Monthly Archives: September 2018

Review of The Wrong Dead Guy (Another Coop Heist #2), by Richard Kadrey

I borrowed an audio copy of The Wrong Dead Guy, by Richard Kadrey, through Hoopla. I chose it because I also happen to have a physical copy of it sitting on my shelf. I figured, if I wasn’t going to get round to reading it anytime soon, I might as well listen to it. Two birds, one stone and all that.

Description from Goodreads:
In this fast paced sequel to The Everything Box—the second entry in Richard Kadrey’s comedic supernatural series—chaos ensues when Coop and the team at DOPS steal a not- quite-dead and very lovesick ancient Egyptian mummy wielding some terrifying magic

Coop, a master thief sort of gone legit, saved the world from an ancient doomsday device—heroism that earned him a gig working for the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome top secret government agency that polices the odd and strange. Now Woolrich, Coop’s boss at the DOPS, has Coop breaking into a traveling antiquities show to steal a sarcophagus containing the mummy of a powerful Egyptian wizard named Harkhuf. With the help of his pals Morty, Giselle, and a professor that’s half-cat, half-robotic octopus, Coop pulls off the heist without a hitch.

It’s not Coop’s fault that when DOPS opened the sarcophagus they didn’t find the mummy they were expecting. Well, it was the right mummy, but it wasn’t exactly dead—and now it’s escaped, using a type of magic the organization hasn’t encountered before. Being a boss, Woolrich blames his underling for the screw up and wants Coop to find the missing Harkhuf and make it right, pronto.

Digging into Harkhuf’s history, Coop thinks the mummy is hunting for an ancient magical manuscript that will help him bring his old lover back to life.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t a warrior sorceress hell-bent on conquering the world with her undead armies.

Coop would very much like to run from the oncoming chaos. It’s one thing to steal a mummy, but another to have to deal with head-hunting bureaucrats, down-on-their luck fortune tellers, undead mailroom clerks, and a rather unimpressed elephant. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to run. If he wants the madness to stop, he’s going to have to suck it up and play hero one more time. But if Coop manages to save the world AGAIN, he’s definitely going to want a lot of answers. And a raise.

I thought this was ok. It was funny (as it was meant to be), but it felt like it went overboard into slapstick, almost stupid-funny. And stupid-funny isn’t really my cup of tea.

Also, I didn’t realize was a sequel when I picked the book up. I was able to follow it just fine—it basically stands alone—with the exception of any sort of character introductions. Maybe I’d have been more invested in them if I hadn’t had to figure out things like Jizelle being Coop’s girlfriend on my own. But honestly probably not. They were too busy being pithy to be relatable.

All in all, I’d call this a middle of the road read for me. I liked it well enough, but didn’t love it. Oliver Wyman did a fine job with the narration though.

Review of The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark

I received a copy of P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Instead, she wants to soar, and her sights are set on securing passage aboard the smuggler airship Midnight Robber. Her ticket: earning Captain Ann-Marie’s trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper keeps another secret close to heart–Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who speaks inside her head and grants her divine powers. And Oya has her own priorities concerning Creeper and Ann-Marie…

Man, has put out some stellar novellas lately! (And those covers, so pretty.) This was short, true, but it packed a mighty punch. The language, world-building and characters grip you and it managed a full story in 110 pages. I do generally prefer longer works and I think this would have lent itself to being longer. (Though I realize Tor specializes for shorter works.) All in all, two big thumbs up from me. I’ll be looking for more of Clark’s writing.

Review of A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1), by Alyssa Cole

I borrowed a copy of A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole, from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

I liked it as much as I ever like any Contemporary Romance, considering I usually dislike the genre in general. (I almost always find them boring across the board.) I liked aspects of the book: the consciously aware heroine of color, representations of challenges specific to a heroine in a less privileged social position that are often overlooked, a hero who wasn’t an alpha-asshole, his insistence on consent, that sex focused on her pleasure instead of his, that she was allowed to be sexually active and wasn’t shamed, that she had a backbone when it mattered, etc. But I also found it repetitive, predictable and (yes boring).

I chose to read it because it has tons of good reviews and because I want to support books written by and about marginalized peoples. (Which makes my less than enthusiastic response to it a bummer.) I think this book earned it’s accolades and I think those who like CR will love this. I went out on a branch and found a good story and representation, but all of it still wrapped in a manner I don’t particularly enjoy. (The addition of dragons or hyper drives or vampires might have made it a winner for me.) All in all, CR readers should definitely read this. Those who don’t gravitate toward the genre, like me, might finish feeling luke-warm, appreciating it, but not necessarily enjoying it.