A Chapter by Chapter Reading Experience
One: Hmm. Not into serial killer chasing inept 20 year-old woman, even/esp. set up as ‘humor.’
Two: Okay, made me laugh with the spatula joke.
Three: I don’t believe a woman who would own a Persian cat would call him ‘Stench Machine.’
Five, six, and eight: The description of the ‘Blink’ nails social media as a ‘reality experience.’ Very lightly veiled social commentary but sadly on point.
So far: The protagonist is incompetent.
Ten: And dumb.
Thirteen: Histrionics over. Plot time.
Fourteen: I don’t believe a woman is this interested in talking toilets.
Fifteen: Laughed at the Elvis joke.
Nineteen: I appreciate the economic dichotomy between trailer park and mansion, but really, consider socioeconomic message received.
Seventeen: Characterization changes every few chapters.
Twenty: This is interesting.
Twenty-four: Why do we have a whole chapter about Zoey getting fitted for a funeral suit?
Thirty-three: WTH? No fair re: mom.
Thirty-five: gotta wrap this up so I can sleep tonight.
Thirty-nine: Are we done yet?
End: Sigh. Zoey obviously ‘cool chick’ material because her idea of fun is six hours of basketball playoffs.
Afterthought: I wondered why Wong chose to write a female lead character when he isn’t very good at it. But then I realized it was needful for the victim role.
Summary: you could go either way on this. I can’t, though originally, I was thinking Hitchhiker’s Guide-level-smart until it lost momentum. Flat characterization (villain was Straight Outta The Incredibles) and fundamentally sexist characters/ization (Zoey is ‘a blob’ whose actions consist of being oppositional; there are literally only three women in the entire book (view spoiler) and we know what all of their boobs look like; torturing women is part of the ongoing threat) made it drag whenever the action stopped. Large sections of telling, mostly, telling Zoe, although occasionally she gets to tell others. On the redeeming side, there is a solid underlying message, nice bits of humor, less juvenile than John Dies at the End, and initial unpredictability keep it readable. Reminds me a lot of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, which I liked much better.
Two and a half Stenches, rounding down because I’m still kind of irked about Wong being such a dude about Zoey.
Note: Leading contender for 2018’s Year in Review, Category: “Best example of Dick-lit Even Though the Main Character is a Woman.”