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Zoey Ashe #1

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

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Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements.

An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move.

Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes.

A young woman from the trailer park.

And her very smelly cat.

Together, they will decide the future of mankind.

Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop's dumpster on a hot summer day.

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you'd want to follow.

Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published October 6, 2015

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About the author

David Wong

13 books5,234 followers
David Wong is the pseudonym of Jason Pargin. He is the former Executive Editor of Cracked.com, author of the bestselling John Dies at the End series and the award-winning Zoey Ashe novels. Jason has a new Goodreads profile under his real name, you can follow it here:


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,876 reviews
Profile Image for carol..
1,566 reviews8,211 followers
April 28, 2018
A Chapter by Chapter Reading Experience

One: Hmm. Not into serial killer chasing inept 20 year-old woman, even/esp. set up as 'humor.'

Two: Okay, made me laugh with the spatula joke.

Three: I don't believe a woman who would own a Persian cat would call him 'Stench Machine.'

Five, six, and eight: The description of the 'Blink' nails social media as a 'reality experience.' Very lightly veiled social commentary but sadly on point.

So far: The protagonist is incompetent.

Ten: And dumb.

Twelve: Seriously.

Thirteen: Histrionics over. Plot time.

Fourteen: I don't believe a woman is this interested in talking toilets.

Fifteen: Laughed at the Elvis joke.

Nineteen: I appreciate the economic dichotomy between trailer park and mansion, but really, consider socioeconomic message received.

Seventeen: Characterization changes every few chapters.

Twenty: This is interesting.

Twenty-four: Why do we have a whole chapter about Zoey getting fitted for a funeral suit?

Thirty-three: WTH? No fair re: mom.

Thirty-five: gotta wrap this up so I can sleep tonight.

Thirty-nine: Are we done yet?

Forty-nine: Stalled

End: Sigh. Zoey obviously 'cool chick' material because her idea of fun is six hours of basketball playoffs.

Afterthought: I wondered why Wong chose to write a female lead character when he isn't very good at it. But then I realized it was needful for the victim role.

Summary: you could go either way on this. I can't, though originally, I was thinking Hitchhiker's Guide-level-smart until it lost momentum. Flat characterization (villain was Straight Outta The Incredibles) and fundamentally sexist characters/ization (Zoey is 'a blob' whose actions consist of being oppositional; there are literally only three women in the entire book and we know what all of their boobs look like; torturing women is part of the ongoing threat) made it drag whenever the action stopped. Large sections of telling, mostly, telling Zoe, although occasionally she gets to tell others. For those who aren't bothered by the issues related to female characterization, I'll also note that Wong sacrifices world-building for modern juvenile humor.

On the redeeming side, there is a solid underlying message, nice bits of humor, less juvenile than John Dies at the End, and initial unpredictability keep it readable. Reminds me a lot of The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, which I liked much better.

Two and a half Stenches, rounding down because I'm still kind of irked about Wong being such a dude about Zoey.

Note: Leading contender for 2018's Year in Review, Category: "Best example of Dick-lit Even Though the Main Character is a Woman."
Profile Image for Kevin Kelsey.
411 reviews2,223 followers
May 22, 2018
This one didn’t really do it for me. The writing wasn’t great, the characters were inconsistent, the story meandored all over the place, and there were some pretty glaring plot holes that I couldn’t ignore. It was fun, and occasionally hilarious with literal laugh-out-loud moments. I thought the Blink social network was startlingly plausible, and probably about two seconds into our future. I also loved the way that everyone in Tabula Ra$a saw themselves as heroes, but they were really just assholes obsessed with their public image and social following. That was fun social commentary.

The way the main character Zoey was handled bothered me. She is essentially Bella from Twilight, sort of just in the vicinity of things that are happening, but extremely passive and continually victimized, clumsy, constantly getting captured or harmed in some way, getting rape threats maybe ten to fifteen times over the course of the book. Come on dude.

Eh, yeah, I’m just not super interested in that. I get that this world is an ultraviolent, insane one, but good Lord, give the protagonist something to do once in a while.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
February 10, 2017
The near-future equivalent of UF Science Fiction.

What? Well, yeah! It has tons and tons of snark, absolutely fantastic pacing, action, action, action, humor, blood and guts, and tons and tons of shiny tech toys that are not only not in the hands of Government Officials or Spies, but there are NO Government Officials OR Spies in the novel!

This is all trailer trash and thug territory, my friend.

Of course, we're taking the trailer trash out of trailer trash territory and giving her a bazillion dollars in a completely lawless town filled to the brim with mad scientists, whimsical research projects, and idiots with massive power complexes... so what could go wrong?

Well, for one, we could run out of cat food.

We do NOT want to run out of cat food. Seriously. Stench Machine would be VERY displeased.

Shit! They're shooting at us!

I had a great time reading this. I doubt I've had an easier time reading anything for several months. It's pure popcorn SF that brings fun to every page. :)

If any of you are worried about or hoping for a splash of the same kind of juvenile humor from David Wong's other books, then be forewarned: It's been toned down. A lot. Instead, we've just got a serious page turner with funny cliffhangers and a love interest for our trailer trash heroine who has been described as "a robot who was programmed by an asshole".

And despite that, I actually thought that Will was kinda sweet. :) Zoe was fantastic for snark, too. :) Poor guy.
Profile Image for Mike.
502 reviews378 followers
April 24, 2017
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits delivers on both of its promises (namely futuristic violence, of which there was a boat load, and fancy suits, which were quite fancy), but it does so much more than that. It subtly explores the themes of violence against women within the frame work of masculinity, the dehumanizing affects of massive wealth on those who possess it, and the impact of just-around-the-corner-technology. Stylistically it does a wonderful job flirting with the super hero genre just enough to make you buy into the conventions before yanking the rug out from under your feet.

So, high level premise: Zoey Ashe is the only living off-spring of an absurdly rich man, Arthur Livingston, whom she has been estranged from her entire life. One day he dies in a warehouse explosion and she is willed his entire vast, vast fortune of ill gotten gains and his continued criminal enterprise. That inheritance comes with complications in the form of an alpha male villain named Molech and his posse of technologically enhanced followers. This all takes place with the desert libertarian utopia (dystopia for many) city of Tabla Ra$a.

