This is a spoiler-free review so yippee ki yay motherf***ers.
‘When coin-up machine junkie Zak spots a rare, limited-edition toy figure (that ‘speaks to him’ from inside his local amusement arcade’s new claw-grab machine) he becomes obsessed with winning her – even if it means putting his job, finances, and relationship with increasingly impatient girlfriend Steph in jeopardy.’
After the surprise of not hating the last Adrian Baldwin book I read, I went back for more. I mostly hate stuff, so when I find a writer that almost makes my lips curl upwards instead of downwards (I forget what the word for such a thing is), I dig my hooves in.
‘Egor’s Emporium’ is the second in Baldwin’s “Strange Shorts” series. Once again, you’ll notice the effort that’s gone into the book presentation – very impressive. So impressive, in fact, that I almost had a positive emotion when I looked at it.
The protagonist is quite relatable (if you’re a human and not a superior being – a goat – like myself, of course). Zak will make you roll your eyes and wish he’d just get a grip and see sense, but in a funny way. He becomes obsessed with a particular grabber machine – something that many folk can relate to. You always think that the ‘next turn’ will be the one that wins you the prize. The next thing you know, all your money is gone and you’re trying to barter with the arcade attendant for that cheaply-made crap you’d never normally want but for some reason now can’t live without.
The pacing lends itself well to the dark humour of this story – things just keep escalating for Zak and getting worse in ways that shouldn’t make you laugh, but will. As with ‘Pied!’ (the first short), I think a lot of the laughs come out of the main character’s general disposition: the sort of casual, down-trodden way he responds to the things that happen to him – which in no way is actually an equivocal consequence of his actions.
I liked the way that Baldwin wrote about the amusement arcade, and also the other characters. He brought the whole setting and everyone in it to life.
This is the kind of story with a plot entirely out of the bounds of reality (if you take what’s happening to Zak literally and on face value), but because it’s so firmly rooted in the plain old normal world, you can just accept and go along with it.
Once again, the author delivers a very entertaining and comic read. I’d recommend it to people who have personalities.
If you’d like to get yourself a copy, you can do so here:
If you’d like to know more about Adrian Baldwin and his other works, you can find his website here:
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