Welcome to my review of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone, a curious mix of nerdy quirkiness with a heroine who seems to have missed the train to success, repeatedly.
Dahlia is a train wreck, albeit the train with the cow-catcher snugged on with duct tape, a few cracks in the windscreen and a curious mix of shiny and scrap-heaped cars following the engine. But there is joy to be found in the repeated mishaps, and a level of admiration for the heroine, Dahlia, and her willingness to turn the next corner even as all her experience says things will not go well.
A story full of nerdy RPG references, the unemployed and without prospects Dahlia is hired to find a stolen in-game item, which quickly morphs into a real-world murder mystery, where the victim is felled by the same item that Dahlia has been hired to find. More on the lines of a loosely plotted I Love Lucy Episode, the story never truly grabs onto any sense that this is more than a fantasy, I kept expecting this story to be a Dali-esque dream retelling, with perhaps Spielberg and Heinlein providing some of the elements.
While I do realize this was an ARC copy, the story was rough in construct: grammatical errors that should have been cleared before review copies were completed did make this read difficult. And there was a curious lack of development in Dahlia, her repeated fallback position was a cutesy comment or yet another outrageous plan destined to go awry: at some point I wanted her to LEARN something, but I will admit that the situations and extrications did have me laughing out loud. Often.
As a first peek into a new title, this was a solid effort – I hope that editing will tighten up the character weaknesses and fix the grammar, letting this story show the unique and quirky plot as just that, and not one that is consciously (and occasionally painfully) attempting to be funny and quirky. A fun read that needs work but shows some promise.
Title: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Author: Max Wirestone
Published by: Redhook
Published on: 20 October, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 45 minutes
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For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.