Jake Stoddard

That’s right! Zombie bankers! … Which is more terrifying: their eternal hunger for the flesh of the living? Or their reckless fiscal irresponsibility? —⁠The Flaming Skull

In a previous blog post, I reviewed J. Zachary Pike’s first book, a hilarious fantasy adventure called Orconomics.

After reading his second book, Son of a Liche, I pose the question, does it delight as much as his first?

Unfolding the Story

On the run from the law and searching for an elusive tribe of orcs, Gorm Ingerson and his party learn that Jynn’s liche father is returning with an army of undead. The Hero’s Guild is too obsessed with profits to do what’s necessary to defeat the threat, so the party must deal with it themselves.

If they could only work together.

Secrets weaken their trust and threaten to crumble the party from within. They’re hopelessly outmatched. And the several assassins hired to make them disappear aren’t helping, either.

There is not always a light at the end of the tunnel. That is why you must carry a torch. —⁠Niln

During their adventures:

  • The party takes on a magical heist
  • Our favorite troll scares citizens while having tea
  • The orcs divide on whether to be aggressive warriors or aggressive sellers
  • And of course, the undead engage in a marketing campaign

In the epilogue, we see a fun twist on Schrödinger’s cat.

Exploring the Characters

Pike delves deeper into the characters I enjoyed in the first book. Some, whom I thought I knew well, I got to know better. And some, whom Pike barely touched on in the first book, get some limelight.

My favorite character developments in Son of a Liche involve:

  • Jynn
  • Gaist
  • Heraldin
  • Poldo

Even the priest of Mordo Ogg gets his fifteen minutes of fame.

I enjoyed the new characters as well, especially Knight-Commander Ur’Thos. He comes into the story like any other bit character, and I expected him to disappear soon after meeting him. But his continued role in the story became a delightful surprise.

Also, we meet Benny Hookhand—only mentioned by name in the first book. He’s a cool villain and not what you’d expect!

Examining the Themes

Son of a Liche explores various themes, like:

  • Living under society’s prejudices
  • Standing up for the downtrodden
  • Coming back from failure
  • Breaking and restoring trust
  • The hazards of unregulated capitalism

A weak mind is a malleable one. Once it is convinced it has been lied to, it begins to lie to itself. Once persuaded that it is hated, it becomes hateful. Once made to fear violence, it becomes violent.

Son of a Liche continues the satire established by Orconomics, and as before, Pike doesn’t try to strong-arm you into agreeing with him. He just gives you a fun read. The morals of the story are there for you to do with as you please.


Interestingly, Pike went with the less common spelling of liche, rather than lich. Detarr Ur’Mayan doesn’t strike me as French or Spanish. Perhaps Pike was influenced more by Warhammer than Dungeons and Dragons.

Fun dialog proves to be one of Pike’s strengths. I especially enjoyed Ned and Ted’s earnest debates over minutiae, particularly when discussing the different types of undead. The party’s banters in the heat of battle were similarly entertaining.

Pike continues to delight with his digressions from the show don’t tell rule, though he follows the adage more here than in Orconomics.

Does Son of a Liche Measure Up?

Orconomics set a high bar for fun and adventure, and Son of a Liche met it. I wouldn’t say it surpassed the bar, but it certainly didn’t fall short. Son of a Liche gives us the same great ride its predecessor did.

It measures up nicely.

Will You Like It?

If you liked Orconomics, you’ll like Son of a Liche.

If you loved Orconomics, you’ll love Son of a Liche.

If you hated Orconomics… maybe reread Our Town instead.

This book is for you if you:

  • Like epic fantasy
  • Enjoy a generous mix of humor and adventure
  • Read and liked Orconomics

If that sounds good to you, check out Son of a Liche →