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3.26  ·  Rating details ·  862 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Reed King’s amazingly audacious novel is something of a cross between L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Douglas Adams’s A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One.

In Reed King’s wildly imaginative and possibly prescient debut, the United States has dissolved in the wake of environmental disasters and the catastrophic
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Flatiron Books
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Average rating 3.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  862 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, 2019
Had it not been for the free ARC I received from NetGalley, I would most likely not have finished this book. The overall story arc was a typical quest story. But the incessant use of lingo from the dystopian future was too much. And while the footnotes, which I generally like in a book, were so intrusive in the story, I found that I lost track of the plot while trying to figure out what the background info was. There were also many times where the end of one chapter didn't coincide enough with t ...more
FKA stands for "Formerly Known As." Sort of like AKA is "also known as." This novel presents a post-dissolution view of North America after wars, famine, etc., split the country up into different entities ranging from the corporate entities like Crunch to the Free State of Texas. It's now in the 2070's a divided country with borders, different currencies, etc. Crunch is a corporate run country on former Arkansas land, producing artificial chemical foods by workers living in hopeless shantytowns ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m always up for a dystopia, but had I been aware of this one’s voluminous page count, not sure I would have read it. Conciseness…I’m a huge fan of conciseness, precision, succinctness, just a basic ability to tell a story in, say, 300 pages. 400 if you must. Going close to 500 is seldom justified (and often just self indulgent), unless you’re Tolstoy or similar. But this novel does have a lot to say for all its verbosity. In the near future (end of 2100s) the country Formerly Known As USA is n ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I saw this book a number of times before I realized that my friend Audra @ouija.doodle.reads was reading it. She said it had footnotes and was hilarious and I immediately knew this was one that I needed to read. Then I read the synopsis on the inside cover and it said it was a cross between THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY and THE ROAD. At that point I was giddy. I couldn't wait to read this book.

Something else that really drew me in was that the endpapers have a hand drawn map of what the ar
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
In this dystopia, the USA has been split up into several territories based on how they viewed android rights and the religious implications. Our MC, Truckee Wallace, is just a kid and is given a huge task by the President of his territory - take a talking goat across the continent. Truckee soon finds himself (and thus the goat) hunted by nearly everyone, yet he makes his way toward the west coast. Along the way, he reads from a grifter's guide to the continent.

This book had a 15 week wait at th
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, 2019
Review to follow... This was the literary equivalent of a Michael Bay movie. Directed by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Sydney Smith
Thank you to Flatiron Books for the ARC!

“How would you like to save the world, son?”

FKA USA is a wild ride.

If you’re tired of reading the same old formulaic dystopian novel, this is the book for you. There are some tropes, such as the evil government/corporations stuff, but it's done in a way that feels fresh. In my opinion, this is definitely a unique take on a dystopian sci-fi adventure story that involves some odd and fun characters and an odd and funny mission (which I'll summarize more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was imaginative, but I couldn’t stand the writing style. I was not in tune with its language and rhythm and I couldn’t get into the whole “talking goat” thing. Most of the time I was just confused by its meandering. I made it to the 27% point and conceded defeat. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Roger Bailey
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
There is no doubt Reed King went all out in this novel. He has an epic world with crazy characters. The writing is good, the humor is sly. For me however this book didn't work. Too many sci-fi cliches; dystopian world ran by corporation-government hybrids, a mission of travel that hits bumps along the way, etc.

King shows promise and I would read again, but this one felt like someone who wanted to show everything they got in their debut and ended up throwing in the kitchen sink.

I received an
Claire Draper
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reed King is an amazing writer. And though I wonder who this bestselling author is writing under the pseudonym Reed King, I think they did an amazing job. This world is immersive and the writing is crazy good. Can't wait for more from this author. And who doesn't love a book with a talking goat that's kind of a weirdo? It's such a great read, and it's easy to see why booksellers are loving this book. Oh and the twists and turns are amazing! So unexpected.
Tonstant Weader
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book reviews that I struggle with the most are for those books that I fall in love with. I want to say “Trust me, just read it.” FKA USA by Reed King is one of those books. Trust me, just read it.