I quite enjoyed the story itself. Wong does a wonderful job populating it with very colorful. bordering on appropriately absurd. characters. The Suits, Arthur Livingston's inner circle of confidants were fantastic, and Armando, Zoey's private body guard, was as cool as a pre-global warming glacier. But the heart of the story was Zoey, a somewhat damaged young woman who was just worrying about how to make ends meet and keep the trailer she and her mother lived in livable. She is thrown into the madness that is Tabla Ra$a and Arthur Livingston's world and has to cope with deranged people trying to kill her for something she has no connection to or idea about, but merely because of who she is. She is sometimes defiant, sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes completely confused, but she always stays true to her self and tries to do the best she can, even if it is only to spit into the face of fate:
"So, here is how this is going to go. I'm going to bite you eight times. Those bites will sever eight tendons, and they will render your legs and arms both inoperable. Then, over the course of days and weeks, I will slowly, and completely at random-"
Zoey crossed her arms.
"No. I'm not doing this. I'm not running and screaming, I'm not letting you put on a slasher movie chase for your creeper fans...I'm not giving you a show. I'm sick of it... I've done nothing but run for the last eight hours. I'm done with that. I don't run anymore...
"You've got quite a mouth on you. And I'm going to cut out that tongue and eat it in front of you. Bu first I'm going to-"
"No. You don't get to monologue for you audience. You're not cool, you're not menacing."
"I don't think you're in any position to tell me what-"
She might not be in total control of her fate, but that doesn't mean she will go down without a fight. Throughout the story we see time and again a resolve in Zoey that she didn't even know she had.

The writing is also quite excellent. Wong is quite adept at getting into the minds of characters and determining a reasonable outlook for them. For instance, one of the few cops who still works in Tabla Ra$a had this to say about the erstwhile heroes going after Molech:
"Oh, so you're still trying to fight this guy. Got it. You have any special requests for me when I process your corpse tomorrow? And don't ask us not to make fun of your dick, because we do that with every body that comes through, it's how we cope."
Here is this overworked, cynical policeman from an understaffed department hearing that some of his acquaintances are taking on the equivalent of a suicide mission and his response, in my mind, is pitch perfect.

Wong also shows that he knows exactly what drives the motivations of cats as well:
Zoey let [her cat] out if his crate. He prowled the area around her bench, hoping to find a bird to eat. He wasn't much of a hunter, so when he saw no birds had died of natural causes within five feet of the bench, he just gave up and lay down in the dirt.
His dialogue is great, the way he describes Tabla Ra$a shows great vision, and he avoids any mid-book plot dragging.

So, as you can see from the above quote, Zoey has a bit of violence directed against her. In fact the main villain of the story, Molech, pretty much represents the masculine ideal gone terribly, terribly wrong. He brays about living for the juice, the natural high a person experiences when they achieve something that helps ensure their survival (in his mind). He rails against modern society substituting the juice with cheap thrills like pornography and video games that enslave man to society. Think Tyler Durden from Fight Club without the charisma or compassion or introspection. Molech believes that women are nothing more than trophies to be acquired from alpha males and that those that do not live up to his ideal are fair game for killing.

He identifies this violence and disregard for human (especially female) life as a keystone of authentic masculinity. If a man does not conform to them then, in Molech's mind, they are merely prey. He is quite clear about the many terrible things he will do to her and her mother if she does not comply with his demands. And unlike internet trolls and MRA jackasses, he backs this up with a cult of followers who feel likewise and advanced augmentation technology he stole from Arthur Livingston.

Another interesting theme Wong explores is how wealth affects those who hold it. Arthur Livingston, by all accounts of people who interacted with him, was a very warm and gracious man. He threw tons of parties with an open invite list, gave freely, and never raised a hand to a woman. But he was also massively wealthy and do extremely unscrupulous things to maintain and expand that wealth. During a period of unrest in North Korea he provides aid to displaced families while secretly recruiting the best looking young women to become prostitutes stateside. He cared little for what ended up happening to them (often a young death to violence) just so long as the money kept rolling in.

Likewise one of his lieutenants, Will, is very good at manipulating people during negotiations. He is more than willing to sacrifice other people to achieve his goals with nary an eye lash batted. He operates in the same economic stratosphere that Livingston does and doesn't view the little people as people, merely pieces to be moved, manipulated, and sacrificed in whatever game he is playing.

Contrasted with Zoey who, until Livingston died, was one of the little, worthless people. She is able to show compassion and empathy for the normal citizens of Tabla Ra$a. She cares that their city is under attack by Molech and his madmen. She tries to use her wealth to uplift the people or at least give them a better life. She hasn't been severed from human contact by vast wealth and high stakes deal making.

I think this is contrast isn't just existent in the book, but exists in the real world as well. We can only conceptualize so many people as actually being people. The people within our empathetic sphere we can deeply care for on a personal level. Beyond that humans are just broad brush strokes of demographics. When the super rich reach a point where they are power over those people and no accountability to them or empathetic link, bad things happen. Bad things like what occur in this book.

One pretty great thing Wong does with this book is add in some new technologies and extrapolate the impacts they would have on human society. For instance there are tons of drones everywhere in Tabla Ra$a, either providing surveillance, delivering food, or just streaming interesting things. Smart, self driving cars are the norm. Advances in recording and broadcasting technology allows for literally everyone to be able to broadcast their day to day life in a searchable format (called the Blink network). So if you wanted to see some fight that occurred or an embarrassing celebrity event there is a good chance there were several people "blinking" it. People can amass huge blink followers which naturally leads to people willing to do ANYTHING to achieve that fleeting fame. all these technologies and more smartly informed the story and produced a believable just-around-the-corner look at what these technologies might do for us.

So yeah, if you like speculative fiction with a wicked sense of humor, lots of action, a social message, and a good grasp on how technology affects society this book is for you.
Profile Image for Evans Light.
Author 35 books409 followers
January 1, 2016
This review pains me a fair amount. The words I have to write about this book are not the ones I wish they were.

