Evil Book Review: MAKO by Ian J. Malone
Okay guys, truth time. When I originally took on this assignment, I was under the impression that I would be reviewing a graphic novel that I could knock out in a night for you guys, and the provide you all with those reviews you love so much. However, I was surprised, and just a little dismayed that I would in fact not be reading a graphic novel, but a full on novel…with lots of words and no pictures…..do they even still make those? Kidding. Now it is not to say that it is a bad thing, but when you are expecting one thing, and are handed another, your mindset is going to slightly change. Hence, my brain was quite unprepared to handle the new and vastly heavier load that was placed upon me…..don’t even think about it you pervs. I was slightly disappointed when I thought I had to trudge through another novel, as I have been inundated with them for most of the year. Granted, most of them were of my own accord, but I was having some happy thoughts on being able to crush this book real quick and get a solid review out for you all, but lo and behold, it was not the case.
I felt bad to be honest, mainly because I had some back and forth emails with the author prior to reading the book, and it kind of made me feel bad for thinking along those lines, since Ian is such a nice guy and very patient with me. He let me know to take my time with it, and I appreciated his patience and understanding of the situation at hand. Guys….I do not forget kindness bestowed upon me ever, and at that moment, I decided to suck it up and just read the thing. I know it may seem like I am whining and complaining about having to read something, and that it may be bad, but trust me, that is not the case. I was gratefully gifted a digital copy of the book, which is able to be purchased at Smashwords.com, and I started tearing through it like so much meat on the bone. It looks a little daunting at first, but once you sink your teeth in, there’s no going back. Let’s dive right in!
The book centers around a group of old friends, with the main-ish character being a Professor who gets together with said friends to play a game called Mako Assault. This game, however, is more than it is made out to be. I won’t spoil it, because that would not be fair, but think along the lines of the anime .Hack, except your brain won’t explode when trying to decipher everything. The game is seriously difficult, and this group of friends is the first to complete it, but in doing so, they set themselves on a course for an even greater adventure. Now you guys all know I love me some adventure, and this will give you quite a bit of it. Between what happens later on in the book, to even the beginning, you are going to find something that can be considered quest worthy. Just the way they talk about the game makes it sound as if it is a real life thing, and not something they log on to play. Ian’s descriptions and dialogue is top notch, even if it may run a bit long, but then again, I would rather havegreat, long dialogue than crappy short dialogue. You will feel like these characters are real life friends, and not just people created for the sake of the story. Their conversations flow rather naturally, and it seems like they were based on some of his own real life friends. Trust me, as a struggling author and article writer, dialogue is not that easy, but he makes it seem like cake work. Check out my “What They Should Have Done” articles if you want some sweet Arthur dialogue.
Now it is not to say that this book is perfect, because it can definitely wear on some people, for example, the nitpickers…..you know who you are. I understand that a lot of people like to lose themselves in their stories, but sometimes you need to look and read certain things without losing your shit over some little detail or some little bubble of dialogue you did not agree with. Calm down. I read some reviews on this book from some readers, and what I saw was mostly praise, but there are a few people who decided that the fact that something, and I will try to be rather vague so as to not spoil the story, is one way and technically should be another way, and it either ruined the book for them, or took them out of the mindset needed to lose themselves in the story. That, I thought was a bit ridiculous. Granted, it is their opinion and their hobby so they can do with it as they please, but I just found it a bit dehumanizing to read some of the things people will pull out of their asses and shove into their mouths just to make it seem like they understood the story better than the author did, which is out of control. I have no problem with reading reviews and criticism, but sometimes people can take it a bit far.
Anyways, like I said there is always something that someone can pick out to hate on for any number of reasons, but I couldn’t find too many to be honest. I suspended my author-ness for a while and just became a simple reader, and in that mindset, I found many things to enjoy about this book, like the already mentioned dialogue, the characters and the setting, but one thing I did not enjoy all that much was the aspect of a specific place being a little too familiar. Not to say that it was terrible, but in that specific setting where literally everything is possible(space fiction), it felt a little too close to home, if you catch my drift. When I read Hyperion by Dan Simmons, I thought that we were on another planet the whole time, and the sights, sounds and smell of that planet were foreign to me, but in this story, you can almost smell the planet in its familiarity. Not necessarily a bad thing as I definitely can get down with some alternate Earth stories or familiar planet stories, but most of the time when I go into foreign territory, I want it to be foreign and strange, yet beautiful and fantastical.
I tore through the rest of the book and finished it in less time than I originally quoted myself. In my former mindset of this being a graphic novel, I said two days for read and review, and it has turned into just about 2-3 weeks. I felt bad for taking so long, but even though I was reading whenever I could, I still thought it would take me at least another couple weeks to get this all wrapped up. Luckily, I found some free time over the weekend and finished it, so here we are. When at last I turned the final page, I didn’t do what I normally do, and move onto something else. I let it sit and be absorbed by my brain a bit longer than usual, and I am thankful for that decision. It let me properly digest what I had just read, and it let me form a bit more of a solid opinion on it rather than just reading it for the sake of the review. Between the characters, settings, dialogue and everything else packed into the book, my mind had more than enough stuff to sift through and try to put onto digital paper. It’s also not one of those books that weighs you down with needless comments and inner workings of a deeper meaning. It has its moments, much like all books where it will drop a nugget of truth on you and make you think deeper thoughts, but It lays everything on the table for you, and doesn’t ask you to sit at home for weeks on end trying to decipher the meaning of each and every word or sequence. It’s a nice diversion from the Thrones heavy summer I had.
The best thing about this book is the fact that it is an indie title. It’s not one of those books you’ll see at your local book store, which is unfortunate, but it adds to its charm because you know this person did his best to churn out what he thought was a great story and something people would enjoy, which it absolutely is. He didn’t write the book for money or to appease a specific audience, he wrote the book because he wanted to, and he wanted to share his story with anyone who wanted to read it. For that, and pardon my use of vulgarity here, I fucking commend you Ian. I know a lot of authors do the same thing, and we cannot commend them enough for that. Luckily, I am in a position where I can do just that for Ian, and that is what I am going to do. I hope this doesn’t sound like too much author favoritism or anything of the like, but when you find something you enjoy, you want to talk about it as long as you possibly can. This book is seriously something you should all check out, even if you aren’t a fan of the genre, in which case you should be. I would recommend this to anyone, and as you all know, Arthur loves giving you guys suggestions, so take my word on it. I wouldn’t recommend anything to you guys unless it was worth your time, which it is. I cannot wait to grab volume two, when it does come out, and I would not be opposed to reviewing that one too *wink wink*. Once again, go over to Smashwords.com, and get yourself a digital copy of MAKO by Ian J. Malone. Trust me, you’ll enjoy this.