|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Cameron, an Ordinary High School Student (with a bit of a pot problem), is cruising through his 16th year of life with low expectations and very few problems.
Fortunately, a bit of hope arrives in the form of Dulcie, an angel with a chocolate addiction, a hatred for snowglobes, and good taste in punk outfits. She tells him that in order to live, he has to find Dr. X, who tried to open a portal into an alternate dimension and ended up pulling dark energy through, which is what caused all of Cam's new problems. So he embarks on an insane road trip with Gonzo, a death-paranoid gamer dwarf, and meets along the way a lawn gnome who happens to be the Norse god Balder. Their mission? Save the world, get a cure for Cam, and maybe even discover what really matters in life.
Yes, it's just as insane as it sounds. But it's really good, even if you just take it all at face value. It includes, along with the Urban Fantasy candy-coating, some brilliant satire and a Coming of Age Story as a delicious, gooey caramel center. And maybe some frosting or sprinkles. Or even nougat. Mmm... nougat....
Written by Libba Bray, the author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy.
- Badass: Balder. But really, what do you expect? He's a freaking Norse god!
- Big Bad: The Wizard of Reckoning.
- The Big Easy: A large portion of plot significant stuff happens in New Orleans.
- Brand X: Let's see... ConstaToons, Rad XL soda, and...
- Burger Fool: Buddha Burger.
- Cluster F-Bomb: These little beauties are smattered throughout the book. Don't read it while swearing-sensitive people are around.
- Chekhov's Running Gag: The Copenhagen Interpretation. Their music is what sent Dr. X on his trip to an alternate dimension and is what ends up saving the world.
- Shithenge, started off as an off-hand joke about a kid's project. One point "Shithenge" is written on a t-shirt.
- Church of Happyology: Almost literally, with CESSNAB (Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack-'N'-Bowl).
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Just before Cameron and Dulcie resolve their UST.
Cameron: "If we do this, will I die?"
Dulcie: "Everyone's dying, Cameron. A little, every day. Make it count."
Without another word, she pulls me to her. Those huge, soft wings fold around me like I'm being held for the first time. Like I'm drifting toward that black hole in the sky and I'm not afraid.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The Copenhagen Interpretation's music is so awesome it ripped a hole between universes. And Junior Webster is an incredible jazz trumpeteer. Too bad you can't hear any of it, since this is a book.
- Disney Theme Parks: Cameron describes the high point of his life as when he went on the "It's A Small World" ride when he was five. The climax also takes place on the same ride.
- First-Person Smartass: Since the book is narrated by Cameron....
- Gainax Ending
- Invisible to Normals: Dulcie, who remarks that it's kind of sad that people only see what they expect to.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Dulcie. 'Nuff said.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: See Mind Screw below.
- Mind Screw: And how! Is Cameron dying in the hospital of mad cow disease, or taking a crazy road trip? Is Dulcie just a figment of his imagination guiding him on a possible hallucinatory road trip? What happened to Gonzo at the end of the book? Where the hell is Cameron at the end? Was Cameron hallucinating that chase scene? Why is microwave popcorn so good, and what does Tobias Plummer and all that stuff that ends up getting read on tabloids and billboards have to do with the plot?!
- Sex Equals Love: Averted. Cameron finally gets to sleep with his crush, Staci, but she's pretty smashed and nothing comes of it afterward — she walks out on him afterward.
- Shout-Out: ConstaToons constantly shows Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons.
- A tall, thin, half-crazy guy drags his short, squat, far more down-to-earth best friend on half-hallucinatory adventures against threats no one else understands, pulled forward by "Dulcie", the crazy's love interest, riding around in their smashed-up, puttering mode of transportation, the Rocinante. Does anything ring a bell here? Anything?
- Plus they live in Hidalgo, Texas.
- The Stoner: There's three of them, hanging out in the Calhoun High School fourth-floor bathroom.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: Cessnab.
- Tear Jerker: This troper cried a bit when at the end Cameron finds out that he lived by experiencing all this, understands, and then dies
- Mitigated by the fact that he gets to spend the rest of his afterlife with Dulcie. Hell yes.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Holy Shiite Muslim!" Odd, considering that euphemisms never really popped up before it.
- Windmill Crusader: There is constant doubt as to whether Cameron's cross-country adventure is really happening, or if it's all hallucination.