Jam is a sci-fi novel about an apocalyptic attack by a viscous, strawberry scented substance resembling preserves of some kind. It is written by internet personality Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, who is best known for his snarky videogame reviews.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I watch his reviews fairly regularly and am aware he has a discerning taste for good narrative. I’ve also read a webcomic series he wrote and found it quite enjoyable.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I finished the sample and generally liked what I read. I’m still not sure I’ll buy it, but I may check it out at the library.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
Yahtzee does a good job of promising action and we see some early payoffs in the sample. On the constructive criticism side, our first person narrator could have greatly benefited from some characterization—he feels a little uninteresting and his personality fails to come across—though this could be stylistic as his audience of gamers will be familiar with the silent protagonist of video-game history. His foil character makes up for some of the blandness in the second chapter after suffering a wound which causes some delirium which precipitates action.
Also, the author could rein in his simile use. A hallmark of his humor, Yahtzee’s similes are hit and miss here, with the best of them creating stimulating or funny imagery and the worst deflating the tension from an exciting situation.
Ultimately, Yahtzee’s got some literary chops and delivers a story that’s interesting and well paced. Fans of his or of black comedy in general would do well to pick this one up, at least at the library.