Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

Like anyone who feels as though they just don't fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself.

Despite his failing health, Evie's father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it's finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app... and the power to cause trouble in paradise.

Rating: 1 Star

I've never had to write a review for a book that I considered bad before, so please have patience with me as I go through my feelings about this book.

The Art

The cover art was somewhat intriguing. It was a fairly basic picture, but it had promise. When I got into the story, however, I found that the art didn't really connect with the story. There was no flow between the pictures and the words.

There were some panels where the inking along the lines was entirely too thick, thus too dramatic, for the scene and the character. I don't believe there was a lot of consistency, either, throughout the volume. You might think that the character looked one way only to find them so badly drawn later on that you thought it was a different person.

The Writing

There was nothing about this writing that made it special. It did not have that spark that drew you in and wound its tendrils around you to keep you reading. The characters were so one dimensional as to be comical. There was no time to get to know them, so how could we care about them?

If there was going to be a salvation to this book, it would have been to make the series at least one book longer, maybe even three. With a well developed plot and more careful attention paid to the characters, there would have been enough space to make them more human and more interesting. As it stands, I just couldn't bring myself to see beyond these caricatures of the good girl saves the world and the bad girl ruins everything because she can.

Something else that bothered me

There was something about this book that bothered me that I didn't notice until it was done and I went back to look over a few things for this review. Now, I'm not sure whether this was the book designer's fault or Joe Sugg's fault, but whoever was responsible, I think you need to rethink your strategy here.

If you look at the front cover, the only name that is on there is Joe Sugg. Not a problem in and of itself. I know there are plenty of artist/writers out there that do both when it comes to a graphic novel.

However, then you open the book and look at the copyright page. There are at least four different contributors to this work that should have been mentioned on the cover! The artist/colorist, the inker, the writer, and then there's the concept developer. Guess which one Joe Sugg is?

If you guessed anything other than plot developer, you'd be wrong. He came up with the outline and supervised the making of this book, but he didn't actually write or draw it! I was annoyed with this because this is basically the same thing as a ghost writer, but with the truth on the copyright page instead of it being hidden away. So, kudos for being slightly more upfront about it, but I'm taking away points for not acknowledging these people on the cover where they belonged.

What I didn't realize until after I'd read it is that this sort of thing has happened before and to someone more intimately familiar with Joe Sugg than I. He is the younger brother of Zoe Sugg of Youtube fame/Girl Online infamy. You'd think, watching your sister go through a similar problem, that you'd want to shy away from that kind of shady dealing with proper credit and such. Not so here.

Final Thoughts

The writing was bland and too bare bones to lead me to care about the characters. The art was badly put together with the story. Credit wasn't given where credit was due, though considering how this book came out, would the proper people want to be credited with this mess?

I might read something by Joe Sugg in the future, but only if it was 100% his work, not this shadowy bs where there are actually others who did the majority of the work.

Music Recommendation

I thought that Pink's "Beam Me Up" was a fair selection for Evie because she spends a lot of the comic feeling like her world is a horrid place due to the bullying she endures and her father slowly dying. While the context of the song is more of a love ballad, I think that if you take the words and apply them in this instance, you get a sense of the despair that Evie was feeling before she arguably finds herself in the end.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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