The War Against the Assholes

Author: Sam Munson 
Pages: 261 
Publisher: Saga Press 
Format: Paperback (ARC) 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Contemporary fantasy meets true crime when schools of ancient sorcery go up against the art of the long con in this stunningly entertaining debut fantasy novel.

Mike Wood is satisfied just being a guy with broad shoulders at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan. But on the dirty streets of New York City he’s an everyman with a moral code who is unafraid of violence. And when Mike is unwittingly recruited into a secret cell of magicians by a fellow student, Mike’s role as a steadfast soldier begins. These magicians don’t use ritualized rote to work their magic, they use willpower in their clandestine war with the establishment: The Assholes.

My Summary: Mike has grown up in New York City knowing that he's nothing special. Sure, he has broad shoulders and can hold his own, but that doesn't really mean much in a place where everyone is twenty different types of talented. Especially not at his school, where there are hundreds of other guys just like him - all destined to grow up to be completely mediocre.

But that's before Mike is pulled into a shady club of sorts by a fellow classmate, and everything he thought he knew is proved false. Now, with something to prove and something to aspire to, Mike finds himself realizing just how disgusted he is by the life of mediocrity he had previously resigned himself to. 

He's determined to help win The War, even if he has to die trying.

My Thoughts: I had no expect when I cracked open The War Against the Assholes, but if the title was any indication, it was going to be a wild ride. 

I loved the dark, gritty atmosphere of the novel - it really made you feel as if you were experiencing the shady underside of New York City. Days later, thinking about the novel summoned up visions of Mikes New York: smog and grey skies, skyscrapers and dreary streets.

I really enjoyed the Fight Club-esque vibe of the novel, and fans of the novel will definitely be able to find similarities; Mike is an everyman kind of character - a little bland, kind of difficult to connect with (for me personally) but as the story continues you see him twisted and shaped into something new and slightly terrifying. 

The "ancient conflict" aspect was also really interesting. I love anything to do with historical cults or groups and this was right up my alley. It also kind of posed (and answered) the question, "what if meat-heads were given magic powers?". You'll have to check this book out for the answer!

Although the plot was really engaging, I had a little trouble (at first) getting into the choppy writing style. This was entirely due to my own preferences though - not a problem with the writing itself. Once I was a few chapters in, the writing melted away and the plot took over. I think others will definitely enjoy it as it is.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to fans of adventure novels, as well as mystery and suspense. Fans of Fight Club should check it out as well!

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