Going forward I intend to get a little more in depth on my book reviews, rather, there will at least be more structure to them. To that end after talking with Derek, we’ve decided to base our reviews on the four pillars of fiction: Plot, Characters, Worldbuilding, and Prose. Each category will get a rating from 1 to 5, which will give an overall average!
So first up I have the excellent Scattered, Smothered, and Chunked by John G. Hartness! A collection of short stories about Bubba the Monster Hunter, this book is a fun as the title and leading character would lead you to think!
Plot: What begins as a series of standalone stories begins to morph into a larger overarching storyline that left me wanting more, far more! I think this is where Hartness’s greatest strength lies, and is why I give it a rating of 5.
Characters: Bubba at first seems a hyper-stereotypical redneck cliché. But as the stories progress I found a surprising depth to him as a character. As you peel back the layers on his worst traits, and find out the origin of why he is the way that he is, he became real to me. I would like to see more of Skeeter going forward would be my only quibble. I would be interested to see him outside of the context of playing sidekick to Bubba. 4.25.
Worldbuilding: As a book that takes place in our own world, just a more monster filled version thereof, there isn’t much to be done in the way of worldbuilding. I do like that Hartness worked in some monsters somewhat outside the ‘normal’ bevy of baddies, like the Rakshaha. And some of his spins on the more typical horror fair were enjoyable as well. 4.
Prose: The prose is punchy and pulpy. Hartness is no Rothfuss when it comes to chaining together words, but there aren’t any glaring problems. The words convey what they need in a workmanlike and humorous way, which really is what you want in a book like this. Too flowery and it would have clashed with the tone and feel of the book. There were a few typos I noticed, but nothing outrageous. 3.75.
Final Score: 4.25
Treat yourself to a copy here.