Author Ted Akin
This is the spoiler full review of Whammy. If you would prefer to stay spoiler free but still want to read about how a small town can parallel a super hero universe please visit here.
Thank you to author Ted Akin for providing me with a copy of Whammy in exchange for an honest review. Whammy is set to be released June 4th 2020.
Whammy starts as a slice of life novel set in small town Texas but ends as a larger than life journey through alternate dimensions and states of being with magical beings who control the way the earth and everyone in it operates.
Whammy messes around with some meta aspects that make it both interesting and a little confusing. For starters, we think the protagonist is Klive. He works for an oil company that is the dominant employer for small town Lily Grove. The first part of the book follows his journey investigating oil field safety concerns.
But we don’t stay with Klive the whole book. Through Klive’s roommate Stacey we discover that Klive has been writing a novel. One about the lame human characters who happen to live in a super heroed world.
Klive fancies himself the protagonist of his own story but it turns out that Stacey is actually the protagonist of Whammy.
The first third of the book follows Klive and it’s honestly a little dull. I wasn’t really sure where it was going or why I cared about him. There’s a vague sense of something mysterious happening on the outskirts of the story but we’re not privy to it until we get introduced to two mystery men.
One is a trucker without a name tag who may be tied to the sudden death of one of Klive’s coworkers. The other is a weird hipster in Stacey’s coffee shop who never says anything or buys anything.
I was drawn to this hipster, I could sense he’d be the key to this story somehow but it wasn’t until Stacey is confronted by the other man that we find out why.
Mr mystery oil truck has been skimming off the top for years. He killed Klive’s coworker to cover it up and now that Klive and Stacey have been snooping around he’s going to kill them too. Well, this is Texas and Stacey is a boss so she shoots him dead without hesitation.
She saves her own life but has no idea what the next step should be so she runs to mystery hipster for help. The section of the book ends with mystery hipster being very startled and exclaiming, “You can see me?!”
Now we’re talking! Tell me what’s going on!
Mystery hipster’s name is Jacob and he’s a muse. He snaps himself and Stacey out of the coffee shop and into a void, mostly out of panic. He explains that he’s been assigned to muse over the story that Klive is writing.
Meanwhile, back in Texas, the police have a huge manhunt out for Stacey who it would appear just fled the scene of a murder and left all of her marijuana behind. She was the town drug dealer by the way, there’s a lot of evidence against her in that coffee shop.
Now Stacey finds herself in a man’s body in some sort of parallel universe town that vaguely resembles her own. Jacob explains that he needs to rest before he can get them back so they are in Klive’s story. She needs to keep the time in the story moving so that Jacob, now a cat, can rest up.
Things in Whammy get a little confusing around this time. I understand the basics of what Akin was trying to do but it doesn’t quite come together. Stacey as the character in Klive’s story needs to proceed with the plot but she’s kind of a fire starter and doesn’t blend in with this world.
Stacey also discovers that she’s apparently always had magic powers she just never knew about them before. Turns out when you live in small town rural America magic just doesn’t come up that much. That’s hilarious to me and basically my favorite point in the book.
So Stacey starts to try to use her magic within Klive’s book’s plot to solve the mystery and complete the story. She does so and intends to go back to her boring life as a small time drug dealer but Jacob reminds her she’s likely going to spend the rest of that life in prison.
Wisely, she decides instead to stay with Jacob and hone her magic skills as a muse.
Author Akin has assured me Stacey’s story does not stop here and there are plans for a larger exploration of the universe for which Whammy laid the groundwork.
Whammy reads predominately like a prologue. The meat of the story will come next I’m sure.
I really enjoyed the experimentation with this meta novel. I liked that I didn’t realize who the real protagonist was until halfway through and that it messes with the perception of story telling as a whole. I just wish it came together a little smoother.
The first third is slow and by the time I wanted more it was over. Such a tease! I have high hopes for a more polished sequel and think it definitely deserves to be read.
I always give extra points for originality and with experience this concept will only get better.
3/5 fuel pumps ⛽⛽⛽
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