We were prepared for an earthquake. We had a flood plan in place. We could even have dealt with zombies. Probably. But no one expected the end to be quite so…sticky…or strawberry scented.
Yahtzee Croshaw (Mogworld, Zero Punctuation Reviews) returns to audiobooks with a follow-up to his smash-hit debut: Jam, a dark comedy about the one apocalypse no one predicted.
©2012 Yahtzee Croshaw (P)2013 Yahtzee Croshaw
As a regular viewer of Yatzhee Crowshaw's video series: Zero Punctuation! I found myself excited to hear his obvious comedic prowess and engaging voice put into a novel form. And I have to say, it did not disappoint.
The story manages to walk that fine line that many stories fail to do, where it is a comedic parody, but still has engaging and interesting characters. I found myself getting genuinely attached to what happened to these characters, while still finding every other word out of their mouths hilarious, and finding the social commentaries that many of the characters, such as the "Plastic People", boiled down to quite clever and genuinely smart parody. I found myself laughing out load a few times while on the train (getting me a few weird looks), which is something few books get me to do.
As an Australian, I also liked reading a story set in Australia that isn't set on a farm, and every reference to Australia made me smile, since it made it easier for me to identify with the story than I usually would with a story set in, say, New York.
Yatzhee's soothing accent and tone voice was constantly engaging, and every character had a great identifiable voice, both through the way they spoke and the words they use, and the inflections Yatzhee uses.
The lead of Travis is genuinely one of the most engaging leads I've read in a while, even while being the stereotypical 'normal' or 'useless' protagonist.
If I had any issues it would be the occasional pacing issue. It's usually very well paced, but there were a couple of scenes which I guess could be considered 'action scenes' that end very quickly, and while I understand not wanting to dwell on these sort of scenes, there were some brief moments where I found myself going 'Oh, we're moving on already?'
But overall, this was an interesting, funny, and enjoyable novel, and Yatzhee somehow manages to make very visual aspects such as slapstick hilarious in only words and no sound affects, and that is truly a skill.
And anyway, any novel that makes me care about the fate of a giant tarantula is something to truly sit up and take a look at.
"One Step Forward, Two Steps Back"
After reading Mogworld, I was hopeful that Yahtzee Croshaw would develop into a decent writer. He has made some steps towards refining his technical skills. I noticed less word repetition and fewer abuses of adverbs in dialogue attribution (though they're still there). Unfortunately, this is a book with only one joke and it wears out very fast.
I had the opposite experience with this book as I had with Mogworld. Croshaw's first book starts out slow and stilted and builds into something humorous and meaningful. This book elicits chuckles right away but they quickly subside into a long, awkward silence. Each of the secondary characters has only one trait, a problem that is continuously highlighted by Croshaw's reading as he gives each of them a voice and never, ever varies his delivery to fit the situation. The main character doesn't even get one defining trait. His behavior and abilities are erratic and function as the plot demands. I got the impression that the problem was the character never developed a strong enough voice of his own and so Croshaw kept slipping back into his own voice while trying to write him; hence why he is at times the keen sardonic observer, the moral compass, the clueless idiot, and the selfish bastard with no moral sensibilities at all. All these characteristics could be worked into an arc of some sort but that's not the case here. This is showcased by an early scene in which the main is instructed to save a spider, he lists all the reasons he's not going to do so, then spontaneously changes his mind and becomes powerfully and instantly attached to the stupid thing for no discernible reason. Sometimes the main knows just what to do to save the situation, sometimes he's a helpless bunny, and sometimes he magically knows things he would have no possible way of knowing. It's just bad writing. Also, I finished this book only a few days ago and I can't remember anyone's name except Mary the spider.
This book needed to be half the length. There is no reason for it to go on the way it does repeating the same jokes over and over. There is a sense that this book was only written to cash in on the apocalypse craze and not because Croshaw felt any particular interest in the subject. I can only hope he takes his growing skills and applies them to a subject he cares about. Here's hoping he tries his hand at horror next.
"Monotonous delivery, good story"
No. The author's delivery is too slow-paced and monotonous for me, it was like listening to a lecturer read from a textbook. Would definitely read the book again, however.
When the garbage bag hipsters find out about the Goliath Bird-Eater.
Given Yahtzee's energetic, breathless game reviews, he turns in a surprisingly slow-paced and monotonous performance for this ebook. It may be that I'm just too used to his review pacing, but I had to turn off the audiobook halfway through and read my physical copy.
