ONLINE SUMMARY: Emily Monroe may be a lot of things, but one thing is for sure, she is NOT the Chosen One.
Emily is a normal girl working at Big Burger who has the unfortunate luck to look exactly like Big City’s superhero darling, the Chosen One.
It has been the bane of her existence as it disrupts her life and those around her when super villains come knocking, wanting to prove their mettle by fighting the Chosen One. Nobody listens when she insists she isn’t who they think she is.
With common sense and years of rage built up inside, she usually serves their butts to them on a platter, asking “Did you want fries with that?” No cape required.
MY REVIEW: When I read the Amazon sample for Emily Monroe Is Not The Chosen One, it sounded like it would be fun. A lot of my reading is on the heavier side and the sample seemed kind of tongue-in-cheek, so I asked myself, “Why not?” As I continued reading past the end of the sample, the light-hearted style remained but plot elements gradually became more serious, displaying a complexity I didn’t expect. The inclusion of a couple of subplots enriched things as well, so this is not quite the simple comic book-style yarn I expected.
The main character’s voice is immediately engaging, creating someone you’d love to know in real life, someone you can laugh with, sympathize with, and, most important, respect and admire. I love strong female characters — see “About me ‘n’ the blog” on my home page* — and Emily certainly qualifies: She lives in a world populated by many people with superhuman powers, ranked on a 50-point scale. She weighs in at only 0.1%, the lowest measureable amount of power, but she can hold her own against numerous villains without major damage to her body. Though the reason is partly selfpreservation, Emily also has a need to protect others just as if she did have superpowers.
Emily’s also the main source of the story’s humor. Her “aw, man” tagline, is varied in spelling, adding a’s, or w’s in successive utterances indicating her growing exasperation as bad things continue to beset her. It’s a simple, but clever device. Her various interjections verge on the laugh-out-loud; my favorite: holy, sea-humping radish farts. (Punctuation, mine, about which more, later.)
The other main character, Heather, also the superheroine Photon, makes a nice counterpoint to Enily. She’s just as snarky and she accepts Emily as she is, not condescending because of the other woman’s 0.1 power ranking. Her cluelessness as to how her powers affect others is a nice touch. Neither woman is a Mary Sue, for sure.
I have nothing against a well-written, non-porny sex scene, but I appreciate how Schubach leaves it to our imaginations. Still, Emily implies the couple’s hook-ups are frequent and, possibly, toe-curling. We’re happy for her as a result.
Schubach is, at least in this instance, a fine storyteller with firm command of his 1st person narrator’s voice. The actual writing is much more problematic, however; grammatical errors, awkward syntax, and the frequent absence of some very necessary punctuation are a considerable distraction. When used with discretion, sentence fragments can be effective; here, they’re so common, it seems as if the author may not even be aware they’re not complete sentences.
And, if I run across another instance of “phase” when it should be “faze”, I may put my fist through the screen of whichever device, laptop, tablet or phone I happen to be using.**
Frankly, the novella reads like a first draft, published without even a single reread. This shows disrespect for the reader and continually interrupts the narrative flow. It renders what could have been a terrific reading experience, something only a little above average and that, only because the story itself is so good.
In short, this is a terrifically entertaining story betrayed by careless execution. Despite all the above, Emily Monroe Is Not The Chosen One: Night Shift, is still worth a read thanks to its entertaining storyline, unbridled humor and a great protagonist.
** I’ve read several other Amazon samples of Schubach’s works and the same gaffe appears in every one. Oh, well, at least it’s not “taught” when it should be “taut”. Sigh.