Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Big Egos by S.G. Browne

Publisher: Gallery Books
Date: August 6, 2013
Format: paperback
Source: publisher
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 364
Reading time: two days

From GoodReads: Call him whatever. Call him whomever. He can be any legally authorized fictional character or dead celebrity he wants for six to eight hours, simply by injecting a DNA-laced cocktail into his brain stem. It’s called Big Egos and it’s the ultimate role-playing fantasy from Engineering Genetics Organization and Systems (aka EGOS.) And, as one of the quality controllers for EGOS, he’s the ultimate ego-tripper, taking on more artificial identities than advisable—and having a hell of a time doing it. Problem is, he’s starting to lose the ability to separate fact from fiction. His every fantasy is the new reality. And the more roles he plays, the less of him remains. Sure, it’s dangerous. Yes, he’s probably losing his mind. Okay, hundreds of others could be at risk. But sometimes who you are isn’t good enough. And the truth is, reality is so overrated. . . .

My review: I'm of mixed opinions on this one. On the one hand, it has a lot of stuff I should love - satire, speculative fiction, pop culture and literary references, humor. Even the cover looks fantastic, and it pretty perfectly fits what you would expect from the cover of a speculative fiction satire. And yes, the novel is funny in places, and yes, it is an effective satire of modern life and our struggles with identity, with finding out who the "real me" is. Much of the book is a fast read that is simultaneously entertaining and insightful. I think it would make a great movie, one of those psychological mind-blowing thriller-type films that have been popular recently.

But then, for some reason, I was kind of let down overall. I either didn't understand the pop culture references or else found them far too shallow to be truly amusing. I was a bit confused with where the story was going and what, exactly, was happening. The ending was disappointing - I was left wondering "WTF?," unsure as to what the author intended with the final couple of pages. I felt like there were a lot of loose ends left behind, mostly about the ultimate fates of the characters. The conclusion and a good deal of what led up to it just felt unsatisfactory compared to the early promise of the rest of the book.

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