Let me begin by stating that I'm a huge fan of David Wong and I wanted to love this book.
The new setting and characters he's created for FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE & FANCY SUITS (FV&FS) seem like they could be a lot of fun, so I was ready to follow him on his first novel-length fictional outing sans John and Dave.

That being said, there are signs throughout the book that point to this endeavor as being a rushed production. Both JOHN DIES AT THE END and THIS BOOK IS FULL OF SPIDERS were uneven in spots - the former particularly so - but the moments of sheer brilliance and hilarity scattered throughout more than made up for the rough prose and bumpy plotholes.

FV&FS has a strong opening, briefly leading me to believe that David Wong had unleashed his inner Douglas Adams; however, the book quickly devolves into a messy collage of lengthy expository dialogues that are nowhere as sharp or witty as they strive so hard to be.

The book's villains started out as somewhat interesting tech-heavy Mad Max warlord-types, but midway through the characterization became so one dimensional that the baddies morphed into comic book characters straight out of 80's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons. Rocksteady and Bebop would have fit right in with these guys, and seemed to be the inspiration for the cadence of some of the dialogue.

The prose throughout would have benefited from several more rounds of editing. I picked up at least three or four major typos - a small amount to be sure, but more than you'd expect from a wide release from a large publisher. The errors didn't end with typos and spelling, but extended into point of view problems and sudden tense shifts. Even the name of the main city - spelled "Tabula Ro$a" throughout the majority of the book - was spelled randomly as either "Tabula Rosa" or "Tabula Ro$a" towards the end.

All of these quibbles can be excused to a certain extent if the story moves quickly and amuses, but FV&FS strangely spends most of its time watching characters sitting around having discussions: what happened in the past, what they might do in the future, etc. The book is at its best when actual action is being presented, which is regretfully not often - and that really leaves the reader plenty of time to focus on the poor workmanship presented throughout.

There is some fun to be had with the book, but not nearly enough to justify its length. Shaving off 100 pages or so and rewriting the prose until it ceased to sound like direct transcriptions from audio notes may have turned a so-so book into something special, but as-is this book is a flawed experience. Seldom have I read a book that feels like such a last-minute, "weld whatever we've got together by the deadline"rush job, but I'd bet money that's exactly what happened here.

I'm still a David Wong fan, and I'll buy the next book he publishes, but here's hoping the next one is polished more thoroughly before it's released to the public.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
September 29, 2019
Fun, fun, futuristic violence, fancy suits, and more fun!

Fans of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and Daniel Suarez will like this fast moving, action packed sidewinder of a futuristic good time.

I read David Wong’s also very cool John Dies at the End and liked it, but this took his snarky brand of speculative fiction to the next level.

Zoey Ashe’s estranged father is dead and she learns that he was worth gazillions and now she is – that is if she can stay alive. In a world infested with ubiquitous cameras and live feeds reminiscent of Dave Eggers’ 2013 dystopian novel The Circle, her trek to daddy’s mansion is viewed by millions and her assassin pursuers are cheered on as well.

Seems her father was at the center of many nefarious enterprises, all headed by a team of “fancy suit” operatives who know how to solve problems. Their ability is tasked to the max when a rival with superhuman surgically enhanced abilities plays a chaotic evil game of cat and mouse.

Wong’s narrative is sharp and the world he describes is as crisp and smooth as one inspired by Gibson’s Sprawl series. The dialogue was sometimes lacking but that’s really my only complaint.


Profile Image for GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott).
619 reviews111 followers
October 27, 2015

Full disclosure. I am eating two perfectly grilled cheese sandwiches with smoked paprika turkey on them as I write this review.

Yes. There is dipping sauce.

That said...THIS BOOK WAS THE SHIT! I've never read anything by David Wong before. Apparently, he's the dude that wrote the book that the mediocre movie was based off, John Dies At The End. I'm being a little harsh here, I know I have seen John Dies At The End, but I can't really remember it. It could actually be a better movie than what I think...but if it was...wouldn't I be able to remember it better? Whoa. That's some Matrix/Inception shit I just spouted off there!

Anyways - I've never read John Dies At The End either, and dollars to donuts, the book is better than the movie was...so...Huzzah!

Seriously. This is a really good sandwich. I used aged cheddar. Nice and sharp.

I'm gonna be honest. I'm really just treading water here. I have no idea what kind of rating I am going to give this book. I'm in as much suspense as you guys right now.

I never hated it. So that rules out one star. On the flip side, There was also some really incredible shit in here as well, so I could get all fired up over a nice, fat, five-star rating too!

But it's not a five. It's not, grilled cheese sandwiches with smoked paprika turkey on them, level kind of shit.

So what is it?

There were times that, as I was reading this, I kept thinking in my head, "man, this David Wong dude is writing his pants off right now! This is off the charts material!" Like - there was so much that I wanted to quote on my status updates, so everyone could see how fucking funny it was, but it wouldn't fit because the lead up to it, for it to actually make sense, was just way to long.

check it out:
I just want to tell you a story, if you’ll indulge me. Now this city, it can be real confusing for an outsider. I don’t care where you’re from, Tabula Rasa can make you feel like you’ve taken a train to Bizarro world. I remember my very first night here—and this is goin’ on fifteen years ago—I was takin’ a walk downtown, tryin’ to get a feel for the place. And I’m walkin’ through a construction site—and it was all construction sites back then, you understand—and I come across this hole in the ground, ’bout ten feet in diameter. I look down and I can’t see a bottom, so I pull a quarter out of my pocket and toss it down, and listen for a clink or a splash. Nothin’. Coin just tumbles into the darkness and disappears. So now I’m real curious, and I look around for somethin’ else to throw down there. And teeterin’ right on the edge of the hole is an old refrigerator. So, I circle around and I give it a good kick and it tumbles down into the hole. I hear it bang off the side a few times but once again, there’s no crash, no splash, like it just kept fallin’ forever. It was the strangest thing. So I figure this is the first of this city’s many unknowable mysteries and I start to go on about my way. But then I see the second strange thing—this goat, it goes flying past me, in midair. Like it was fired from a cannon. And now I think I’m losin’ my mind, like maybe it’s not just tobacco in my cigar, if you know what I’m sayin’. So I walk along and I come across a guy sittin’ on the curb and I say, ‘Holy cow, partner, did you see that goat?’ And the fella says, ‘Well, that’s my goat.’ And I say, ‘Well, I hate to tell ya, but I think it’s gone. It took off flyin’.’ And the fella says, ‘That’s impossible. I had him chained to a refrigerator.’ ”


And the book is full of gems like that.

