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Stays Crunchy in Milk, by Adam P. Knave Book Review | SFReader.com
Stays Crunchy in Milk, by Adam P. Knave Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Creative Guy Publishing Published: 2009 Review Posted: 7/4/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Stays Crunchy in Milk, by Adam P. Knave
Book Review by Kelly A. Harmon
Have you read this book?
Stays Crunchy in Milk is a classic quest tale, based on pop culture icons of the 1980s.
Choco-Ra, the chocolate Mummy, Wereberry, the strawberry werewolf, and T.C., The Creature from the Fruit Lagoon must find their friend Cherrygeist, the ghost, who is missing. They have sworn to search to the ends of the world and beyond and to find her.
On their travels, through strange lands - each land separated by a milky, white nothingness - they meet the Buffaloves, the Scuttles - little yellow men, reminiscent of Smurfs - and the Fuzzticuffs - reminiscent of Care Bears (or Care Bear Friends) and others who either help, or hinder them on their journey. They fight side-by-side with armies which never suffer a casualty and elsewhere learn to fly transforming airships.
The premise of the book is clever and starts with such promise, but, for me, dwindles away into boredom. Choco-Ra sets that tone in the first few pages: "He also realized that, today at least, he just didn't damn well care what he did."
This boredom is reinforced by long descriptive passages, rich in detail, but often too much to read through. Some passages are so wordy, I found it difficult to know what is most important.
Compounding this, the author jumps from point-of-view to point-of-view of each of the three main characters from one paragraph to the next, giving the reader a shallow impression of each character. This brief glimpse of each character's thoughts and opinions makes it difficult for the reader to sympathize with their plight.
By far, the most troublesome aspect of the story is the lack of conflict, especially among the friends.
At one point, Choco-Ra rallies the Scuttles against a Princess and storms her castle, culminating in an explosion which thrusts the three friends out of one world and into another. Yet:
"Wereberry forgave Choco-Ra quickly. Nothing had been done that he wouldn't have done himself...that didn't make Choco-Ra bad, it just made him Choco-Ra."
There is a war scene, where the friends team up with an army unit, and their orders are carried out exactly as planned, without mishap. And they hear news that the missions of all the platoons of the army were successful.
Choco-Ra thinks, "No one seems to care that this didn't seem to be the one final blow...that everyone had been led to believe it would be when they set out. He also noticed that no one seemed to care. Shrugging, he dropped the matter without even bothering to bring it up..."
I found myself just as uncaring about what happened as the characters in the book.
In another scene, Choco-Ra smuggles a creature, Al, out of one world and into the next, disturbing the group dynamic.
T.C. and Were are mad about this addition to their group, and there's a brief discussion, but T.C. thinks, "...he knew exactly what the issue was. He knew the sound of loneliness very well and caught it quickly in others. He looked at Al and wondered about the friendship that had built so rapidly between the two of them. He found he didn't care why they had bonded so close and so fast; he only knew that he was glad for it."
"Well, what's done is done, Were'," T.C. said, and that was the end of the matter.
I wanted more tension, more angst, from Wereberry and T.C. Here was a betrayal of friendship, and they accepted it so quickly. Too quickly, in my opinion.
With the lack of tension and the dispassionate nature of the characters, I found my interest waning early in the book. I pushed through to the middle, hoping for some drama among the friends or that some action might occur that I could care about, but nothing satisfied. I had to stop myself from flipping to the end to see if they found Cherrygeist.
Since the book may appeal to some who remember 80s pop culture with fondness, I won't spoil the ending here. For me, it was as unsatisfying as the rest of the book.
At times, I found myself trying to determine who and what the Stays Crunchy characters were supposed to be and not paying attention to the story. A parody of actual pop-culture icons, rather than a yarn about new characters who mimic the past, may have made this a better read.
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