The title FKA USA is for Formerly Known As, though every time I saw it on the cover or the spine, my mind saw Effing-A USA. Am I wrong? When you read this, as you must, you will see there are reasons why it should be that.

Imagine The Wizard of Oz in 2085 when the United States has fractured into war
Laura Denton
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
I got an electronic version of this book through NetGalley. I was enticed by the publisher's blurb and do, generally, enjoy dystopian novels, sarcasm and intrigue, but I just could not tolerate the premise of the story or the writing. I managed to get through about 15 pages and gave up. Then, I felt like I should give it a second chance, but - sorry - no. It is rare that I have this kind of reaction. This was one of the few times that I've taken this advice from my mother (an English Lit major a ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, dystopia
FKA USA is compared to "L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Douglas Adams’s A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One" and I think my expectations were just way too high. I could definitely see the similarities to Ready Player One though. I listened to the audiobook and that definitely helped the reading experience because the production was a lot of fun.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’d describe this book as The Hitchhiker’s Guide crossed with a futuristic homage to The Wizard of Oz set at the end of the world. With a talking goat.

I loved this book. It is definitely one of the unique books I’ve read this year. The world that King has created is so fully realized and he shares with readers every piece of the journey, from interesting tidbits that just make the world come alive to necessary historical background that ties everything together.

The framing of the book is more c
Ayla van Hissenhoven
Apr 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was honestly so poorly written I had to force myself to read it. The concept is good enough but the usage of foot notes and appendices on every single page is disruptive to the flow and is akin to reading a textbook. The constant use of “could of” is annoying, but “could have” is written at least once, suggesting Reed King either doesn’t know proper English or just doesn’t care enough to fix it. Either way it too disrupts the flow of reading. The book is also filled with numerous creep ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like it, and I didn’t hate it, but almost halfway through I still simply didn’t care. Reed has created a disturbing post apocalyptic America which isn’t terribly far fetched, but each chapter feels like an excuse to explore more of the degradation of society than to move the story along. I honestly can’t give a solid reason why this didn’t work for me, but each time I picked the book up I was doing so as a chore, not enjoyably. Perhaps it’s just me. Might be worth a second try anothe ...more
Kim Lockhart
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are mostly good points and just a few minor annoyances about this novel.

First, the good:

How could I not love a story where enemies are embodied in the pantsuited members of HR? 

Also, this book addresses something I rarely see in dystopian fiction: the unique role of teenagers. It's spot-on to imagine teens employing the twin coping strategies of risk-taking and dark humor, in an otherwise unforgiving stale landscape with an unpalatable future.

Reed King is a pseudonym, so we cannot be entir
Christopher Berry
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This was just ok. Definitely could have been paired down a bit. I thought that the annotations did not add to the book at all. It was really out there, and that is ok. The writing did remind me of a junior high, high school level. Not bad overall, but not something I would recommend!
Paula Lyle
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This is just a big old mess of a novel, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It just bursts with ideas, many of them silly beyond belief. Like many stories set in the future, it takes a while to actually make sense of the terms and acronyms flung around. If you don't take that too seriously I think it helps. It is also longer than it has any right to be. That would be OK if there was a point to the length, but the ending is pretty abrupt and doesn't really finalize the story. Still, this is fun ...more
John Lamb
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can understand why this book wouldn't please many people: it's packed full to the brim with so much lore and references to a fictional universe that it could become tedious. But I found the book a fun ride and the little references weren't tedious to me but fun Easter eggs of imagination.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: apocalyptic
Immerse yourself in a fully imagined American shitstorm taking place some time during or after the 2080s.  Follow Truckee on a morbid journey with talking goat Barnaby, an android that is one of his 2.5 friends, and a lobotomized ex-con named Tiny Tim -- the crew charged with saving what is left of America. What a ride it is.  Almost everything that could go wrong with America has, except for really excellent tech. The writer has a juvenile, raunchy way of writing at times, which could be attrib ...more
3.5 stars