It was a hell of a lot of fun to read. If there are to be any more books...which there could or couldn't be...I'm their hands down.

But I got a thing. And I think it's a fairly legit thing. I got this problem, and I see it a lot. It is enough to make me DNF a book. For reals. Luckily this book, though guilty of my thing, upholds everything else to a standard of awesomeness that blows my brain.

My thing.

I hate reading the dialogue in a novel like its a script.

Jon said, "blah, blah, blah."
Jane said, "More blah, blah blah."
Jon said, "blah, blah."

And that's a paragraph. Some descriptive text in the next paragraph and then back to the script-style dialogue.

It annoys the shit out of me. If I am reading a novel, I don't want to feel like I am reading a script. Immerse me motherfuckers. Pull me in. That kind of writing is lazy and only detracts my involvement from the story.

And there are a lot of people that write that way. Even more discouragingly, there are a lot of readers that don't seem to be bothered by it either.

I don't get it.

This was a five-star book, but I'm sorry, I gotta take one of those stars and tuck it back in my underbritches. The writing was rock solid, on point, and I loved the majority of it, but the execution of dialogue just really irked me at times.

This is a personal preference (I guess), and four stars is still an EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK kinda shout out, it's just that it could have been...should have been...five stars.

This is long.

See what happens when I eat grilled cheese?
Profile Image for Laura.
920 reviews7 followers
November 9, 2015
Took me most of the book to admit how aggressively I disliked it. I kept trying to enjoy it because I loved the author's other 2 books. But this is the most hatefully misogynistic book featuring a female protagonist that I have ever mostly read, and lacks the light-hearted gonzo humor of his previous work. Ick.
Profile Image for Emily.
297 reviews1,549 followers
September 12, 2017
This book was seriously a TRIP. It was a wild ride that was seriously fun (and funny!).

What made this book fascinating to me was it's scathing critique of what I'll generalize as "violent male internet culture." I'm NOT talking about all dudes on the internet, by any means, but rather the subset of guys on the internet who think it's fine to make rape threats, murder threats, encourage suicide, dox people, etc., and then the second they get called on it come back with, "Can't you take a joke, snowflake?" In Wong's not-so-distant future, the lines between the online world and reality are blurred, and so this culture of hyper-violent language and behavior towards women is blurred as well. The story starts with a for-hire serial killer stalking a woman, with a horde of people (mostly other guys) following along via live stream, eagerly awaiting the killer to swoop in and literally eat her alive with his mechanically enhanced jaw... Not exactly the subtlest metaphor, but it WORKS. The villains of this story are buffoonish self-proclaimed "alphas" who want to reshape the world to their liking. This book was first publishing in 2015, but so much of the language of the antagonists is eerily similar to the so-call "alt right" groups that have gained so much media coverage of late...

Wong's takedown of this culture is unflinching, and honestly a bit cathartic to read. Unfortunately, the book fell a bit short for me when it came to the other end of the spectrum. We get a takedown of this particular subset of male internet culture, but we don't really get any alternative. The protagonists seem to work within the same frame. We get a kick-ass female protagonist in Zoey, but she's also "not like other girls" (cue eye-roll).

Additionally, we only get two women with any significant speaking roles--Zoey's mom gets a few lines, but she's basically a ditsy nonentity. I would have LOVED IT if Wong had switched Will--the second most important character of the book--with Echo, who gets the least amount of page time out of the "good guys" team. Echo is the youngest of the group, and is a woman who has risen to the top of this male-dominated world, AND she's a badass self-taught computer genius who uses her own femininity as a weapon. MORE OF THAT, PLEASE! It felt like Echo's character was SUCH a missed opportunity. Wong could have created a phenomenal subversive work, just by switching Will and Echo's positions. Additionally, Zoey's "not like other girls" nonsense could have been balanced out by Echo.

Overall, this was a REALLY enjoyable ride. However, there were missed opportunities when it came to truly taking the book to the next level.
Profile Image for Lizz.
235 reviews56 followers
October 23, 2022
I don’t write reviews.

No, no, no!! This was an intolerably bad book! It wasn’t the story that was the problem. I think that if fleshed out and with some added world-building, it would have been great. The trouble though, is the characters. Zoe was the most whiny, lazy, ungrateful, waste of space of a protagonist I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting. She seriously insulted those who had just minutes ago saved her life. I wouldn’t have bothered… She had nothing going for her. Zoe lacked talent, smarts and skills yet walked purposefully into dangerous situations. She is the poster child of bad choices.

The other characters didn’t save the story. For a bunch of people who supposedly ran a multi-billion dollar crime enterprise, they couldn’t strategize, think ahead or use their money and technology to their advantage. They were terribly disorganized which led them to be repeatedly blind-sided. The bad guy was another whiner with an annoying personality. The assassin was simply a guy for Zoe to creepily “seduce.” He was built up as a man of morals and strength, but succumbed to everything destructive and died unceremoniously.

The fourth John Dies at the End was released a few days ago and I’m really enjoying it. Can this writer really only write that story? I hope not.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,478 reviews7,775 followers
January 19, 2022
Guess what time it is???? It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for the library’s Winter Reading Challenge. And this year’s theme?????

Oh mommy likey. I have been participating in these challenges for going on a decade now and let me tell you the struggle has been real on some of the themes. But I am a sucker for free swag so I muddled through. Chills and Thrills, though??? Oh there’s no need to twist my arm so I immediately went to the recommendation page to see what the ol’ MCPLMO suggested I imbibe over the next few weeks. Not surprising, I had read a poopton of the offerings, but I was able to pull together more than the five books it would take for me to be able to tell everyone . . . .

Since I had previously read the suggested John Dies at the End I opted for this selection by the same author and, well, really the only thing I have to say about it is . . . .

