This was a very entertaining read. The plays on words and alliteration reminded me of Roald Dahl as in James and the Giant Peach or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The heroine is Jo, a young teen living with her eccentric Aunt Lily in the Ruby Palace in the desert. Jo is an orphan, working as a part time waitress at a crazy coffee shop filled with old people. Her aunt throws outrageous parties, like Auntie Mame on steroids. A mysterious Russian appears at one of the parties. Soon they are escaping in an evil villain in an airplane that seems held together with duct tape and string. They are swallowed by a giant fish (!) and disgorged onto the shores of Eldritch City. From its description, it sounds almost like some of the mountainous places I have visited in Indonesia.The smell of rotting vegetation. The humidity. The crowded marketplaces. The thousands of gods and festivals.
In this fantasy, Jo searches for the truth about her parents and her birth. She finds her aunt is actually a knight of the Order of Odd Fish. Jo becomes her squire. She joins other squires on adventures, trying to escape several villains and her fate as the Icthala. For loathsome villains, search no farther.