Sage Collins's Reviews > Geek Fantasy Novel

Geek Fantasy Novel by E. Archer
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

it was ok
Read from January 29 to February 05, 2012

This book had the perfect premise for me. I mean a geek ends up wished into fantasyland. What's not to like about that for a RPG-playing geek like me?

Well, it turns out, quite a lot.

First of all, here is another book where the part that's advertised is only the first third or so and the rest is totally different. There are reasons why each section of the book is very different than the rest (as the result of different people's wishes landing the MC in different types of fantasy worlds), but the geek ending up in the D&D-like world with the exploding bunnies only happens in one section of the novel. The other sections are a fairytale world, an underworld, narrator intrusions, and the first section, appropriately named "The Boring Part." I admit, I was bored during the boring part. What surprised me was that I was also bored during the D&D-like fantasy world. I got a little more interested in the Snow Queen section, and even more so in the underworld section, but those first two sections dragged on and on.

Something changed during the 3rd section. Sure, the type of fantasy was more interesting. And I found Daphne a more delightful hero than Ralph. But what really starts happening here is that the omniscient narrator starts intruding. So the narration gains voice, and this probably made it a little more engaging. This voice gets more intrusive as the book goes on, and the narrator is a character in the end.

And here we run into one of the book's problems. It feels very much like as the book progressed, the author thought of cool things to add...but never got around to editing the beginning to match. The voicey narrator is non-existent in The Boring Part (but the end of the book would suggest he had to be telling the whole thing), a distant figure in the sky in the first wish, and then all of a sudden is intrusive and argumentative from the 2nd wish on. In the 3rd wish, he suddenly is in love with one of the girls, never having shown any preference for her before (meanwhile, he tells you Ralph has fallen for both girls, even though one is a child?). Things are left unresolved (why is Ralph in color while everyone else is black and white? *shrugs*) or forgotten (Ralph's allergies in the 1st wish were pretty important until they weren't). Characters that shouldn't be affected by the narrator pop up where they have no reason to be. And characters just suddenly act however is most convenient for them to act in the moment.

Speaking of how characters act, here is where my main disappointment in the book was: I never bought Ralph as a geek. Seriously, we are told he's a geek, but he doesn't act geeky. If you stick a gamer (video or tabletop or LARP) in the middle of fantasyland, he's going to geek out on you. He's going to think he knows exactly what to do. He's going to follow the constructs of games he knows. And if he's super-geeky, he's going to think he knows where those games fail to address the "real world," and still think he knows exactly what to do. He's not going to be able to stop thinking about and talking about games he's played (this might be true in the real world too). Only once (and it wasn't the D&D world) did Ralph think, "if I was in a game, I'd press these buttons and get free." I honestly don't even understand the point of calling it a "Geek Fantasy Novel" if the geekiness was non-existent in the fantasy worlds (except that it markets the book to geeks).

So. Recommended for fans of meta-fiction, stories that forget what they're doing, and non-geeks looking for a minor step towards reading about geeky MCs
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