I live in a house full of Marvel lovin’ dudes. I’ve been doing good v. evil action stuff for a hot minute now and the theme is always the same . . . .

Pushing 400 pages was waaaaaaaaay above my patience level for a story that should have easily been wrapped up in about 250. Repetitive and not particularly fresh. This one doesn’t have any of the magic contained in the John series.

Profile Image for Rob.
853 reviews540 followers
November 6, 2016
Executive Summary: Do you enjoy sophomoric humor and the victimization of women by cartoon villains? If not, you may want to give this book a pass.

Audiobook: Christy Romano was the bright spot here. I really enjoyed her narration. She did a good job with voices and adding something to what was often at times an overly melodramatic and downright infuriating. I would definitely listen to another book read by her again.

Full Review
This book started out pretty strong for me. I should have been tipped off by an early scene, but I was enticed by the book's description and the thought that this book could be a cross between Blade Runner and maybe the Godfather.

Instead what it turned out to be was an excuse to subject the protagonist to repeated victimization at the hands a variety of boring/cartoonist antagonists. To me the best characters are always much more nuanced than this. Everyone is the hero of their own story, or so the adage goes. Not so here, as Molech and his followers know they are the villains, and they relish in it.

There were parts of this book I enjoyed, especially early on. The ideas of the city of Tabula Rasa and the technology it contained kept me interested for awhile. However once it became clear that their was really little depth to the plot and just a series of cartoonish confrontations, I started to check just how much time I had left in the book.

I feel like there could have been a good book in here, but the story I got instead fell far short of my expectations.
Profile Image for Tom Mathews.
686 reviews
August 16, 2015
I’ve never read anything by David Wong before this but John Dies at the End has often been enthusiastically recommended to me by people whose tastes in books are, shall we say, eclectic.

If John Dies at the End is a horror/adventure novel, as the author describes it, then Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is likely to be called a horror/adventure/sci-fi/thriller. It’s a rowdy, rollicking geekfest that starts out as fast as a roller coaster and picks up speed with each chapter.

As the story opens, twenty-two year-old Colorado trailer park resident Zoey Ashe is about to get more than her allotted 15 minutes in the national spotlight. Her trip to the Wendy’s drive-thru is interrupted by an attempted assassination, which results in her flight via train to Tabula Ra$a, a lawless boom town in the desert of western Utah (think Vegas on acid-laced steroids) where, after more assassination attempts and a kidnapping attempt, she learns that her estranged father, gangster-turned-real estate mogul Arthur Livingston has died violently in an explosion leaving Zoey, for reasons I’ll let you discover for yourself, on the run with a multi-million dollar bounty on her head.

All this, which takes place in the first 36 pages, is what readers will eventually recognize as the slow parts.

What fascinates me is that, at the heart of the story is a preview of social technology’s future that is as plausible as it is frightening. ‘Blink’ is a social network that combines the immediacy of Twitter with the video technology of GoPro and Google Glass. If 24-hour news channels scare you, imagine ‘millions of live feeds broadcasting from glasses and pinned-on cameras, in addition to most car dashboard cams (standard on every new model since 2020) and a swarm of aerial drones owned by police departments, TV News channels, and tens of thousands of random voyeurs’ provide a constant video stream that allow Blinkers, to watch any person, place or event (newsworthy or otherwise) ‘in real time, the view hopping from one feed to the next’, automatically switching to the feed with the best view of the event as it happens. Anyone with a camera is now a newscaster and anyone desiring his 15 minutes of fame has an audience of millions if his stunt is dramatic enough. In FV&FS, The Hunt for Arthur Livingston’s Daughter is the story of the day and everybody in Tabula Ra$a wants to get the best shot of the action.

If the book has a weakness, it is that many of the characters are two-dimensional. They have as much depth built in to do what they were written to do, and not much more.

By now I assume you get the idea. The story is rocking, raucous, rollicking and very violent. I really enjoyed it, except for those moments when the author decided to kill off characters that I liked. If you like your reading laced with adrenaline, you will too.

*Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review book was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review.

FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
• 5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
• 4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
• 3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered good or memorable.
• 2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending.
• 1 Star - The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.
Profile Image for Sarah.
733 reviews73 followers
November 9, 2016
Well, if it was 100 pages shorter it would have been three stars. To be honest, I still haven't fully decided between one and two stars. By the end I was annoyed enough to go with one but I did enjoy quite a bit of it.

This is set in a future world where a man has started a city called Tabula Ra$a. It has no government, although it has a police force sometimes. A corrupt one. All of the characters in this are rather flat, to the point that I was picturing this cheesy cartoon where the girl runs one way and is faced by a villain, does an exaggerated scream, runs the other way, rinse and repeat. It was these flat, corny characters that were it's ultimate undoing for me. And then there was the whole supervillain thing. That was... truly too ridiculous for words. That would be that last 100 pages that annoyed the crap out of me. The supervillain was really much too villainous to be even remotely believable. And a lot of times when the author was giving you the background story of what made characters tick, the motivations just flat don't make sense.

I think I'll just shut up now or I'll talk myself down to one star. There were things that I really liked, it just was not... It was just too freaking cheesy!!!
Profile Image for Lea.
442 reviews78 followers
February 29, 2016

I'm really torn on this one. I'm a huuuuuuuge David Wong fan -- I was crazy happy when I saw he had written a new book, and had this one bought before it was even released. But . . .

Many of the characters here are not nice. They're horrible. And they treat our protagonist, Zoey, horribly. But it's worse than that. They're brutal and cruel and mysogynistic. It's just ugly -- and she's put into danger with these horrible people over and over and over again. And part of me gets it -- this is the world that Zoey (and many real women) live in. But it's so grim and awful. I hated reading these repetitive, degrading things.

But even worse is that the "good" guys really aren't much better. And maybe there's a whole point to that, too.

Some of it is really funny and charming -- a lot of the characters have you rooting for them, even if they aren't necessarily on the moral high ground. Zoey is a lot of fun, although she makes so many stupid decisions it's hard not to get frustrated with her.