This is one of the most unique apocalyptic takes on our future world that I have ever read. King has definitely done a lot of research and planning in organizing the fate of various countries, religions and groups. Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much information is thrown at the reader (what with the long footnotes that gave miscellaneous background information and the history lessons interwoven in Truckee’s narrative). It makes the book feel like a historical tour guide acro
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Truckee Wallace is a peon living and working in Crunchtown 407 in Crunch United Colonies, an independent corporation/nation in the territories formerly known as the United States. It’s the 2080s. The former US has suffered a variety of environmental catastrophes and total political collapse. Alaska and big chunks of California have fallen into the ocean. Life is bleak. Like most ordinary people, Truckee is viewed as expendable by the CEO types who now run everything. But when Truckee heroically ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 2085, the United States is no longer. Instead it is quite divided for a variety of geographical, economic, and political reasons and not all of them are good ones. In a futuristic and tech heavy world, Truckee Wallace is as close to a nobody as you can get. Then, his whole world get turned upside down as he is "asked" by the President to trek cross continent in an effort to save humanity as he knows it.

So, since he basically has no other choice, Truckee begins his mission. He is joined by an
InBooksILive Reviews
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
I really don't know what more I can say about this book than to say that I absolutely loved it. Every single crazy, what the hell is going on right now chapter!

Truckee Wallace is my damn hero. He is a smart mouthed, completely dumb but smart at the same time kind of character and I adore him.

Tiny Tim.. oh Tiny Tim.. I can't even say what I want about him cause I'd spoil the ending. He's special, let's say. I highly enjoyed him.

Barnaby the talking goat. Exactly how I would expect a talking goat
Feb 01, 2019 marked it as to-read
FKA USA is a dystopian fiction novel. In the formerly known as United States, government corporations are in charge. It's not difficult to imagine the scenario. We have a group of misfits embarking on a journey to save something. It's a formulaic story but still entertaining. The story is funny and sarcastic and witty instead of the usual bleak and dreary future I've read about. It's a good read overall but not the best I've ever read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest rev ...more
Lewis Szymanski
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Well, this is a fun book. I'd even call it a fun page-turner for summer reading. It's not Shakespeare, but it is very entertaining.

The setting is a cyberpunk dystopia on the brink of ecological and military apocalypse. The hero, 16-year-old Truckee Wallace is given the task of saving the world by getting a talking goat from Little Rock to San Francisco. Reed King, whoever they are, borrows many tropes from The Wizard of Oz. There is much amusing abuse of footnotes. The blurbs on the back of the
Matthew Sciarrino
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author (supposedly famous) who writes under a pseudonym, writes an interesting commentary on our nation using the time honored method of a sci-fi dystopian story (the land of the Formerly Known as United States in 2085j. What is “new” is that it’s a bit of a retelling of the Wizard of Oz at the sane time. The story is WoO meets Hitchhikers Guide (although here it is the Grifter’s Guide to the Territories FKA USA), meets Ready Player One. It’s long, but well written and fun. Warner Bros has p ...more
Tim Joseph
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Look. I'm not a huge 'madcap adventure' guys, so read this with a grain of salt... I mean, Hitchhiker's, Yes. Princess Bride? Classic.


This started off as a great idea, for me. I mean, a Wizard of Oz-like theme was what was promised in a dystopia setting.

As I got further in, the more... Colorful.... It got. And, I mean, it had a lot! Robots, talking donkeys, furry snoopers... A lot.

Suffice it to say that if I rated in on displayed imagination, this would be a 5... But I just didn't enjoy
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was intrigued by the idea of this dystopian story set in the future of the fractured land formerly known as the USA. Part of my interest came from its being written by someone who is supposedly a bestselling author, here using a pen name. I don't know who wrote it, but the story was convoluted and too self-consciously clever, and it contained far too many footnotes! And then there are all the many, many references to human waste.
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