Let me just get this out in the open with the first sentence: I love all of Vaughn's work. So it was without doubt I knew I'd love this.
It centers around a group of paper delivery girls in 1988 on Halloween. Maybe its the fact that its retro, or the fact that the illustrator chose a purple-pink color scheme for most of the book, but this book starts off reading different than his other work - and I loved it! The group stumble upon an alien artifact in the basement after one of their walkie-talkies get stolen. They later discover that their world isn't quite what it had seemed to be, what with the giant dinosaur birds flying around, and the zombie type people trying to kidnap them. Oh, and there's also these He-Man like warriors that speak a weird language trying to kill them.
In typical Vaughn fashion, I have no idea what's going on and I couldn't stop reading. He's able to take many random, weird concepts and force them together beautifully. If you've read Saga or Y: The Last Man, you'll instantly fall in love, and be clueless as to the direction of the story. But regardless, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Have you ever sat down for dinner at a fancy restaurant and been so excited to eat the meal? Then the appetizer comes out and its cold, undercooked, and gross? Then the drinks are a bit too strong, the entree is overpriced and forgettable, and the dessert tastes like it came from a box? But then have you ever sat back and recalled that dinner and thought, "You know what, that was a pretty decent meal"?
No. Of course you haven't.
Because when every aspect of something sucks, generally the whole thing sucks. So when the characters are idiots and as flat as cardboard, and the plot is absurdly sophmoric, and the writing is just plain bad, the book stinks. (And while I'm on my soapbox, why is half of the book italicized for no apparent reason? Was the editor on vacation?)
I just feel at this point James Patterson has quit caring. I can envision him sitting at his desk just stamping his name on whatever horrific manuscript comes across and cashing in the checks. (Though to defend him, he is truly a generous and altruistic gentleman).
The story revolves around robots that humans built (Hu-bots) that kill all of mankind except for a small population in a reserve. Sprinkle in teenagers stealing a car for no reason, a pissed off uncle, robots with the intelligence of a field mouse, and a twist that never twists, and BOOM! you've got this novel.
Hated it from page one.
Patterson has written some good stuff in the past - this just isn't one of his best. Maybe it is his worst.
DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Growing up in the late 1990s/early 2000s, Magic the Gathering was a pivotal part of my adolescent years. I can vividly remember purchasing our cards from the local video rental store and walking back to my father's shop, rapidly opening the packs to see what creatures we could add to our decks in the never-ending quest to become the ultimate player.
I jumped in right at the time where Ice Age was coming out and played for many years, eventually outgrowing the game around the time my junior year of high school began. However, I never really outgrew Magic. It more or less was an evolution of interests, but the game that I picked up randomly here and there years later, never truly left my heart.
When I began reading Generation Decks, I was instantly transported back to the world where creatures are cast by mana and opposing forces must be stopped. Chalk does a phenomenal job at rekindling the fire that once blazed in my heart for this game. So much so, I actually went out and purchased two decks after I finished the book, and started to jump back in.
Chalk writes this book two different ways. In one, we as the reader are invited to journey with him on his story of how Magic came into his life and despite many moves and life changes, the game still holds true to him. In another, we are told the story of how Magic first came to be, and the multitude of times it almost ceased to exist. From the early stories of Wizards of the Coast to the acquisition by Hasbro, this book has it all.
If you have ever played the game or if you still do, this book is for you. Written in a style that invokes dreams of grandeur in the reader, this book really showcases the mass appeal of the game, elaborating on its history including the tournaments and the various expansions that have come out since. Chalk knows the story he is trying to tell and delivers it like a master storyteller, completely enrapturing the reader's mind and attention.
My only critique of this otherwise beautiful, near flawless book, is that I would have loved to have seen an appendix that describes each expansion set, why it was created, the back story behind the expansion set theme, and the card highlights in that set. Perhaps, this can be added at a later date. But don't let that minor criticism distract you, this book is downright good. It is a solid, captivating story of how we all can become master Planeswalkers, with just a little bit of luck, and the right amount of mana.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.