Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

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Have you ever read such a good [fantasy] book that by the end of it you believed in magic…if only a little? Or maybe watched Star Wars, episode 2 and walked away from it feeling that if you only found a Master and practiced your latent Jedi powers would manifest? What about reading one of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels and then find yourself shopping for a trench coat and a skull? Or walking away from an episode of Firefly itching for a sixshooter and a spaceship…?

If so, this is the book for you. Geekomancy is a love song written by a geek for geeks. This book is pure comedy wish fulfillment for the person who wishes that the force really exists.

Ree Reyes is a screenwriter (see “barista”) who suddenly finds herself in a world in which magic exists…and that the geeky TV shows, books, movies and games that she has always loved powered that world.

Ree jumps into this newfound world of magic and danger with both feet…and of course she gets slapped sideways, lol. Ree has does has help, however. Her introduction to “Geekomancy” (the use of magic fueled from the world of Pop Culture) is by Eastwood, a scruffy old Geekomancer who becomes her mentor. She also hooks up with another character that totally stole the show for me, Drake, a Steampunk inventor and adventurer extraordinaire. I ♥ Drake. As you wish. 😉

Ree and Eastwood’s task is simple (on the surface): find out who is causing a string of teenaged virgin suicides and stop them before they kill again. But…as anyone who’s ever read any Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comic books or played any MMORPGs…things are never quite as simple as they seem.

There are a great many geektasic references that a reader may or may not get. This books is hip deep in geek references like D&D, Firefly, BSG, Gaiman, RPGs, MMORPGs, comics, anything Joss Whedon (of course), Doctor Who, Sherlock gets a mention, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Princess Bride (book and movie), Dresden, Steampunk and I even detected a hint of Bleach…. There are a lot of references (too many references?) and I didn’t get all of them. I think it would be almost a drinking game to get them all, lol (*ahem* or maybe a great companion book? If you read this and do it, Underwood, I want acknowledgements! lol) As I haven’t read any Gaiman (shoot me, ok? I own a few…but I’m being very hipster about the whole “Gaiman” thing) I had to look up the Sandman reference (that I caught). I had to look up a couple of things, TBH. But I didn’t feel that it really distracted from the story in any way.

If you didn’t live your childhood with your face planted in a book/video/computer game or you didn’t get most or any of those comments I made in the above paragraph…this may not be the book for you. But…if you want some fun brain candy that doesn’t take itself too seriously AND you have a sense of humor yourself, this is a great book to read! Note: Please keep Wikipedia on hand.

A lot of people have complained about the beginning RPG references…which I ate up with a spoon (I will keel you yet, Diablo!!) but one of my biggest problems was the characterization of Ree. She…was a little too gun-ho and a little too much of a know it all. I get that she’s 23ish and people of that age seem to feel immortal…but she took it to the next level sometimes and I occasionally wanted to slap her. She’s like the protagonist that just blunders into plotlines. Much like the standard orphan hero that finds the “special sword” and instantly becomes a better swordsman than a master…Ree stumbles and bumbles her way into a win over people/entities she should not be able to overcome.

The book dragged a bit starting around 50% but it picked back up again around 65% – 70%. And I had a major issue with the ending. A major issue. A issue so large that I’m not sure how the author plans to redeem this problem in book 2. To avoid spoilers but still giving hints…it’s a serious Bleach type of event. Let’s just say that Ree was Ichigo and entered the Soul Society for a bit. Ugh, I guess. But I have certain plans to read book 2 when it comes out.

I also want to make a point to say that I greatly appreciated this book for one more thing. The complete and TOTAL lack of sex. There’s not a lick of (hehe, I said lick) of sex in this book. Nor is there any smooching or heavy petting. There is no scantily clad, stiletto boot wearing angry UF Chick with a sword marching around. There’s no Romance in this book. Well…there’s a slight hint of geeky love…that you might catch if you get the reference. And the MC is a woman. A regular woman working a regular job who will get her ass fired if she doesn’t show up to work. Sleep is mentioned quite frequently…as in she gets none and wants some with her entire heart.

I had a hard time scoring this one. Its wavering between a 3 and a 4. I’d love for the author to make the book a bit more accessible to the non-geeks and I’d like for him to do a little more work on his female characterization. So, I’m going towards the 4 because I would pick up book 2, Celebromancy tomorrow. If it was available.

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