So the book has issues. And it's way too long. But many parts have the same goofy likability of Wong's other books. So I'll give it 3 stars and call it a day. Either way, you know I'll most likely buy whatever he releases next.
Profile Image for maria.
568 reviews354 followers
February 21, 2016
Well, that was definitely one hell of a fast paced, action packed, and downright crazy novel. Seriously, there was not one moment of calm throughout the entirety of the novel. I was definitely never bored and I was certainly very entertained.

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits tells the story of Zoey, a young 22 year old girl who gets thrown into a whirlwind of a mess when her extremely wealthy and eccentric father passes away and leaves her, his only daughter, everything he once owned.

Although all of this sounds extremely fast paced and action packed, Futuristic Violence and Fancy suits is also downright hilarious! It feels more like a satire of the action genre which is completely refreshing and unlike anything I have ever read before. It was crude and funny and really pushed the limits in terms of humour!

Every chapter left off with a little mini-cliffhanger that made it impossible to put the book down after finishing a chapter. As mentioned before, the story is super fast paced and adventurous. It reminded me a lot of Ready Player One in the sense that the characters were always in search of something and were constantly racing against one another to get it.

I really enjoyed all of the characters within Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits! Zoey was a strong female lead that took no shit from anyone around her. She was hilarious and really added fantastic comic relief throughout the novel. Will Blackwater reminded me a lot of Matt Bomer circa White Collar with a dash of Tom Hiddleston. I loved his character purely because he was the complete opposite of Zoey. Where she was blunt and sarcastic, he was calm, collected and serious. I also really loved Armando, Zoey’s hired bodyguard to protect her from those who want her father’s fortune. There were so many other characters that added to the overall story such as Echo, Andre and Carlton.

Of course there was also the evil bad guy. Well technically, there were multiple evil bad guys, but there was the one pivotal villain, Molech. Typically one hates the super villain of any story, and don’t get me wrong, Molech did PLENTY to make me hate him as a character, but he was also one of the most entertaining characters to read during this story. He definitely was not the sharpest tool in the shed and to see him get frustrated while Zoey taunts him with her wit, were probably some of the best moments in this novel.

The story started to get a little hectic towards the end. There were moments that could have been explained with slightly more detail, especially during the final few scenes. I felt it ended a little too abruptly with a few questions I had still left unanswered.

I could definitely see this series continuing, and David Wong’s hilarious Author Afterword confirmed that there is definitely a possibility for a sequel! I have never read Wong’s other work, including the popular John Dies at the End, but I do have it sitting on my shelf and I am definitely going to be reading it soon! I loved Wong’s writing style and I can’t wait to devour more!

I want to quickly thank my best friend Heather who recommended this book to me and kindly let me borrow her copy! Sorry I kept it so long before reading it, but it was definitely worth it!


Initial post-reading thoughts:

This was definitely a super fun, action packed and fast paced story! Each chapter ended with a tiny cliffhanger that made you want to continue reading immediately. The characters within this story were all pretty fantastic and well thought out. I really enjoyed this one!
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
February 24, 2017
A ridiculously hilarious book with colorful characters, snarky dialogue, and a shit ton of bizarre scenarios. Along with her spunk, I appreciate the main character's candor and occasional vulnerability. Although the ending felt rushed, I'm still pleased by how much I laughed and enjoyed myself while reading.
Profile Image for Stylo Fantome.
Author 27 books4,687 followers
Want to read
March 28, 2015
Though I am sure it will be awesome sauce, I NEED MORE JOHN AND DAVID IN MY LIFE.

Please and thank you :D
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,767 reviews1,767 followers
May 5, 2016
This was the best fart/poop/butt joke book collection I've ever read that also happens to have a plot.

Despite it not being exactly everything I hoped it would be, this book had me about three pages in when the heroine (ordering fast food while sitting in her self-driving car) contemplates how did people ever "eat their car chili" if they had to keep their hands on the steering wheel. This girl clearly has her priorities straight. If the future allows me to eat car chili while cruising down the street, I will forgive it a lot.

I was promised something like Ready Player One going in, but aside from a near future setting and a superficial plot detail (main character and an inheritance from a wealthy man), I really don't think the two books could be any more different. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits delivers on the promise of its title. Zoey Ashe lives in a trailer park with her mother when the sudden death of her biological father catapults her life into violent chaos. Turns out her father was Arthur Livingston, one of the most wealthy men in the world, and his home base the city of Tabula Ra$a, a playground without rules. His death paints a huge target on his daughter, and she ends up involved with his henchman, who all wear fancy suits and are very into violence, who she isn't even sure she can trust, but who are her only protection from the very violent and possibly superpowered men who are after her.

The book also takes place in a world where social media is taken to its logical extreme: there are cameras everywhere, recording almost everything, and it's all constantly live. This makes it even harder for Zoey to stay safe, when the whole world is watching and waiting eagerly for events to transpire.

The thing I liked best about the book was how funny it was. Of course, humor is subjective, but if the car chili thing struck you right, you think it's funny for a cat to be named "Stench Machine," and gems like this do it for you:
“Zoey didn’t want to be paranoid, but there was something about the man in the loincloth made of charred doll heads that made her nervous.”

“I want no part of this nonsense. This whole city is a butt that farts horror.”

“She thanked the toilet, but it did not respond. That was good—if she started to think of it as a sentient being, it would probably be much harder to poop in its mouth.”
You'll probably think the rest of the book is great.

I also ended up quite fond of most of the characters by the end, even though the constant action and danger was kind of tiring. I probably would have given this five stars with a little more breathing room, more emotions. But Wong's style seems to be fast-paced, quippy, humor-driven plot, and he is very self-assured in his execution. I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that this book includes heaping portions of social criticism, mostly concerning poverty and wealth, and the dangers of toxic masculinity. But, you know, with like dick jokes and stuff.

I would recommend this if you like funny books with lots of action, and you don't care about swearing or violence or grossness. If you like all those things, you will be amply supplied.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,562 reviews2,939 followers
March 6, 2016
This book is so bizarre and fun to read. I was gifted this by the lovely Elena at christmas time and I picked up the audiobook too so I could listen to this whilst I was working. I liked the narrator, but honestly it was the story which really hooked me in and I read through nearly all of this mostly over two long days where I was working and listening to the audiobook.

