Review: THE BROTHERS CRUNK – An 8-Bit Fack-It-All Adventure in 2D by William Pauley III
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reynold and Divey Crunk run a “brackfas burrito” truck, using a mystery source of meat. After a car accident, Divey gets possessed by Vandenboom, leader of the Damned Dirt Devils, leading Reynold on a chase to get his brother back. This is a short synopsis without giving too many spoilers.
We start with an opening scene where the brothers try to trick their business partner into a game of Russian Roulette using an overpowered 1984-era Nintendo zapper. You remember that gray plastic pistol that came with the old 8-bit Nintendo consoles? Yeah, that’s the one.
Unfortunately, this felt like where the novel peaked. Being a huge fan of old-school games, not to mention a regular reader of Bizarro fiction titles, I wanted to like this book a lot more. But something about it just didn’t click for me. The references to Nintendo accessories being used as actual weapons felt tacked on and silly rather than clever or…well, bizarre.
The story felt very average and there seems to be some lack of motivation to the characters for their actions, or there are changes to character directions that, instead of making you go “Ooooo” with a sense of awe, make you go “huh?” with a sense of confusion.
A particular aspect to the novel that could have been played a little better in this regard was Pete, or rather Meat Pete. After being captured by Wasp Women, Reynold uses the meat for the brothers’ burritos made from Pete to reconstruct him as a pile of talking meat that only he can hear talking to him (it made me flashback to Pizza the Hut from “Spaceballs”). This seemed clever in a way, but at the same time felt like a lost opportunity that could have been used to greater effect. It should also make the case that gory does not equal bizarre. Don’t expect that slapping buckets of blood or fresh human meat all over a book will make it bizarre or clever (it doesn’t necessarily preclude it, just don’t rely on it).
Upon looking up the author, William Pauley III, it appears that this is not the first novel he’s written in this particular world, such as Doom Magnetic!, which would explain some of the passing reference that seemed like we were supposed to already know who or what some of these people were. This wasn’t clear from the book description and might have helped. Or it might not. I’m not sure. I may try to track down Doom Magnetic! and see if it helps in understanding and appreciating The Brothers Crunk a little more.
Don’t get me wrong here. I would not say that The Brothers Crunk is a bad book, but it felt rather mediocre. It’s short, so if you don’t like it, it won’t be major waste or time, or you could like it quite a bit and take more away from it than this reviewer did, which after reading some other reviews could very well be the case. It seems that this book may be very specific to the reader. There are aspects to like, but this reader ultimately found it disappointing.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2 stars for the book, meaning it was “OK;” however, I do want to add that the cover art is awesome and alone deserves 5 stars, so since we can’t give half stars on the system, The Brothers Crunk gets the benefit of the doubt and gets 3 stars).