Thanks Netgalley for providing me a free review copy of this book. This hilarious & geeky mystery gets a final rating of 4 stars.
The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone
Published by: Redhook (20 Oct. 2015)
Print Length: 313 pages
For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.
The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.
Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she’s not living her best life. But that’s all about to change.
Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she’s offered a job. A job that she’s woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).
Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she’s just the girl to deal with them. (less)
As the ‘girly’ former gamer I am (who am I kidding? Of course I still play, just not as much), this book was just my cup of tea. Somehow, it manages to include mystery, online gaming, quarter-life crisis, relationships, and a lot of humor. All of this while being highly relatable to those of you who: 1) are or were part of the online gaming world; 2) going through quarter-life crisis and/or struggles of becoming an adult; 3) have crazy but lovable flatmates; 4) and probably many more.
The unrealistic scenario which kickstarts the conflict (and which you will only fully understand later) suits the type of narrative just fine by giving you a clear warning that you are in for a lot of unbelievable fun (to the point it becomes believable). If you have never played MMORPGs before, you have nothing to worry about, as Dahlia will kindly guide you with her hilarious explanations and descriptions.
The mystery aspect was very well done, nothing was really predictable, and there were some delicious (aka hilarious) twists.
The characterization was great. In general, the characters aren’t overly complex or developed, but they have unique voices and features. Of course, you can relate easily to Dahlia since the she is the one narrating the story, and she has an awesome voice that will make you laugh all the time. But it doesn’t mean, by any means, that this is a character-driven story. Dahlia is there to serve a purpose: To solve a mystery, and to be hilarious – and it accomplishes both. The romance and other misadventures are a nice touch, and it complements the rest. I only have one thing to complain about: There are too many characters at some point, which is slightly confusing, specially considering that Dahlia addresses most of them by their in-game usernames.
This was a perfect first-person narrative, with a single POV, and a hilarious voice. What makes this book special is certainly the writing style which couldn’t me more suitable. Dahlia’s inner monologs, interactions, thoughts, ramblings are all narrated from a very personal perspective, which makes you feel as if it’s your best friend talking to you and telling you a story. Bonus points because you do not need to get all the ‘inside jokes’ to laugh hysterically throughout the book, and this is definitely a book that non-gamers will enjoy too.