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Friday, 1 July 2016
Review: The War Against The Assholes
The War Against The Assholes
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Atom!
Mike Wood is a teenager at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan, accustomed to solving problems using brawn rather than brains.
One day, his nerdy classmate Hob Callahan persuades him to read a mysterious old book of unknown authorship, The Calendar of Slights. On the face of things, the book is a guide to performing clever card tricks; but in fact, it is a test for recruiting new members to join a secret cell of radical magicians.
Amazingly, Mike passes with flying colours unlocking not only his potential magic powers - but also the door to New York City's vast and hidden underground network of warlocks, sorcerers and mages.
Here, with Hob as his unlikely guide, Mike's role as a steadfast soldier begins. For there is a war being waged. A war between rivaling factions of magicians that has spanned the ages. A clandestine war against the establishment: a war against The Assholes.
This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me and I've been a little bit hesitant to write this review! The synopsis intrigued me because it sounded original and it sounded fun and I was excited to get started on it, but as I started to read...the book wasn't at all what I was expecting, which was both good and bad!
The magic of the book was really interesting, you have Sorcerers who have schools and stuff who are the bad guys and our guys use card tricks and magic tricks to fight, which I thought was brilliant and would love to have seen more of! I'd love to know what they did to warrant asshole status and start this whole war off! At one point I was kind of reminded of Dave Franco's character in Now You See Me when he throws his cards about and they cut things and stuff. The cast of characters was interesting, I liked Alabama the most, I think, and I was so curious about her, I'd have loved to have gotten to know her better! Mike was what I imagine to be a typical teenage boy, you kind of had to laugh at points! He was very realistic, but hard to relate to for me, or actually like at some points. I didn't get some of what he did at all. It must be a boy thing?
The setting for the book was gritty, a dank, grey, gritty side of New York, and the book itself was quite gritty, along with being humorous at points. The book blends fantasy and reality in an interesting way, and the writing style for some reason reminded me a little bit of A Clockwork Orange? But I think that's just me, because I don't think anyone else has said that! I think it's the sentence structure that did it, although these guys do have some of their own slang words but not to the extent of CO. It just reminded me of it as soon as I started to read! The whole secret underground war they had going on reminded me of Fight Club as well! This book reminded me of a lot of things actually!
I loved how the different slights from the book Hob gave to Mike ran throughout the book, it was a thread weaving all the way through and I enjoyed that part rather a lot. It even tells you how to do them but I am far too clumsy to try to do it! I'd be the worlds worst magician, that's for sure. The book was fairly complex for a short book, a lot happens and goes on in the book and I thought the pacing was good.
Now the reason I was hesitant to review this was because I'd wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did, and I was worried I was the only person who had struggled with this book because I'm too thick to get it or something, but other readers have also had the same problems so it's all good!
The book is very much straight to the point and concise, and I've not read anything quite like it before, which is good. It shows you rather than tells you and I think that worked quite well at certain points in the book, but at other points it didn't. You have to figure things out for yourself as you read and that did leave me a little bit confused at some points, not entirely sure what had just happened and so on. There wasn't much description going on which let the imagination run wild but again...more description would have been useful at some points in the book.
I think the turning point for me was after Mike's weird amnesia bit, the whole bit before was really trippy but kind of cool, but after that with the amnesia I was confused for a few seconds and then I got it, but from that point on things got a bit blurry for me. I didn't have a clear idea of characters motivations and their reasons for their actions, and at some points I actually had no idea what had just gone on, and when I finished the book I felt like I'd missed something at some point. Which was disappointing and it took me longer to read the book than it should have. I mean it was kind of hard to get in to because I was getting used to the writing style, but I was excited to get to the magic and see what it was all about and then I was reading it no problem, but like the last 100 pages or more, I think, took me longer to read because a lot of the time I was very confused.
The War Against The Assholes has its good points, and it has its bad points, but it's definitely original it has to be said, and I feel like the world could be explored more from where things where left off, but I'm not certain there is going to be a sequel! It was definitely an interesting read!