At the risk of sounding like a drooling fangirl (can we get a club going? Maybe get some Tshirts or something?) I’m gonna jump right in and say that Chuck Wendig has done it yet again. The magical unicorn author of profanity and wonderfulness, whose party I’m always late to, has written another book that I can’t say anything bad about and am giving another 5/5 severed head rating to because dammit, these books deserve to have a loud, vocal fan base, and Chuck Wendig deserves to be writing for another 20 years.
The addition of Blue Blazes to his repertoire has officially secured a place for Chuck Wendig in my (currrent) top 5 favourite authors.*
I suppose that I should actually get to the review of the book otherwise I’m just gonna sit here and talk about how awesome I think that Chuck Wendig is. (Ha ha, there’s still at least 2 of his books that I haven’t read yet and once I do you’ll have to deal with me fan girling all over the place again.)
So, THE BLUE BLAZES is about a mob peon… no, maybe peon isn’t the right word. Mooki Pearl is an enforcer for the local mob. He deals with all the big nasty things that go bump in the night. Or, in this case, in the underground expanse called The Great Below, which is where the substance known as The Blue Blazes, comes from. Blue (as it’s known. Or Cerulean. Or the Peacock. Or.. well, you get the idea!) is a performance enhancing drug. It gives you superhuman strength and stamina and it lets you see things for what they really are. (In this case, goblins and all that kind of stuff.) It’s a big market and Mookie’s Boss, the leader of The Organization, has his dirty fingers all over the distribution of the Blue. So any threat to the Blue market is taken very seriously.
So of COURSE that has to happen! That’s the conflict. However, that’s only the top layer of the conflict in this book; the conflict isn’t quite what you think it is. It’s not just about the Blue. It never was. That’s too small scale, and that’s doubly true for a Wendig book. (IMHO, if you’ll forgive my speculation and conjecture.) You’ve got a great conspiracy, a monster problem, murder, mayhem, and some great stereotypes at play. I love the brisk pace of this book, the clues dropped at what was happening, the self-sustaining mythology of the world and the underworld, did I mention the characters? Because the characters are pretty awesome. (I kinda fell accidentally in love with some of these people, they’re all so unique that you can’t help but like ’em all. Even if most of them are assholes.)
Basically, take some gritty noir, a bit of mobster movies, throw in some anti-heroes, then stir it all up with the nightmarish Underdark from D&D and put it in a blender with some psychotropic drugs and you basically have THE BLUE BLAZES. This is the D&D campaign I wish that I could have run. This is basically the D&D campaign YOU WISH your DM would run.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, it’s a 5/5 gold star must-read.
Please read this book. Please buy it. And if you love it, go buy a second copy to give to a friend or loved one. (Hell, give it to a mortal enemy, but make sure that you throw it really hard and aim for their head.)
Have you read it? Do you have opinions? Leave me a comment!
*My top 5 favourite authors changes regularly, depending on my mood and what’s available. It’s also a random list in no particular order.