Title: The Cosmic Misfortunes of the Furious Ginger
Author: S. J. Maddock
Publication date: August 29, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: Ginger-haired Kimchi McQuade is a lackluster longevity scientist seeking the key to immortality. Due to his research interest, he is quickly tapped by the mysterious Order of the Moon Rabbit to meet with Dr. Daitsuke Endo, another longevity scientist of great renown. However, he arrives to find Endo dead. The mysterious Zeus, who arranged for his visit in the first place, alerts him to danger and sends him careening on a journey that takes him from Japan to Korea to Russia to Mars, and straight into the hands of the enemy, the Skolkovo Syndicate.
This felt like equal parts science fiction and thriller with a good dose of, perhaps not laugh out loud humor, but lighthearted moments that made the novel fun and a more pleasant read. I can’t say I fully appreciated all the humor as, at times, it felt a little tiring or I just didn’t understand or appreciate it. Still, this was thrilling to a degree and a good bit of fun.
The Characters: It Was All About the Furious Ginger
The book mostly followed the story of the Furious Ginger, Kimchi McQuade. He was really the only character of note. There were plenty of others, some of whom had more important roles, but Kimchi was really the most interesting one and I felt like he was the only one I really got to know.
Much of the humor and ridiculousness came from Kimchi, though his homebot Flyboy was a very close second. As a matter of fact, I think Flyboy was probably my favorite even though he wasn’t seen much. I loved his attitude and the interactions between him and Kimchi were most amusing.
I must say there wasn’t much in the way of character development, but, somehow, I didn’t really care. I loved that Kimchi really seemed to try to not be serious. It was fun and prevented this from being a dark, twisty thriller. It made it easier to focus more on the science fiction elements, which I think were the main points of this book.
The Setting: It Was Fun to Visit Mars
This book took place partially on future Earth and partially on Mars. Both were quite well-developed and, since the main reason why Mars was being terraformed and slowly colonized was the rapid decline of Earth, the world building made a lot of sense. From how the Earth was described, it made sense that intelligent life might want to abandon a slowly deteriorating world for another.
Earth felt like Earth, but of the future. It was easy to see how the future developments overlaid the present in order for this future to be envisioned. After all, this book isn’t set too far into the future, making me wonder if the author was making comments on the present state of society. I wouldn’t argue his point if he was.
Mars was most remarkable. I’m not much of a science person, but what the author presented in terms of making Mars habitable made sense. Whether it’s actually possible, well, you’ll have to ask someone with a more scientifically bent mind. I thought it was interesting and believable. I mean, I wouldn’t want to live on Mars, but it was kind of cool to be able to explore the geography through this book.
The Plot: A Thrilling Sci-Fi
This was the story of an unsuspecting man who is plunged into a world where two groups are working to undo each other and get the upper hand. Kimchi is caught between the Order of the Moon Rabbit and the Skolkovo Syndicate. One wants to destroy Earth and restart the world on Mars (the Skolkovo Syndicate) and the other is working to prevent them from reaching their goals.
This isn’t quite a thriller, but it was certainly thrilling. There was an air of danger, especially since Kimchi had a habit of finding himself in tight spaces. The first two-thirds were quite interesting as he was led from country to country with little understanding of what was going on. It sometimes felt like it was moving at breakneck speed as wrenches were thrown into plans and it became difficult to tell which side was in the right and which side Kimchi should believe.
I’m much saddened to say I didn’t quite enjoy the introduction to Mars. There were a few chapters that were more dedicated to exploring Mars than further developing the story. In fact, it felt like the story hit pause. I didn’t quite understand why the characters had to be taken on a 3 day tour of the planet and some interesting features. The focus shifted to world exploring and felt a bit tedious to read. I had to fight to not zone out while reading.
The last quarter, though, was back to the thrill. It had a quick pace with something always happening. This was when the two sides really came face to face and even I had a hard time telling who was telling the truth and who Kimchi should believe. I think Kimchi was more firm in whom he believed than I was! It was fun and I kept wanting to read.
Overall: A Fun, Cohesive Novel
Overall, this was a fun book. There were some moments that I didn’t particularly enjoy, but it was cohesive with some great elements. I loved the science even though I didn’t understand it and the thrills kept me reading. I wish more had been said about the longevity research, but, while it was the instigating point, it wasn’t really the point of the book.
How many cups of tea will you need?
4 cups of tea will do nicely
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Thank you to the author, S. J. Maddock, for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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