The Crew (The God Dust Saga #1) by Sadir S. Samir

The first sentence of The Crew made me groan. Every sentence thereafter pulled me further in.

I’ll be frank, The Crew is not a literary masterpiece. The prose is ham-fisted and graceless from the first line, that is, when it isn’t committing errors that should have been edited out. The main characters are mostly following the same trends and tropes I’ve seen a hundred times. By the numbers, I shouldn’t have even finished this book.

I am giving it four stars anyway, and I considered giving it five. I cannot overstate how much stupid fun this book is, but I’m going to try.

The Crew is a big mercenary job set in a world where mortals eat or snort the dust of elder gods to gain special abilities. These abilities vary in every manner possible, bringing all the gall of 90s shonen anime to the table. Drop all that in a world that’s like a Middle-Eastern steampunk western with demons from another dimension living among humans, and you’ll have the foundation for The Crew.

Each page drops delightfully insane events, carried by a crew of characters that mix off-the-wall and serious intrigue perfectly. The ham-fisted prose manages to mix in a self-aware tone without breaking the world’s stakes or immersion.

Some specifics. There is a character named Vashi that shows up, and he is hysterical and yet totally played straight. Varcade, the character in the middle front of the cover, is exactly a clueless anime protagonist brought to life, and I love him. More serious characters lik Baaq and Edghar lend the story some weight, but each have their own awesome moments and hilarious hangups that somehow make the characters that much more vibrant.

If you can’t handle a few manuscript errors, clunky prose, and a story that matches and makes the most of that clunky prose, don’t bother picking this one up. It is not a masterpiece, and you aren’t going to find the heart you’d find in other comedic stories like Kings of the Wyld.

If you want a zany adventure with originality and bizzaro humor seeping out of every pore, The Crew delivers that in spades. It is its own thing, and I enjoyed reading it.

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