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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
I have to be honest here: the opening line of Converted, The Meantime Stories (No. 2) by Svingen and Pedersen immediately startled and intrigued me. I mean, what would be your reaction to reading “In the meantime…Draghan, the esteemed warlord and feared field general, fakes an orgasm.” Would you close the book right there or feel compelled to find out why someone with such a high profile would need to fake an orgasm? Well, my curiosity kept me reading, and with every page, my eyes grew larger in disbelief, a smile took over my lips and before I knew it, I had read all 21 pages. It was only then that I realized I had never read anything quite like Converted before. Talk about unique! Converted is No. 2 of a humorous short story series that has been “embraced by both critics and readers.” The writers, Svingen and Pedersen, are a Norwegian comedy duo. In this series, they offer readers the zany wit that has captivated those who watch their TV shows.
Converted is set in medieval times, complete with swords, helmets, severed heads, incantations, battles between kingdoms and religions, idol worship and shamans who issue outrageous prescriptions on how to appease the angry gods. For instance, for the new king to prove that he is “larger than life itself and the offspring of gods”, he is required to sacrifice one part of his body. While the king contemplates what part he can do without, he is informed of a P.S. to the commandment: the god, Urgh, “prefers organs of a reproductive nature.” Ugh, Urgh! How does the king handle that demand? You have to read Converted to find out. Video game fanatics and fans of Game of Thrones might enjoy the rather outrageous fantasy world of Converted. It drips with satire and humour, but astute readers will detect the underlying and more serious issues of religion and politics that the writers are also addressing. All in all, a very different kind of story.