspective of Apropos, who is the product of the gang-rape of a tavern wench by a group of visiting knights. After the rape, she feels she has nothing left to lose and so continues to support herself by becoming a prostitute at that tavern. After Apropos is forced to leave home (is it a spoiler to tell something that has happened before page 1, but isn't told until page 200?) he goes to the court of King Runcible of Isteria to right some wrongs that were done to him, and instead becomes a squire to the doddering old Sir Umbrage. After he is sent on a mission to retrieve the Princess, who has spent the last several years being schooled in a far-off convent, his adventure truly begins. In his origin and early adventures, Apropos is a thoroughly contemptible character, very self-centered and cowardly. However many of the things he does out of greed or cowardice end up working out better than the heroic options might have. Later on in the story, he grows a little bit, which in a way spoils his appeal. His unheroic methods defined the character, and to see the resolution of the book hinge on his learned selflessness is a bit of a disappointment.
The main problem with this book is the same as with most of the fantasy I've seen labeled as comical satire or humor. With very few exceptions, the genre fails on the same point - it just isn't that funny all the way through. And given the comical nature of the title, along with the description on the back of the book, a lot of the book is far too serious. There are long stretches where it reads just like any other adventure novel. There are numerous puns populating the world of Apropos. Some of the puns are passable, but some are heavily strained, like the 3-page back-story to arrive at the pun-based name of the group of male harpies - the Harpers Bizarre. There are a number of very funny parts of this book, but they're rather scattered.
The writing itself is not as good as it could be. While parts of the dialogue are brilliant, there is a tendency to overstate a point in narration, needlessly complicating the prose. Almost every page for the first 400, I found a paragraph that, were I Peter David's editor, would have picked apart as shamelessly overwritten. David also has a tendency to overuse certain words. I counted about a dozen too many uses of the word "formidable" in various contexts in the first chapter alone. Almost as many "endeavor" abuses in later chapters.
So, other than the fact that it's too long, this is not a bad book. Not a must-read by any means, but not without its merits. It sets up the history and adventures of Sir Apropos of Nothing, with just enough comedy to keep it from turning into a serious attempt at heroic fantasy. The next books probably wouldn't be encumbered by the need to take 12 chapters out of the narration to set up the characters. Most of where it falls down is in the writing, with the writer taking three sentences to say what the reader already knows from one. It could have gone through a couple more re-writes before seeing print.
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