May 9, 2011

Review: Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez

Chasing the Moon
Author: A. Lee Martinez
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 0316093556
Release Date: May 25, 2011
Pre-Order information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher via NetGalley

For more information please visit A. Lee Martinez's website.

Diana's life was in a rut - she hated her job, she was perpetually single, and she needed a place to live. But then the perfect apartment came along. It seemed too good to be true - because it was.

As it turns out, the apartment was already inhabited - by monsters. Vom the Hungering was the first to greet Diana and to warn her that his sole purpose in life was to eat everything in his path. This poses a problem for Diana since she's in his path...and is forbidden from ever leaving the apartment.

It turns out though that there are older and more ancient monstrous entities afoot - ones who want to devour the moon and destroy the world as we know it. Can Diana, Vom, and the other horrors stop this from happening? Maybe if they can get Vom to stop eating everything...and everyone.
Fans of campy 50's sci-fi will love Chasing the Moon, an amusingly bizarre mix of 'Mork and Mindy' meets the 'Hooneymooners' with a 'Twilight Zone' twist. Fun, creative and out of this world, Martinez definitely lets his imagination soar in this fun frolic through dimensionally challenged monsters and outlandish werewolf cults!

The world building, as bizarre as it may be, was quite entertaining as reality gets put on its ear. Great descriptions and intricately complex theories that leave your brain a quivering mass of jelly leave the reader to take on the stance of the protagonist, just stop trying to understand and go with the flow. The campy science fiction twist is definitely what had me hooked though as there's something so...mundane about all the craziness that Diana is met with. But, as outlandish as all of this may seem, Martinez does a wonderful job of making it approachable and even makes the adventure fun with adequate action and some great humor along the way.

The characters are all extremely likable, even the supposed 'villian' Calvin.  Diana is a fun protagonist to follow as she tries to come to terms with her new immortal role as caretaker to the invisible horrors that roam the face of the Earth. She's intelligent, witty and above all else, sort of resigned to her new place in the world despite her struggles to extricate herself. Along the way she meets many strange and interesting creatures, the most lovable of which is Vom the Devourer. With an unending appetite and a penchant for eating his wardens, Vom is often the cause of much of the hilarity spouting any thought that settles in to his mind as well as eating anything that will fit in his stomachs. But, the host of other creatures that take up residence within Diana's ever expanding and accommodating apartment are all likewise enjoyable with unique personalities and interesting roles. For instance Smorgaz, a hedgehog like creature that spawns replicas of himself constantly. That is his purpose sole purpose, to spawn. But, he's also got a wonderfully normal personality, but like Vom, says whatever thing pops in to his mind. The seemingly random, deadpan delivery often had me laughing and shaking my head.

Martinez definitely has a writing style that fits the atmosphere and world building that novel demanded. There's a sort of 'Leave it to Beaver' tone that makes the insanity all the more hilarious and the situations all the more improbable. The only thing that I can legitimately compare it to would be 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe'. While the plot may be a little slow in coming, the sense of discovery at seeing what Martinez will expose readers to next definitely drove me on.

In the end, this was an amusing read that definitely spoke to my love of campy science fiction. Fans of 'The Hitchhikers Guide' will enjoy this read, but it's not something that I would recommend to readers who enjoy a lot of action. More to readers who like a sense of whimsy with a great sense of humor as a kicker.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Scars

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