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The War Against the Assholes

2.67  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  48 reviews

Mike Wood is a teenager at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan, accustomed to solving problems using brawn rather than brains.

One day, his nerdy classmate Hob Callahan persuades him to read a mysterious old book of unknown authorship, The Calendar of Slights. On the face of things, the book is a guide to performing clever card tricks; but in fact, it is

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published June 9th 2016 by Atom (first published June 16th 2015)
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2.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  163 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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The world is a bit like The Magicians, but Mike & his friends don't go to the school. Those who do are 'the assholes'. Why? That's the story. I'm still not sure if they really are or are any worse than our side, at any rate. Interesting take on magic - never really explained, but I just know there's a lot more out there. (Get writing, Munson!)

Mike Wood, is a pretty typical teenage boy - a bit of a jock (football only), lazy, constantly horny, touchy. Not an endearing character, but very true
Brenda A
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-con-2015
Couldn't do it. Too choppy. All the sentences didn't make sense. There were too many random changes of scenery without any real explanation, at least at first. And the main character was too much like Holden Caulfield with his sarcasm and testosterone.

Seriously though, it was just a little too weird for me. The structure of the book was just so short and abrupt and annoying, and I had way too hard of a time looking past it to the story underneath. And it was just a gimmick--because when I read
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

"We're in a war against the assholes" said Hob
"Makes sense," I said, "nobody likes assholes."

*Character comes back from the dead with these words:
"Abracadabra, bitches"

Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, american, in-2016, ya
I have no idea what the fuck I just read tbh.
Jennifer Wheeler
What the heck did I just read??? This book was really, REALLY strange to say the least. I’m honestly unsure whether I even understood the plot line or not. Having said that, the writing is intriguing - once you get past the “stream-of-consciousness” style. I did kind of enjoy it, even though it left me feeling confused & muddle-headed. I kept falling asleep while trying my darnedest to pay attention to what was going on - which is why it took me so long to finish.
My Summary: Mike has grown up in New York City knowing that he's nothing special. Sure, he has broad shoulders and can hold his own, but that doesn't really mean much in a place where everyone is twenty different types of talented. Especially not at his school, where there are hundreds of other guys just like him - all destined to grow up to be completely mediocre.

But that's before Mike is pulled into a shady club of sorts by a fellow classmate, and everything he thought he knew is proved false.
This was an interesting book that started off really strong and promising. The character development really drew me in, as did the syntax and plot. Each character is very independent, though only a few really become 'three dimensional'. I will definitely say that you will not be able to entirely predict the ending, however in this case I don't see that as a good thing. I'm torn between saying the book had a very clever ending, or a very poorly written one. I'm not entirely clear what the author ...more
I've had a long-held belief that many editors and publishers are afraid to admit when they don't understand something. When the form of a written work is off just enough that it appears to be done on purpose and not because the author doesn't know how to write, then it must be 'new' and 'innovative' and even though it's hard to follow and doesn't make sense, it must be publish-worthy because it's bucking a trend. Sorry. Sometimes it's just crap.

I'm really, really curious as to how this novel got
Amelia Street
So, I didn't make a book review for this as soon as I finished it, mainly because I couldn't put my thoughts into words, and also because I was quite relieved to have finally finished. The War Against the Assholes started out well, I loved the idea of the underground magic card trick society/war thing, and Sam Munson's choppy writing style was something I hadn't read before, and it gave a good insight into Mike's personality. However, on the topic of Mike, at times he was a bit too real for me. ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some books are magical, sweeping the reader into a fantastic universe of their own making.

At the other end of the scale is Sam Munson's The War Against the Assholes. Like Uprooted, it's the story of a teen thrust into the midst of a magical conflict; unlike Novik, Munson's writing style is, er, an acquired taste. A teenage boy, Mike Wood, is picked by a secret society of magicians to fight the good fight against the IlluminatiAssholes (you know, the cabal the orchestrates world events).

I ran out
Els (Tragic Romantic)
I hate putting books on the DNF shelf, because if I dislike something I like to be able to give it a chance for redemption because there are books that improve towards the end, or I want to be able to pinpoint what it is that I'm disliking about it, but for this book I had the same response as most of the others who have given it low star reviews.

I was intrigued by the premise, and the title, but there was nothing in the characters for me to be anything but apathetic about them and the sentence
Line Lehtonen
Nov 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF'ed about a 100 pages in.

This is basically The Catcher in the Rye with magic and a writing style I do not appreciate - I was particularly frustrated with the dialogue. I hated Catcher in the Rye, so me not liking this one makes sense.
The main character was almost as annoying as Holden (quite a feat in itself) and 'asshole' turns out to be a lame nickname for the opponents rather than a clever spin on something.

I was so excited going into this, but man.. I just can't go through with it. I'm
Aug 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I DNF'd this book half way through as I felt the writing style was too choppy and the premise didn't really hold my interest. I usually don't DNF books but I didn't really care to find out the ending. Also due to the writing style it was confusing and sometimes I was unsure of what was happening.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Aidan Robins
This book was hard to read. The conversations were laid out in a weird way.
{LaughingManiacally  ∆ ShootingLasers}
It almost seems like Sam Munson and Lev Grossman had a similar story to tell, and this probably should have been a decent book.

