Flex – Ferrett Steinmetz

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Summary:

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

Review:

What if magic (herein called ‘mancy) was unnatural. Not like, in the religious sense, but in a physics-defying-tearing-holdes-in-the-nature-of-reality sense. What if there was a yin-yang relationship where in you can get whatever you want, but almost certainly pay the price for it?

The system of Flex/Flux is one of the most unique magic systems I’ve read in ages: from how it originates, to how it can work, to the consequences. It very much feels like the author spent a great deal of time crafting this magic, then found a story to tell that was worthy of that story.

The story is of a man named Paul, a recent divorcee who is trying to learn how to live on his own again when a terrible “accident” horribly scars his daugther. He knows though it isn’t an ordinary accident and seeks revenge on the ‘mancer behind it. It does have a bit of a Breaking Bad vibe as in order to do so he has to start brewing Flex himself, but it isn’t the focus of the story and he definitely isn’t the Heisenberg. He’s always extremely conscientious of what he’s doing and tries to minimize the harm, but he also doesn’t really make excuses either. He knows what he’s doing and he knows the consequences if he screws up. The stakes for him are just too high to sit by and do nothing.

All and all, it’s one of the more original urban fantasty titles I’ve read in ages and it actually seems to be a stand-alone novel which is always a plus. If you’re looking for a new read, and want something different, give this a look.

I should note though that this is a bit on the mature side: language, some realistic violence (and its aftermath) and discussions of sex. It’s not overdone or shoe-horned in, but it is there for those who care about such things, and I don’t know if I’d give this book to the under 17-crowd

Verdict: Buy It

Available: March 3

 

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