No, it's far too long for that. I would prefer to listen to it in 30 minute to hour-long segments.
An original idea, well-written (if not very likeable) characters, and enough twists to keep you entertained.
"interesting concept, poor execution"
I like Yahtzee, the author and maker of the Zero Punctuation YouTube videos, but his skill or lack thereof really shows in this book. I disliked the characters, the only facet they had was being annoying. They lacked any kind of depth and whether they survived or not really made no difference to me. The story was pretty flat, despite my enjoyment of painfully true portrayals of hipsters. Essentially apocalypse with jam, which seems interesting on it's face makes for an unsatisfying plot. lastly Yahtzee should stick with his videos, his voice acting leaves much to be desired. namely pace, inflection and better accents.
"Ironic layers of irony. It's an Ironic Onion."
FUN story! Good laughs! Awkward writing?
Having the author narrate the story was an incredible plus. He brought it to life!
But -- and this is a very odd but -- as a student of writing, (trying to become a writer) he breaks so many rules of writing. And I am in awe of how well the story works despite these things, that I have to wonder, did he do this intentionally? A large theme of the story is irony, so, is it possible he (obsessively) overused adverbs (ironically)? Or he overused dialog hinting? -- (he inquired, questioningly.)
I'm going to research that. Because, if so, then wow I'd want to change my overall rating of the story. As it stands, the abuse of adverbs is only a minor distraction, and probably only because I've been reading so many how-to-write books that consider adverbs the illegitimate bastard of literature. I'd imagine most readers of apocalyptic comedies couldn't care about stuff like that.
Hopefully/probably those things are an ironic tip of the hat to English Lit students? Maybe this whole thing is like a parody in the way that "Spinal Tap" is a parody of heavy metal rockumentaries, and only other musicians get most of the jokes.
If so, I'm thrilled that I was in on that part. If that wasn't the goal, if I were the author, I would absolutely adjust the marketing to add that part in there.
Either way, it was a fun enough book, and my kids even enjoyed listening to it with me on occasion.
The story was unique and imaginative. I was kept on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. The story is well written, and even with the clues and foreshadowing I was not able to guess the truth.
I have not read any books that compare to Jam. It is very unique.
Yahtzee's performance was excellent. His voice acting made the story come alive in my imagination. The voices added another dimension to the personalities that I would not have gotten from reading the book. You could tell every character by their voice and pick up on other subtleties such as emotion.
This book was fairly comical despite the tragedies and I had some laughs.
I was very engaged in the story. I couldn't stop listening to it and finished it in little over a day.
"I did like this audiobook"
Yes i will recommend this to others. Even do i liked his First book "Mogworld" better, I still enjoyd this one.
I think the start was the best part of the book.
The ending of the book could have gone in many directions, which made me want to hear the ending.
Yes i have listen to "Mogworld", which in my oppinion is better.
I like his voice, and i think he narrated it good.
I did laugh sometimes, while listning to this book.
"Yahtzee, I shouldn't need to say more, but have to"
Yes, I would recommend this book to a friend. Why? Jam. This story is the apocalypse no one saw coming, and from that idea it sparks the imagination of what really could end civilization. Normally when we think of the end of the world, we go with zombies, or nukes, or flesh eating disease, or aliens, not our breakfast spreads. I remember telling a friend about one scene, but I did not mention the type of apocalypse and asked her what kind she thought it was. She didn't know how to respond so I gave these options, A) zombies B) nukes, C) flesh eating disease or D) Jam. Of course she thought jam was a joke, and was surprised to find that jam was the answer. That is the magic of the story, it doesn't have to be one of the normal apocalypse type books, and in the sea of cliched zombie and nuclear holocaust stories (sorry Fallout but nuclear winter is used to often) is this shining example of originality.
There are no books that compare to jam. I have never heard of any legitimate apocalypse book about anything as ridiculous as man eating strawberry jam, and I believe it takes the originality of Yahtzee to write this apocalypse.
It is Yahtzee, need I say more? Yes? Really? I have to? Fine. Listening to this book is like listening to Zero Punctuation for 14+ hours. It was amazing, as Yahtzee's voice has always been one of those You Tubers that has really gotten my attention and made me love to watch his content. Naturally any fan of Zero Punctuation would enjoy Yahtzee's performance and any outsider would gladly accept the voice of Yahtzee into the story. Also I find it perfectly fitting that the author took the extra time to narrorate the audio book, it wouldn't have felt the same if he didn't.
