The Last Adventure of Constance Verity
By A Lee Martinez
- The Last Adventure of Constance Verity
Author: A Lee Martinez
- Series: Book 1 of Constance Verity
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
- ISBN: 9781529408119
- Published: January 2022
- Pages: 365
- Format reviewed: Paperback
- Review date: 27/01/2022
- Language: English
- The Last Adventure of Constance Verity
- Constance Verity Saves the World
- Constance Verity Destroys the Universe
That one time you saved the world with stick with you for a lifetime. You may bask in the glory one day and wake up with cold sweats the next, either way, the event will be forged in your memories forever. What about two times? Three or four? Do you think that James Bond can remember one supervillain from the other? Constance Verity has not only saved our world, the known universe, and countless multiverses, that she has forgotten most of the events. The extraordinary becomes ordinary. All that she craves in a normal life but will The Last Adventure of Constance Verity work out?
Fairy Godmothers are not common but are around more than you think. One visits Constance when she is born and blesses/curses her with a life of adventure. From the age of seven events will conspire to make Constance’s life an odyssey of adventure. This is fun for a decade or two but now that Constance is in her 30s all she really wants is a lie in once in a while and a boyfriend that is not eaten by a space alien. She sets out with her perfectly normal best friend and sidekick, Tia, to finally cure herself of this adventurer's curse.
When attempted in written fiction, comedy does not always hit the mark. With the Constance Verity series A. Lee Martinez has designed a formula that brings both the action and the humour. As a genre fan you always assume that the heroes enjoy the adventure, but Last Adventure suggests that it can become tiresome. There is a wonderful sarcastic tone to the book as Constance comes across yet another secret society or cursed item. This is the tenth one this week and she treats them with the contempt they deserve.
As a premise it has enormous potential and Martinez can get a lot from it. Rather than just send Constance and Tia on another adventure, the book is full of amusing moments as they question the various characters they come across. At time it comes close to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I do not say that lightly. One sequence where a cult leader tries to explain that they are not a cult, whilst Constance points out that they kind of are, would, I think, have pleased even Douglas Adams.
The book does not have this sense of British style wit throughout and instead also has adventurous action that reminds the reader of its American roots. There is a real danger in this type of book becoming dull with too much action. When you have a character where anything can happen, anything that does happen starts to lose any meaning. The secret is to allow the reader pauses between the action and here Martinez wisely uses relationships and character development.
Constance is a complicated person, and her friends are few and far between. Only Tia is someone she can fully trust, her other friends would happily leave her dangling above a pit full of crocodiles (but only a small pit). Even Tia is an issue as she is vulnerable to attack and can distract Constance at the wrong moments. There is also the new boyfriend, her ex who happens to be a Ninja, the US Government agents and numerous entities that show up via wormholes in her flat. By remembering to nurture the characters you get a rolling relationship drama as the action unfolds. This is an impressive fete.
I thoroughly enjoyed Last Adventure and I imagine that Martinez set out to do just this. It is a clever idea, well executed. For a knockabout comedy, the characters are three dimensional and you can tell why it has appealed to film makers. The studios will get a lot of action set pieces and laughs, while the actors will get a character that has depth. We readers just get to enjoy it first and feel all smug about it.
Written on 27th January 2022 by Sam Tyler .