Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Backup by Erica Kudisch

So ...

The Greek god Dionysus is living as the rock star Nik. He's an elusive petty ignorant a-hole who is seemingly untouchable. Anthony is a recent college graduate with a PhD in Musicology. Now Anthony is Nik's manager and hating everything every step of the way. Anthony's uncle Paul tells him that since he hasn't yet gotten a job in his field, he has this job for him. Anthony takes the job because he needs the money and becomes the most complaining ungrateful little shit you've ever witnessed. Anthony has to stop fights, get into fights, and try to stop people from killing themselves all while Nik is on stage so that the show can continue no matter what. In an age of cell phone video and youtube, Anthony gets a little famous and his blog (which you get to read) blows up as a result. Needless to say, Anthony starts sleeping with Nik and then begins to believe in him, but somehow keeps Nik from fully getting to him. Nik literally drives people crazy with his music, or drives them to their death.

What I liked:
Oh! Okay. It was decently written. A book like this doesn't need to have tons of details but for what it was, it was done well. The author clearly loves classical music, and maybe some semblance of rock music. I enjoyed any scene that Anthony's uncle Paul was apart of. Paul was the only character outside of Anthony that I understood. I loved the progression of Anthony's belief in Nik as a god. It went from 'you're crazy' to 'am I crazy?' to 'shit ... he really is a god, I gotta get out of here.'
When I requested this book from Netgalley, it was in the Sci Fi & Fantasy category which is mostly what I read. Then I find that it's LGBTQIA as well and nearly jumped for joy. Add all that to the IR book cover and I was SOLD. The Character development was actually good among the main characters Anthony, Nik and Paul ... and to a lesser extent, Ida. The rest? I can't say.

What I disliked:
- Character description was seriously lacking. I knew that Anthony was a runner, of black/white mixed race heritage. I also knew that he has curly hair when it's grown out but he kept himself bald. I knew that Nik has weird red/gold hair. I know that Paul is not mixed because it was said in the book, and also is a darker skin color than Anthony and even darker than Nik. That's all I knew. I think maybe hair colors for other people were mentioned, clothes they wore, and accents, and heights ...
- Although the cover features Anthony and Nik ... It screams ROMANCE ... Not SciFi/Fantasy. I get that their is a tiny paranormal element to it but it wasn't enough. It should have been put in the romance category. The scifi element was minute and speculative. Not only is the cover misleading in that way, it also implies that this is a consensual relationship. It's not! Nik basically f*cks with Anthony's head to get him to sleep with him.
- Honestly Anthony and Nik were two peas in a pod. Anthony had his head so far up his ass about his degree and what he was SUPPOSED to be doing that he probably couldn't even breathe. He was so self-loathing and angry that it wafted off of him to everyone around him. What Anthony knows about music is word ... What anyone else knows about music is shit. Nik was no better because he absolutely cared about nothing. Everything was a game to him except for when one of his believers was taken from him.
- Details were very vague. Outside of physical details, there were big things mentioned that I didn't even realize were big things. Case in point: Anthony's mother. There's some epiphany close to the end about Paul not being able to have kids, and Nik knowing Anthony's mothers name. But we're never exactly told what the big deal is. This isn't the only instance, there are plenty of other things mentioned but no details given. It was quite frustrating thinking that you have to go backwards to find whatever this was referenced to but when you don't like what you're reading, you just keep trudging along and let it go.
- The musical references were too much! I'm not a classical music fan or a rock music fan so the vast majority of the musical references flew right over my head to the point that I was skipping pages because I kept seeing names of Classical musicians and then conversations following about that musician. I would never, in a million years, listen to the garbage that Nik was calling his music. It was utter garbage ... I actually paid attention to some of the things Anthony was saying about it. So I was completely down for Anthony hating his music. On the flip side, I was down for Nik telling Anthony not to play his 'math' (Bach) on his instruments.
- The ending was not satisfying in the least. After that last bad gig that Anthony played that landed him in the hospital, and then the FBI visit, and the witness protection ... All you're allowed to see is Anthony settling into his new life and meeting up with Ida (a pianist who left Nik's crew like a boss) who kept his cover as this new person. It's implied that nothing will happen to Nik despite Anthony cooperating with the cops but still ... Give me something. I was given nothing.

I won't say the book was bad but there were sooooooooooooooooo many things I disliked about it. I looked it up online and saw a couple of really good reviews. I'm glad someone really enjoyed it. It was just way too stuck-up for me. When Anthony hit the scene and stuck his nose up in the air about why what he thinks is better is true, it set the whole tone for me and there was no way I could bring myself to like him, not even in the end. I was at a point where I was hoping Nik would completely tear him down cause I disliked him so much. Anyway ... I can't even say it's okay. It isn't a recommendation I would give out unless someone specifically asked me for a book with a gay couple with only a tiny bit of a paranormal element and really annoying main characters.

1 Star
IR: Anthony (Bl/Wh) Nik (Greek)

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