Mature-Content Rating: PG (action violence)
From the mind of Michael Bunker and the political excellence of Chris Awalt comes this nice piece of dystopian fiction. It is not often evident what an author is all about simply by reading their art, but Wick is a pleasant exception. Not only do you get to know the characters and world being build, but also are afforded a unique opportunity to enter the mind of the author(s). Science fiction with Amish and political leanings makes this a wonderful piece of art that is hard to compare with. If you are the type of reader that likes lots of action and little thought this may not be your thing, but if you like to think there is no better piece of art. Throughout Wick there is a wonderful amount of matter-of-fact life philosophising built into the prose which make for a delightful ride that feels dense. No, not dense because it is hard to get through, but like a pit of tar: once entered, it will suck your mind right in, and you may have trouble getting out. Because of this, the point of view taken feels reserved, almost making the narrator/author a character of their own, allowing for wonderfully crafted observatory world building.
Because of this feeling of separation between the narrator and the character, at times pacing issues are evident. It has been said that if do not enjoy slower books, this may not be your thing, but that is not the issue here (for if a book is meant to be slow, and does it in an engaging manner [i.e. W1ck] then it works). The biggest issues I had were with the “section” or “part” splits. This Omnibus was originally published in 4 different parts, three of which make sense on their own. The middle two parts should, realistically, have been one because of the way the story progresses. Also, at times, there are too many characters and it is difficult to follow.
The biggest issue, however, I had was with the ending. Much like the ending of the different “parts” of W1ck, the pages are just suddenly blank. No, I don’t mean that there is some kind of strange print error. Bunker just decided to call it a day, and that is that. I will admit that this format fits well with the reserved POV chosen, and if it were done any other way, the results would have been mind-jarringly worse. I suppose with this type of ending, it makes me want to read more to find out what happens next, but there is nothing that happens next. This Omnibus is the complete package. The “sequel” (if you will) happens 20 years later, being a world sequel and not a direct descendant.
All in all, W1ck is an enjoyable journey filled with great philosophical musings, and out-spoken activism that you can only not get in trouble for if it is folded inside the covers of a book labelled “fiction.” This, coupled with great storytelling and wonderful prose, makes Michael Bunker an author that I will definitely return to. His writing style is so gloriously fresh and interesting that I found it easier to ignore the pacing failures throughout and poor conclusion. Reading W1ck feels like watching a painting unfold before my eyes, colour splashed by the voice of God.
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