February 27, 2014 by mmileti
Dead Weight is the first installment of an independently published serialized novel. It is a wonderful example of a well written, engrossing, and original self-published novel that is pushing the norm of the format in which we read. This novel is an urban fantasy that takes place in San Francisco after the Faerie War, and even though it is only the first installment it is worth reading as a story in its own right.
The main character in this noir-like urban fantasy is Boy Scout; a veteran of the war that occurred after a realm was opened to the land of Faerie. Boy Scout has obviously been greatly affected by this conflict. He is a complex character, whose psychological state can be attributed to PTSD, guilt, and a convoluted personality. His attempt to hide from his past is completely shattered when Red Caps enter his home intending to kill him. Despite his best efforts, he is pulled back into the affairs of the denizens of Faerie, and this time he may not survive the encounter.
I thought that this story was very well written, and the plot was fast- paced and captivating. It did take me a little longer than usual to become immersed in the story because the mystery behind Boy Scout’s circumstances creates a good amount of confusion for the reader in the book’s beginning. Luckily, the plot does not take long to resolve itself into an intriguing tale that keeps the reader on the edge of his seat. I liked the moral ambiguity of Boy Scout’s character, and the pacing of the story and excitement of the plot line have guaranteed that I will be purchasing the rest of the installments for this book.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the seriousness of this book’s themes. At its heart, this is a story that makes the horrors of war tangible to the reader despite its fantastical elements. It is like a cross between The Things They Carried and The Dresden Files, and somehow this makes for a wonderful story. I can always be on board with a fantasy that makes me think hard about real issues.
Overall, I would rate this installment an 8/10.
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reading copy of this book from the author, even though I have done a poor job of putting up an advanced review.