Yes, the whole thing. I know that is more of a cop-out answer but it is true. I found the whole book compelling, from *spoiler* Frank dying (the spoiler alert I don't care about because it happens in the first five minutes of the book), to the gradual realization that only idiots and weirdos survived the jam, because they either A) Did not get up before rush hour and lived about six feet, or B) went to work before rush hour (but only weirdos go to work before rush hour). Also the idea of two major post-apocalypse settlements was nice, seeing as one was for the high class weirdo business people, and the other for all the twenty year old morons who didn't have jobs.
My only warning is that Jam is full of a lot of idiotic characters (which may bother people judging from another review), especially the main characters (minus Dawn, who is there constantly calling the other main characters dip$h*ts, and other derogatory names), though I feel as if the book is populated full of idiots because of Yahtzee's line of work. In his reviews, he constantly points out the idiocy in story characters, which gives him a deeper understanding of idiots.
"Love it funny and just amazing!"
Wish he would wright and voice more best book in years! going to buy his other work asap
loved it would recommend it to every one I know who loves audio books and interesting novels
"the floor isn't quite lava"
but it sure is close. a perilous adventure through an apocalyptic setting, and ironies within ironies.
Second wonderful book from the author, I loved every minute. Looking forward to whatever comes next!
Well the book has substance :)
Don or Travis as they play vital roles and Don's sarcasm always at Travis is always humorous
Don or Travis as they play vital roles and Don's sarcasm always at Travis is always humorous
Funnest book ive read yet
Worth the token. RECOMMENDED
"Daft but fine."
Yahtze has a pleasant reading style in this narration and characters are recognisable without being hammy.
I liked the story (preferred Mogworld) even though it was a bit dumb. It's an easy listen with plenty of smirk moments and an uncomplicated but original plot.
The characters are stereotypes: the soldier, the stoner, the "girl", the nerd, the hipster etc, but it is still a little jarring when they die horrifically.
Destruction of civilisation and widespread death in this book is handled in a very surrealistic way which only the protagonist and yourself notice. I is not a book to read if you are looking for a realistic depiction of an apocalypse. This is a cartoon in the form of a novel.
If you approach this with the right relaxed open mindset it can be an enjoyable story.
I only write reviews for books that are utterly delightful or completely despicable and, I'm afraid that Yahtzee Croshaw's 'Jam' falls into the second category.
A great number of the characters, including the lead, are two dimensional, unlikeable people. By the story's conclusion, I wanted nearly all of them to be killed off by the eponymous, carnivorous jam that taken over the city.
Speaking off the story, it's horrid. Croshaw's attempt to parody the now well established post-apocalyptic genre is languid and lacklustre in its execution. There are a lot of loose ends and things that are never fully detailed or explained. I often felt like there was more to be said, but it never is, so you're left with only half of the details.
In particular, the final third and ending of the novel is where 'Jam' is at its most frustrating. This is down to a few reasons, including characters that completely changed for no reason (all the more confusing when they were poorly fleshed out in the first place), the introduction of a new setting that serves as an obvious McGuffin and a climax that is among the most unearned, undeserved and unsatisfactory I have ever come across.
The only reason this didn't get one stars across the board was for Croshaw's performance. He delivers a serviceable job, with a good variety of voices for the numerous characters. There are one or two that are grating and he does mispronounce a few words here and there, but on the whole he is listenable to, I just wish his story was as well.
"Is good, I liked it"
I like yahtzee so take this with a pinch of salt. Book is fun, and funny.
"As hilarious as expected"
This was as funny or possibly moreso than any of yhatzees books, reviews or games.
"meta apocalyptic fun"
Yahtzee is a wonderful narrator, a witty well told story only lacking a decent ending
Not as good as Mogworld. Still enjoyable. Just felt it ended with a bit of a jolt.
"Utterly strange, but utterly endearing"
I can't recommend this more. Anyone who loves Douglas Adams will certainly love this too.
Also, it has to be said that any writer who can make strawberry jam threatening deserves some sort of award!
"Great funny story, shame about some characters"
I loved the book throughout it appears though at the end there are big question marks over what happened to some chacters. I don't want to spoil anything but some of what happens to some of the charters leaves a sour taste in my mouth for what was otherwise a fantastic little story with laugh out loud moments throughout
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