Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture. Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?
“If Buffy hooked up with Doctor Who while on board the Serenity, this book would be their lovechild. In other words, GEEKOMANCY is full of epic win.” – Marie Lu, author of Legend series. Honestly with that kind of endorsement, can any geek pass on this book?

Well Geekomancy is definitely a book written by a geek for geeks. It is a fun and entertaining story that combines what we love most about popular culture with a light-hearted mystery. I’m sure all geeks would love to have Ree’s power in the story, which is Genre Emulation. With Genre Emulation, Ree gains power by watching TV shows and movies and the more she identifies with the characters the stronger her power gets.

From a geek’s point of view, I love the little references and mentions littered throughout the book and the sudden aha moments that you get when you recognise where that line comes from. I also love the creativity and the way Underwood blends the source materials together in the story.

However from a reader’s point of view, the constant barrage of irrelevant references is distracting and feels like they are there simply to gain geek cred rather than to move the story along. To me the references feel forced, unlike in Ready Player One, where it happens naturally and all mentions to things like Dungeons and Dragons, WarGames and Joust are all necessary because they are integral parts of the story.

Since Ree’s case has a supernatural element to it, I thought a show such as Supernatural would fit perfectly as who can understand situation like this better than the hunters Sam and Dean Winchester? Instead the show was mentioned in a throwaway line and we see Ree stumble along with a bunch of fun but not terribly useful abilities.

I like magic systems with some type of rule, otherwise you can create any solution that you see fit in the story. And in some ways the magic in Geekomancy feels just like that. There are powerful magic artifacts just because they are somehow related to Popular Culture and there is magic for anything under the SFF sun, there’s even one that draws power from Bromance… Yeah it’s fun to read but theGeekomancy world just feels too chaotic and shallow to me.

To put it simply, if you are a geek then you will like this book because of the big fan service it provides. The story is a little uneven at times and even with the flaws I mentioned, the overall story has kept me entertained. It might not be the best thing that’s ever happened in the Geekdom but I’ll definitely recommended it to any geek that is looking for a light humourous read.