What would happen if every geek reference you made or every comic you read gave you the power to fight otherworldly creatures? Geekomancy, by Michael Underwood, combines the answer to that question with a heroine that fits into fandom perfectly. With a job in a nerdy comic book and coffee shop (Café Xiao), Ree Reyes is working her days away until her screenwriting career takes off. Ree has a love for the DC Universe and baking pastries. A life of eating and hanging out with friends takes a strange turn when a disheveled man rushes into Café Xiao demanding a very specific graphic novel. Blood dripping for his fingers, the man drops a 20$ and runs out of the shop. Ree tries to shrug off the incident, but later in the evening is confronted by a large troll and the man from the shop. Eastwood, as he is nicknamed, takes her into a world where fandoms and geek love actually give their wielders magic powers. The world is dangerous and filled with all types of magic. Ree works with Eastwood to try and end a rash of suicides that are magically induced throughout the city. However, Eastwood may not be what he seems.
Michael Underwood writes a geek world that was so detailed it felt like he has a convention room floor in his head. From references to Gen Con, to knowing the exact number of times Inigo Montoya says “you killed my father, prepare to die” in The Princess Bride, the pages are soaked with geek knowledge and phrases. For those readers embroiled in Buffy, Firefly and Star Wars, the language flows easily and causes a great deal of laughter. Underwood has a light humorous tone, even during graphic sequences. Ree’s snark acts as a defense mechanism to introduce the reader to difficult situations while still keeping them “on the side of the angels.” A strength of the Ree character is how normal she is. She is nerdy, confused, in debt; best of all she actually eats! So many of the descriptions in the book are of great pizza joints, bars and “crack fries” that I found myself actually salivating. If only Michael Underwood would give his readers a list of the actual locations for these foods.
The only true weakness of Geekomancy is the fact that the references will not last. For those readers who have never picked up a D20 and don’t understand why some light sparkly vampire bashing is funny, the book will quickly turn confusing. In a fan realm where attention is fleeting, references to Twilight now seem stale. Not as many fans will know Buffy the Vampire word for word, and few fans know the power of the collected editions of Star Wars. For slightly older readers who went through these times, the book is laugh out loud funny. For the poor unfortunate souls who have never seen Firefly a great deal will go right over the head.
Geekomancy is an enjoyable read, hitting on almost every major fandom from Doctor Who to Supernatural. With a quick wit and hilarious descriptions, Michael Underwood has written a book that will fill the void of hiatus season and bring a smile to fans of butt-kicking female characters.
Geekomancy is available now.