July 23, 2017

Edward Aubry: "Static Mayhem" (ARC Review)

Title: Static Mayhem [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Mayhem Wave (2nd of 5 books)
Author: Edward Aubry [Facebook | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Year: 2017
Age: 14+ (note: Book 1 was marketed as a YA/NA crossover. This one sounds more adult to me - especially because it lacks Dorothy's POV - but like the first installment, I would say that it covers all the spectrum from teen to adult).
Stars: 4/5
Pros: As in Book 1, quirky and audacious blend of post-apocalypse, technology and magic. Characters who are easy to empathise with.
Cons: The blend I mentioned might not work for everyone - and it's even more audacious here than in the first installment. Some of the many twists may sound confusing. A relationship from Book 1 threatens to take a strange and unsettling turn.
WARNING! There's talk of sex and a few F-bombs.
Will appeal to: Those who are looking for a fresh approach to post-apocalypse.

Blurb: A year after the world was thrown into magical chaos, Harrison Cody takes part in an expedition to learn the cause. What his team finds is an unfathomable enemy, who intends to finish what was started and wipe out every remaining survivor. Harrison is the key to stopping it, but doing so will come with an unbelievable sacrifice, one he might not be willing to make. (Goodreads)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I have been talking to the author on a few occasions since reviewing his previous titles, Unhappenings and Prelude to Mayhem - which I also rated 4 stars. Moreover, I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased.
Note: an earlier version of Static Mayhem was released back in 2010. If you are curious about the whole story (which is also inspiring for every struggling writer out there who despairs of ever being published), you can read my interview with the author.

RAISING THE STAKES

The first installment in this series, Prelude to Mayhem, was a quirky post-apocalyptic novel full of unknown, often ghastly dangers lurking around, but I can see now that the title was indeed appropriate - that was only the start of a nightmare. In your typical post-catastrophe scenario, the main focus (often the only one) is survival and the rebuilding of a new world, while trying to make sense of the shift and adjusting (or not) to its rules (or lack thereof). In Static Mayhem, our characters not only explore a broken and upside-down world, but try to find a way to save what's left of it AND even to bring back what they can (if the can) of the old reality. All in an environment where magic and technology are mutually exclusive, except for a single instance. It's imaginative, though it probably requires more suspension of disbelief than your average fantasy or sci-fi novel, precisely because the two worlds are coexistent - if opposite - here. I'm usually not a great fan of fantasy creatures, but for some reason, Glimmer - the last pixie - and even a couple of famous mythical creatures whose names I won't spoil seem at home in this series. I think it's seeing them through Harrison's eyes that makes all the difference - he's sympathetic, warm-hearted and open-minded...among other good things πŸ˜‰. [...]

WOMEN'S APPRECIATION

The more power and knowledge our heroes collect, the more threats they encounter. And I say "heroes" because, while Harrison is still the fulcrum of the action, he's now surrounded by a cast of characters in his quest to restore the world - or at least stop its final demise. While I won't say that each one of Harrison's new and old companions leaves a huge mark, a few of them are given enough heart (not to mention screen time) to stay with the readers long after the last page has been turned. Go figure, they're all women (one of them being our beloved pixie from Book 1). Kudos to you, Mr. Aubry, for giving a satisfactory spotlight to our sex even in a male-lead novel context πŸ˜‰.

ORDINARY HERO

For a number of reasons, Harrison slowly becomes the expedition member everyone looks up to, but in doing so, he retains his innocence and honesty. Even when contemplating sacrifice or putting himself on the line, his quiet, unassuming bravery will warm your heart. Also, there's a blossoming romance between him and a female member of his team, which is refreshing since Harrison is the virgin here. And speaking of relationships - Glimmer puts him on the spot for a while, and I wasn't comfortable with that turn of the events for more than one reason, the main of them being, let's say...practical? So I was glad when their relationship was rebuilt, and I went back to appreciate all the nuances of this quirky, but still moving bond...

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

As with the first installment, Static Mayhem leaves enough threads hanging while avoiding the infamous cliffhanger technique. The story is self contained, even more so than Book 1, and though it ends on a bittersweet tone, it's still embued with hope and anticipation. If I have an issue with this novel, it's that events pile up in a way that might sometimes leave you confused, while at the same time I won't say that things are rushed - quite the contrary at some points. This might not be a bad thing though, since it probably calls for a re-read even if you're usually not the type of person who reads the same book twice. All in all, a satisfactory continuation of the Mayhem Wave series...though it takes no prisoners, at least in one case. But the best stories often need to be a little cruel for the right reasons πŸ˜‰. This is one of those stories.

For my "Prelude to Mayhem" review (first installment in the series) click here.
For my review of Edward Aubry's book "Unhappennings" click here.
For my interview with Edward Aubry click here.
For more books that defy categories click here.
Liked this book? You might also be interested in B.C. Johnson: "Riven" (previously titled "The Bad Rescue of Devon Streeter"); E.S. Wesley: "The Outs".

2 comments:

  1. I'm trying to branch out with my reading a bit, now that I've (kind of) caught up on review reads.

    This has two elements that I don't usually read - sci-fi & fantasy so I'm adding it to the TBR list.

    For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You noticed that it's a 5 book series, right? ;) But it might be your cup of tea. This installment has even a bit of romance in it! :)

      Delete

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