by Max Wirestone
Review by KM
I walked into yesterday with a huge grin on my face. There was no containing my excitement. “Guild Wars 2: Game of Thorns has a release date,” I said to my coworker with glee, “October 23. It’s right before my birthday. I’m pumped!”
None of my coworkers are geeks, but they all know I am. I’ve never been mocked for it and I wave my geek flag proudly. It’s really no surprise that I leaped on a book like The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss. With a d20 on the cover and a summary that referenced some of my favorite videos and shows, I was elated to get approved for the eARC. I couldn’t wait to bust in and poor SA had to listen to be ramble on about how much I loved the beginning.
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.
I think I felt this way because Dahlia Moss was always offended when people assumed she was a geek. She didn’t want to be labeled as such and tried to pretend she wasn’t. And while this felt annoying by itself, the way people determined her geekiness were so friggin’ fake. The two examples that came up multiple times: Star Wars and Pokemon. Pretty much everyone you encounter in life is going to know where the line, “Use the Force, Luke,” came from. They’re going to be able to identify Pikachu and, yes, most of them can identify Jigglypuff. This is even more so since the 90s generation that spent their childhoods with Pokemon are now adults.
I can’t tell you how many times the same examples of Pokemon and Star Wars were used. I can tell you there was *one* reference to Magic the Gathering (despite the d20 on the cover and the chapter notices, which are used in tabletop and MtG, neither of which were featured in this book). I can tell you that I didn’t notice any Doctor Who references. There may have been one superhero one, but if there was, I missed it. There was a DOTA reference around page 50, which was the first remark of Dahlia doing anything that could be considered geeky on her own.