One night can change the world, and one man can save it.
Mature-Content Rating: A-14 (Lots of sexual content and some coarse language).
What would you do if one night changed your life? What if 15 years changed your world? What if one man could change it back? O.B.U. is a story about one man who has one horrible night, and wakes up 15 years later. The world is not what it once was, and no one is who they seem to be. What has happened to the world is yet to be discovered, and what will happen is soon to be revealed. Unlock the mystery and wonder behind the world that Martin Chushui has created.
Normally, when I review a book, I like to point out what I liked and what I didn’t like. This book proved challenging for me in this respect. There are probably some things that were done well in O.B.U, but there were so many glaring obstacles to my enjoyment of the book, that it is difficult for me to identify the good.
It would be difficult to identify the number one big issue with this book, but the biggest problem that I noticed within the first couple pages is that O.B.U. needs a lot of editing. It surprised me to reach the end and see the author thanking his editor in the acknowledgements. If I had not read that, I would have thought that a spell-checker was the only editor consulted. There are missing words, incorrect verb conjugation, tense mix-ups, and everything else you can think of that a spell-checker wouldn’t catch. Though I found no misspelt words, the glaring editorial errors are so prevalent (almost every page) that it was hard to even read the book.
The next biggest problem I encountered was a classic case of tell vs. show. There is a lot of tech in this book, and it can potentially be confusing to wrap your head around. In order to battle this, it is explained in such painstaking detail that you will have no doubt how everything works. At the outset, our protagonist knows nothing about this world in which he has awakened, which is a great set-up for him to learn it slowly, allowing the reader to follow along as he journeys through the world. Instead of this, extended dry dialogue sections are thrown at him (and the reader) so that he understands how things work. It is so bad that a number of times throughout the book a character might say something like, “I agree, these talks are getting a bit boring.” If even the characters know that tell vs. show is boring, perhaps this glaring issue needs some attention.
The dialogue is choppy and unflavourful. It sounds like poor RPG scripting, except instead of your choice of uninteresting dialogue option, the protagonist chooses for you.
Note: Not a true representation of the dialogue, but a made up interaction to show how it flows.
“What is this place?”
“It is the place where we train with guns.”
“Tell me more about guns.”
“Guns are those things that shoot the enemy. You will need to learn how to use them in order to not die.”
“Tell me more about this enemy.”
There is no prose in this book at all. Certain scenes are introduced with a few sentences of description, and then we are thrown right into the dialogue. Some scenery is even described through dialogue, but not because the narrator is a character. There isn’t really a narrator, save for the odd “he said” and “she questioned” following dialogue. This is action and dialogue on a blank slate.
I won’t say that there is no character development, but it was hard to identify because I really didn’t care what was happening. I could not empathize with any of the characters because they hardly seemed to care about themselves. All development is based on a single scene near the beginning that is mostly brushed over. The idea is to keep the mystery of why our protagonist was suddenly transported 15 years into the future. Because the characters hardly seemed to care about this jump in time, it was hard for me, as a reader, to care. Without internal monologue, prose, or description of any kind, it proves difficult to discern what the characters care about and what they don’t.
One of the primary moral issues in this book is sexism. The world has changed for the better, and now people can experience freedom sexually. It seems like the author is trying to speak out against sexism, and in fact the main characters says that he hates sexism, but is in fact, himself, sexist (not the author. The character). On the one hand he says that he hates when women are mistreated, and then he says things like, “why can’t women just remain in the kitchen.” Then he switches back to telling about how his dad brought him up right, teaching him to treat women well, yet at the same time being offended when women don’t act the way he wants. This glaring character discrepancy is repeated throughout the book, and even the way some of the women characters talk about themselves almost made me feel like they were being sexist toward themselves.
Sometimes when a book is written poorly, I have given it 2 stars because it had great potential, intriguing concepts, or a fresh plot. O.B.U. sadly has none of this. The plot is a classic case of “this is the prophesied one who will save the world.” If you have seen The Matrix, you know the plot of this book. It follows the main plot points of that movie so closely that instead of seeing the scenes written about while I read (the lack of prose may be a contributor), my mind was replaying the parallel scenes from the Matrix. I saw Neo falling from the battery-soup when our protagonist gets introduced to O.B.U. I saw him sitting in the chair learning how to fight, fly, etc. when our protagonist did 7 years of training in one night. I saw Neo dodging bullets on a rooftop when the odds are working against him and there were too many enemies for him to face alone. (I will not spoil what the main character in O.B.U. actually does instead of dodging bullets, as it would be a spoiler. Suffice it to say, it was similar). I kept waiting for the scene where he was going to stop bullets in mid-air. Though the final encounter isn’t exactly that, it is basically the same. Change some minor points, mix in some mask wearing from Mission Impossible and you have O.B.U.
I wanted this book to get better as I kept reading, and read it to the very end. Sadly, it is a carbon copy of The Matrix without all the special effects. Its only redeeming quality is that there were not too many POV changing issues, and if it weren’t for the poor editing, I could almost know what was going on. If you enjoy putting your palm to forehead a lot, this book is for you.
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