This tells the story of Zoey Ashe who is basically an average 'poor girl' stereotype until one day her estranged multi-billionaire father dies and she immediately becomes a target. The world Zoey lives in has been fairly normal up to this point, she's not thought much of her father for ditching them, but she's also had a good relationship with her slightly-too-ditsy mother and they have an understanding about how they live.
Zoey's world is shaken to its core when the new blink livestreams get involved (basically everyone in the city she goes to for the funeral has one causing a full network of cameras following people everywhere) and she's immediately target no. 1 for all the criminals who want her father's money. The book opens with her being stalked by a psychopath killer and this is a running theme throughout the whole book.

Honestly the world-building and technology for this book drew me in most. It's a hyper-tech society with so much new stuff constantly being invented and streamed and used and this creates a centre for crime to become entertainment and for the masses to tune in to real-time crime. The police are basically non-existant, and there's a complete risk for Zoey's life most of the time.

With that said and despite the world building being super cool I did feel that we had the same problem occur multiple times within this story and although I warmed to Zoey and her smelly cat as the story went on, she didn't become a character I hugely worried about and this left me with a slight disconnect still.

I think if you want something that's going to truly amuse and entertain you then this is a fab book for that. It has action, action and more action and there are also a few moments which made me laugh aloud. I also think if you want a more 'believable' or character-driven story then this maybe won't be for you so if you go into it expecting that you'd be disappointed. For me, this was bizarre, wacky and filled with fun and it was great to help me power through the workload. 3.5*s overall and a likeable read for sure!
Profile Image for Paul.
2,309 reviews20 followers
November 6, 2017
This is my first David Wong novel (putting me in a very small group of readers who didn't read John Dies at the End first, I would imagine... although I did see the movie version) and I have to say I enjoyed it a great deal. It's funny, action-packed, ridiculous (in a good way) and just a heck of a lot of fun. If I had one issue it would be that it took me a while to warm to the protagonist. I was pleased to see that Wong left it wide open for a sequel, which I'd definitely read.
Profile Image for Eli Hornyak.
236 reviews25 followers
September 17, 2023
Loved this book! Action, Comedy, and a smelly cat. What more do you need?
Profile Image for Lance Charnes.
Author 7 books91 followers
August 3, 2017
In the past, I've copped to an affection for books that I describe as "a box full of crazy" (for example, Beat the Reaper , Tim Dorsey's Serge Storms series, and Bunker 13 ). These kinds of books have a kind of maniac energy that pull me through even the most demented situations. That's what I thought I was getting here. Alas.

Futuristic Violence, in summary, sounds like it can be the real deal. Zoey Ashe, a 20-ish potential refugee from Mike Judge's Idiocracy , discovers she's the only child of recently-blown-to-bits zillionaire Arthur Livingston. She's immediately set upon by legions of crazed, supercharged bounty hunters who want to collect the price on her head. Livingston's slightly-less-crazed retainers rescue her as a part of an outlandish plot to defeat a meatheaded supervillain dubbed Moloch and retain control of technology that can turn otherwise ordinary misfits into superheroes (or supervillains, as they wish). Zoey also has a cat.

That's the summary. The problem comes in the execution.

To be fair, it has its moments. The author (better known for This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It and John Dies at the End ) shoots the beginning of the story out of a cannon and makes the first few chapters fly like a rocket. He gets off a goodly number of deadpan one-liners and has a talent for setting up completely absurd situations that nonetheless have a certain insane logic to them. The main arena for the action -- Tabula Ra$a, a libertarian dystopia built by a coterie of billionaires in the middle of the Utah desert -- is something like Vegas-meets-Blade Runner; it's vividly rendered and easily visualized, though it never feels like a real place.

Beyond that lies murky waters, though. Books like these don't want to be very long. The kind of humor -- and velocity -- needed for success has a definite shelf life; go too long and your reader gets desensitized by the bludgeoning. FV&FS goes on and on, hitting the same notes repeatedly and with decreasing effectiveness.

This can be excused if the characters are magnetic and you can stick with them through even the slow bits. Unfortunately, the characters here are collections of stereotypes and tics, and except for the fairly large number who die, not one of them has much of an arc. Even Zoey, the putative heroine, is as empty-headed at the end as she is at the start, despite having undergone almost four hundred pages of life-altering experiences. Moloch is the nightmare version of the kind of testosterone-poisoning victim who tries to run over small animals on his way to the liquor store; his Ayn Rand-infused ranting is straight out of talk radio, but that's about all he has going for him.

There's nothing wrong with Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits that couldn't be fixed with ~100 fewer pages, better character development and more thorough editing. (If nothing else, this is the counter-argument to people who slam indie authors because of their poor proofreading.) I wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. In the end, the author let the crazy get the best of him, which is the one thing you can't do when you play in this sandbox.
Profile Image for Megan.
112 reviews
March 12, 2019
I finally read it! And guess what? I LOVE this freaking book!!

Not only are the characters fucking amazing, but also the plot had my head spinning (in the best way) because I almost never figured out what the hell was going to happen next. I flew through this and now I can't wait for the next installment of this series!!

David Wong's writing style is just exactly my cup of tea, I can't deny it, I thought I would like it less because it wasn't the series that I usually read by him but NOPE it was just as good and I do, in fact, now love two series and sets of characters created by him!!

before it was even published:
Oh my god, a new book!! Of cause I'm gonna read it, it's a David Wong book. And even though it's not John/David related, I'm highly anticipating it!!

I'm not sure I can wait till fall though. Really really excited for this!
Profile Image for Bee.
411 reviews3 followers
January 21, 2019
A very enjoyable, near future comic adventure. David Wong knows how to write a story. He knows how to make you laugh. He knows people and their weaknesses. I really enjoyed this. It wasn't as bend-over-double-laughing funny as The Book is Full of Spiders was, but it really has its moments. Pulp fiction done right.
Profile Image for Charles.
514 reviews82 followers
July 22, 2021
Gonzo crossover cyberpunk/comic book story of a twenty-something, “trailer trash, with big tits and low self-esteem” recent heiress to a pseudo-criminal empire doing battle with bionic supervillains in a futuristic parody of Las Vegas.

