… the great teen road trip? Two teens set out together the summer before they start college, finding themselves along the way. Troy is the perfect guy — handsome, smart, athletic, friendly with everyone, and a genuinely nice guy. Helen is also smart and athletic, although rather shy. They both get along well with their parents and siblings, and they work together at Magic Burger. Together, they’re taking the ride of their lives in Troy’s father’s electric-blue Ford convertible. However, this is A. Lee Martinez, so there a few differences between Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest and the usual teen road trip novel. For one thing, they’re on the trip because of a geas placed on them by a rather unpleasant deity who was summoned by their boss. For another, Helen has fur and horns – your basic minotaur.
Martinez does a spectacular job of mixing his signature off-beat, occasionally-dark humor with a coming-of-age story. On their trip, Helen and Troy face challenges ranging from an orc motorcycle gang and dragons to the fates and their own doubts. They must complete the quest or die trying, but thousands of innocent people may die if they succeed. Will they make it to the end? Will they sacrifice themselves for the greater good? Can any challenge be harder than admitting their feelings for one another? As an agent from the National Questing Bureau says, “A quest without mystery is like a wolverine wearing a carnation.”
Reviewed by Fran (staff)