Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood
Series: Ree Reyes #1
Source: Personal shelf
Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.
Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.
When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.
Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?
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I was really excited to read GEEKOMANCY. I figured it was the perfect book for me: urban fantasy, geek references, a spunky heroine. Sadly, GEEKOMANCY was a letdown for me.
Ree is a nice character. She’s got a lot of spunk and I loved her sense of humour. I also appreciate reading a book with such an unabashedly geeky heroine. She’s a full-on geek, with all of the interests and hobbies you could ask for. She makes a lot of references to comics, movies, games, etc. and Underwood assumes that you, as the reader, are just as geeky as he is because there’s no explanation offered, not even for the more obscure ones. My own geekiness was affirmed when I understood pretty much all of them but I don’t think that it’s necessarily the best way to win over readers who are urban fantasy fans but who don’t have as much interest in, say, comic books. There’s either a great deal of assumption here, or a general lack of accommodation for readers who aren’t as deeply embedded in these aspects of geek culture.
The other characters in GEEKOMANCY aren’t quite as well developed. I really liked Ree’s friends and her boss but we don’t know that much about them beyond surface descriptions. Their feelings aren’t discussed in depth, which is okay since they’re not as important to the plot, but I would have liked to know them a bit better. We do get more page time with Eastwood but that wasn’t great news to me because I really didn’t like him. He’s cocky and self-absorbed and not the kind of mentor I would want introducing me into the crazy world Ree finds herself in.
In terms of plot, I found GEEKOMANCY to be fairly predictable. There are a couple twists that I were interesting but generally the storylines were easy to predict. If you’re looking for a truly original novel, Underwood delivers in terms of the world that he’s created but not in terms of plot.
Generally, GEEKOMANCY was just too over-the-top for me. It’s not a bad idea but I wasn’t engaged by the story and finished more out of a sense of obligation than one of wonder. It’s not how I want my reading to be. But I hope you’ll let me know if you’ve enjoyed the book or know folks who have.