My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
As the year draws to a close a mysterious stranger makes a proposition to club owner, Warren Charlton. It’s a deal involving a brand new drug called Pandemonium. The good news: the drug is free. The bad news: it comes at a heavy price, promising much but delivering far more. Euphoria and ecstasy. Death and depravity. All come together, at Discoredia.
Discoredia is the story of a rave gone awry, and I can’t decide what I think about it. While it’s well-imagined, it’s not well-executed. It’s visceral, but ugly. Pulse-pounding, but haphazard. I can’t decide if this book is what the author intended or if it’s something that got away from him.
First, I was distracted and dismayed at how grammatically error-ridden this book was: Misplaced commas, missing apostrophes, and incorrect homonyms (“heal” for “heel” is an easy one, guys). It distracted from the work, and sometimes I slogged when I should have glided. The blame for this I place squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Michael’s small press publisher, Books of the Dead Press. If this passed over the desk of a professional copy editor, which I doubt, I’d fire that person immediately.
*Steps on soap box*
I’m disappointed on behalf of authors everywhere, and on behalf of Mr. Michael, specifically. With traditional publishing more cut-throat than ever and self-publishing becoming a viable option, small presses need to work harder than ever to prove their worth. The non-existent editing in this manuscript tells me that this publisher isn’t serious about contending in the marketplace.
*Steps off soap box*
Besides that, I’m not the book’s intended audience. While I vehemently support freedom of choice in all hot-button political issues, I’m not interested in imbibing, swallowing, injecting, or snorting drugs. I will occasionally have one glass of wine too many, and the next day is enough to remind me why I do that once per year. This book was written to capture the adrenaline-laced, hallucinatory high that common rave drugs induce. I’m only mildly interested, mostly from an academic perspective. I don’t understand drug use, and consequently, drug users.
Ultimately, I didn’t like the haphazard storytelling. Too many things were left swinging in the wind: Unresolved back story, a plot that dragged for too long and ended too soon once things started getting interesting, dubious villain motivation, and a cacophony of characters that I couldn’t make sense of. Part of me wonders if those elements were purposeful, but part of me suspects it simply needed a heavy developmental edit along with its need for copy edits.
Despite the drawbacks, I never regretted reading this book. If, unlike me, you can remove the stick from your rectal orifice long enough to dive into the badass shit going down, you’ll enjoy this book. The writer has voice and potential.