The City of Tabula Ra$a

My audio edition was about fifteen and a half (15 ½) hours long. A dead tree copy would be about 385 pages. The original US copyright was 2015.

David Wong is the nom de plume of Jason Pargin an American humor writer. He has 5-books published, in two series. This was the first book in the author’s Zoey Ashe series. Currently there are two books in the series. This was also the 3rd book I’ve read by the author. The most recent being This Book Is Full of Spiders (John Dies at the End, #2) (my review).

Full disclosure, I’ve been reading David Wong since his Cracked.com early days. (That’s a sad commentary on my life, I know.) You have to understand his schtick to get it. Aside from the toilet humor and one-liners, his hyperbolist, satire of common TV tropes can be very funny.

This story needs to be recognized, as a Cinderella story. The protagonist Zoey Ashe a self-described “trailer troll” unexpectedly inherits her estranged, biological father’s quasi-criminal empire and vast fortune. This takes place in a cyberpunkish -near future where the Surveillance Society was a form of entertainment for the purpose of Bread and Circuses . The story’s main venue was a City Noir called Tabula Ra$a, a Las Vegas-like, utopia for the super-rich and criminals. (I’ll stop now pointing out the tropes being satirized, of which there are many.) Zoey becomes the target of bionic supercriminals after her departed father’s technological trade secrets. She must take up the reins of her late father’s organization (including his management team of men and a woman in “Fancy Suits”), overcome her background, save herself, and make Tabula Ra$a a better place.

Wong's books are gonzo and laddish. They’re also very contemporary in language and popular cultural references. Written in 2015, I had to think back to: Disney’s Frozen, Guardians of the Galaxy I, and Kim and Kanye getting married (now divorced) to establish the ethos of the story.

The plot lines were very much comic book-like. The dialog and descriptions were mixed, but OK. (As mentioned above the humor can be puerile.) On the other hand, there are some laugh-out-loud, trope-related soliloquies and monologues, and there are many good 'turns of a phrase' throughout the prose. There was an odd 3rd person POV. Ashe was the protagonist. She was ‘Plucky”, but not an ‘Action Girl’. Considering she was a satirisation of a stereotype, I was fine with Wong’s handling of the female character. Ashe also had a beloved cat, who figures large in the story. (I’m not partial to ‘Cat Stories’, but I see what he did there.) The action sequences were good, but of the comic book, ‘on-steroids’ type. For example, characters took enormous beatings, but kept on ticking. Nobody went into shock.

Some folks may be offended by the: violence against women and cats, gore, scatological references and 'dick' jokes. Despite the bawdy nature of the prose, there were no naughty bits in the story. There was talk of substance abuse; both hard and soft-core drugs, but no consumption described. Consumption of alcohol was immoderate. There was: physical, edged-weapons, firearms, and heavy weapons violence. The descriptions of physical trauma was very graphic. The body count in the story was genocidal. Property damage was at the level of modern warfare.

This book was not a great work, but understanding Wong’s humor, it was more than amusing. Having written that, not everyone has the same sense of humor or my exposure to Wong. If you have no tolerance for profane, hyperbole, involving: class, technology, “double-think” and man’s inhumanity to man, woman, and cats-- you're not going to like this book. (I don’t find ‘fart’ and ‘dick’ jokes funny myself.) However, there was an entirely different level-of-humor lurking below them. Not everyone will like this, but I found it to be ‘listenable’.

I may shortly be reading the next unread book in either of Wong’s series: What the Hell Did I Just Read or Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews258 followers
November 11, 2015
4.5 Stars

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong is a blast of a read. I am a huge fan of Wong as John Dies at the End is a gem. This is a much more accessible read than the book just mentioned, it is straight forward and much more mainstream. That being said it is still Wong through and through. It is filled with clever dialog, witty humor, fun action, and a bit of cyberpunk imagination. This is not a serious read and it works by simply being fun from start to finish.

This is a nearly future thriller with bits of cyberpunk, science fiction, comic like characters, and just plain fun.

““You didn’t hear a goddamned word I said. You say you’re not a hero? Well, I’m going to tell you the best and the worst thing you’ve ever heard. Heroes aren’t born. You just go out there and grind it out. You fail and you look foolish and you just keep grinding. There is nothing else. There is no ‘chosen one,’ there is no destiny, nobody wakes up one day and finds out they’re amazing at something. There’s just slamming your head into the wall, refusing to take no for an answer. Being relentless, until either the wall or your head breaks. You want to be a hero? You don’t have to make some grand decision. There’s no inspirational music, there’s no montage. You just don’t quit.”?

I am a huge fan of David Wong and cannot wait for more from him. This one and all his works are highly recommended by me...
Profile Image for Adam Light.
Author 21 books256 followers
January 18, 2016
I really wanted to love this book, and I liked it somewhat, but it ended up being just okay. There were tons of mistakes that editors should have caught, but did not. It has been a while since I read JDAtE and TBiFoS, but I can't remember either of them being so poorly edited. I suppose such sloppiness could have been overlooked if the trademark Wong humor had been rampant throughout the story, but I found myself eagerly longing for belly-laughs that simply never happened. The novel was not a complete waste of time, but it was a bitter disappointment for someone expecting something better than, or at least equal to, the author's previous works. It did start out well. There was a lot of potential that, sadly, was never realized. I still look forward to the next chapter in the JDAtE saga, but this one is worth skipping.
Profile Image for Scottsdale Public Library.
3,280 reviews260 followers
September 24, 2021
In this comic action-thriller, Zoey Ashe is plucked out of her mundane existence and inserted directly into unfathomable intrigue when her absentee father dies. I won’t spoil it, but it involves lots of...futuristic violence and fancy suits. Author David Wong is an editor for humor site Cracked.com and his work is always a unique mixture of satire and homage, heavy on pop culture reference.

If you want to know what that flavor tastes like, imagine acclaimed horror director David Cronenberg started making screwball comedies, and the smartest kid in your high school class wrote fan fiction of that universe. That’s what David Wong does. He does juvenile and he does it well. Give him a read. After all, that kid always made the teacher laugh the hardest. –Joyce A.

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