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Beware of Chicken is delightful company in a lonely or cold wet day. Written by CasualFarmer first as a webnovel on RoyalRoad, and then on Audible and Amazon, this is the first instalment in a series that promises to be nothing but pure, warm bliss. With moments of joyous tenderness, heart-warming plots and downright hilarious point-of-view characters, it is not to be missed. If you don’t think you’d enjoy cozy fantasy, this might surprise you.

Jin Rou is a cultivator in a xianxia world, where others like him value ambition above all, with with the goal of ascending beyond the heavens through martial arts training and meditation.

Not Jin Rou.

He’s tired of the relentless pace of training in the arts of Cultivation, so he abandons his sect and goes to the Azure Hills, a remote place where almost no other cultivators ever go. He buys a patch of land, a few hens and a rooster and takes up the hoe in a new life as a farmer.

At first, the humour took some getting used to, and the references to our real world took me out of the story at times, but once I got used to them (it is a sort of isekai story, after all), I found nothing but things to enjoy.

This is what I’d consider “cozy fantasy”, and while there are moments that could seriously increase the stakes and the intensity of the story, these complications are always resolved in heart-warming, funny, or cozy ways. To me, that was part of what made the story so great. Maybe I was just in the mood for it, maybe I just needed a cozy story as a palate-cleanser from all the more serious books I tend to read.

But even if me being in the mood helped, this is still a really well-crafted story. The characters were interesting to follow, with well-defined quirks and personalities, and the diversity of subplots and (hilarious) point of views made it so that there is something anyone can enjoy. There are funny action scenes, there is a romance plotline, and the author is clearly well-acquainted with the tropes of the Cultivation and Xianxia stories, managing to subvert them or make fun of them in clever, yet respectful ways.

With more books already out, this is a novel for anyone looking to dip their toes into cozy fantasy, but with a non-western setting, since the Chinese influences are quite strong. But even those not necessarily looking for something different will still find a lot of familiarity.

My personal recommendation is to experience the book in audiobook format, narrated wonderfully by Travis Baldree.

Scores:

Characters: 5/5

Plot: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Pacing: 4.5/5

Prose: 4/5

 

Overall: 4.7/5 – rounded up to 5/5

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Beware of Chicken

Joao Silva

João F. Silva was born in a small town in Portugal but now lives in London, with his three feline co-workers/bosses. His debut novel Seeds of War won the Best Indie Debut of 2023 at the FanFiAddict Awards. His short fiction was published in Grimdark Magazine and Haven Speculative.

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