Attack the Geek, by Michael R. Underwood. Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books (2014), $2.99, ISBN: 9781476757780
Recommended for 18+
Attack the Geek is more of a New Adult read than it is a YA read, but there are plenty of pop culture, gaming, and garden variety geek references in there that will appeal to younger audiences. There’s a content heads-up for language, but it’s nothing the kids aren’t screaming at each other these days.
Attack the Geek is a side adventure to a series created by Michael R. Underwood; his previous two books, Geekomancy and Celebromancy, are available via digital download on Amazon for a very reasonable price. I haven’t read the two previous books which could be a reason why I felt off-kilter with Attack the Geek.
For any gamers out there – did you ever have a roleplaying session where one bar fight or battle took up hours of your campaign? If you know what I’m talking about, that’s how I felt while reading Attack the Geek. It’s a single combat story, with barista Ree Reyes, the heroine and protagonist of the series, and her fellow geekomancers coming under attack at Grognards, the establishment owned by Ree’s boss, Grognard. The geekomancers have the ability to channel the power of geek culture by consuming it – Ree, for instance, keeps clips from her favorite movies, like X-Men or Spider-Man, to draw upon when she needs power – and she’ll be able to shoot webs or toss people with telekinesis. There are props aplenty, including working Star Trek phasers and Star Wars lightsabers, and collectible card game cards merely need to be torn to release their magic in this world, if channeled by the geekomancer. So when they come under attack from a Strega witch named Lucretia, it’s a hairy battle, loaded with pop culture references and witty banter.
This being a side adventure is my own issue – I am unfamiliar with the geekomancy power and these characters, so in a sense, I was at a disadvantage. But I also thought the book was trying to be too witty, throw too many references in, for its own good. The references took over the plot, and after a while, I was just reading about a battle where there was Spider-Man web slinging, Star Trek phasers, and lots of collectible card game references. This just wasn’t my book. For anyone who’s a devoted sci-fi/fantasy/gaming/comic book fan, it’s worth a shot. It’s why I requested it from NetGalley, after all, and I may read Geekomancy now just to see if having more of a background will help me better grasp the book.