The details are both pretentious and graphic in a TMI gross-dude-stuff kind of way.

But this book is more aimless and the world building is less defined. Honestly, it almost seems like the first-person narration would make for an easier read than The Magicians was. Not so, apparently. Because the author failed to pull the protagonist into a plotline soon enough, the lul
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Magicians meets The Yiddish Policeman's Union, but less than either.
Alisha Tarran
This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me and I've been a little bit hesitant to write this review! The synopsis intrigued me because it sounded original and it sounded fun and I was excited to get started on it, but as I started to read...the book wasn't at all what I was expecting, which was both good and bad!

The magic of the book was really interesting, you have Sorcerers who have schools and stuff who are the bad guys and our guys use card tricks and magic tricks to fight, which I thought w
Nov 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so I picked up this book and expected a fairly new, and original idea. This book however carries on with the ‘fight back against the evil!’ trope, and I grew tired of this fairly quickly. I don’t ever really put down a book, because all books deserve a chance to prove themselves, but this was painful to finish. The writing style just confuses and is unnecessary to the story, I think I may have actually been able to enjoy it if it was written in a more traditional way.
Simon Ellberger
"The War Against the Assholes" is an urban fantasy story set primarily in New York City. It is a book about class war amongst magicians. The quality of the prose is high; the writing is stylistically and structurally odd. The author tells the story from a first person perspective. And he writes. In this style. Breaking sentences. Into sentence fragments. He uses: colons. Abruptly.

Okay, I'll stop doing that. Actually, I liked this quirky approach. I thought it was a brilliant way to capture the
Douglas Lord
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though the title hints that this might be a tool to use when conversing with members of opposing political factions at barbecues, it’s actually an imaginative, choppily constructed fantasy/mystery that begins in a Manhattan private school. First-person narrator Mike Wood is a senior at St. Cyprian’s. Blunt enough to admit that he’s sort of a goon, Mike is also wise enough to acknowledge the rarefied world in which he lives: “my grades had never risen out of their initial mediocrity. For which my ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
{My Thoughts} – I have read about halfway through this book and am still having problems with the structure in which it is written. I don’t know how to get past all the short snipped sentences. I don’t know how to get use to the lack of appropriate punctuation and the fact that the book is simply lacking in other ways I just cannot seem to fathom at this point.

Based on what I have read is that Mike is the main character and he gets into a scuffle that leaves one of the schools bully’s rather bea
Jun 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
***Original review posted here

Okay, so let me start this by saying I could not finish this book. And I usually finish books. Once I start, I stick through it to make a fair judgement call on the whole book. I just could not make it to the end of The War Against The Assholes.
The premise was different but fun. Fantasy and true crime? Not usually my genre of choice, but let's be honest, the title is enough to want to dive right into this one. Who wouldn't want to wage a war against the assholes ou
Purnacandra Sivarupa
Here's a manifesto-in-fiction of the forest rebel, Ernst Junger's self-isolated crier-in-the-wilderness. Dark, depressing, terribly real, but somehow never bitter. This is Harry Potter for grown-ups: young magicians against incredible odds. But realistic: no "chosen one" BS because nobody's special, 'Hogwarts' is an Otherworld wonderland of magical education—but only for the wealthy and privileged. There's no great evil, and no secret society of good guys. Just a world ruled by rich elites with ...more
I liked the concept of this book. I liked the descriptions, the inner voice of the main character. I just wish I knew what the hell was going on in it. To me it reads as if the author had an extremely short attention span or was hoping the reader had. Descriptions of scenes involving the characters would just change to completely different scenes with out any rhyme or reason. It's almost as if the author wrote a paragraph, got distracted and then came back many hours later, having forgot what he ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you are an adult with a high vocabulary and don't mind reading teen fiction, then maybe you'll like this book.

Much his first novel, Munson chooses a precocious and under achieving high school student as his narrator and main character, which ends up somewhat alienating the reader from really bonding to the protagonist. A lot of the plot is driven by the mind of a young teenager and the lust and anger he feels toward others. Although the protagonist is said to be not terribly bright, he makes
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story is Catcher in the Rye infused with magic. Mike Wood knows he isn’t anything special, but after a fellow classmate shows him a book called The Calendar of Sleights, he is drawn in to a class war between two rival factions of magicians.

But this book is not for everyone. The blend of constant short sentences and long paragraphs leave the reader dropped in a unique style of prose. Unfortunately, it does not work for every reader.

It is fully the owner’s tale in his unique voice filled with
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book but it's missing something. I'm not exactly sure what though. The author left it to the reader to figure out what he was talking about. Which is fine in moderation but he didn't use moderation at all. The book was definitely hard to follow in certain parts.
Also, and this annoyed me to know end, he overused. Periods. Everything. Was followed. By a period.
Additionally, questions deserve to be followed by question marks.

This story was interesting and quite original; a plus. Howe
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