BOOK REVIEW: Critical Failures #3

Critical Failures #3 A Storm of S-words by Robert Bevin

The title alone is a work of satire. It was this title that convinced me to check out the entire series!

A Storm of S-words begins with Tim discovering that Mordred is alive–and shitting in his freezer. Only this series would start with a guy taking a dump. However, Tim & Co can’t keep Mordred trapped, and he escapes. Oh, and there’s another problem–they’ve all come back to their world as their C&C characters.

That poses a unique set of problems for all of the characters. Tim is mistaken for a child several times, which causes an awkward encounter with a pedophile. Yeah, this book doubles down on the already outrageous levels of inappropriate in this series when the story shifts settings to the real world. They need to find Mordred and get his dice, but they have to be stealthy because they draw too much attention to themselves as their C&C characters. This leads to the genius plan to steal a white van–a pedophile van. Tim kidnaps Randy, a gay Southern man, because they need his van to ride around in. This ends with Tim cutting off someone’s balls. Of course, that’s literal. It’s this series.

Meanwhile, Julian and Cooper go to a CDC poison clinic to resolve Cooper’s poisoning at the end of C&C #2. They meet Stacy, the lab tech, who is drop-kicked into this world of crazy. Stacy knows Katherine, who cheated with her boyfriend, and because it’s Katherine, she’s not the least bit sorry. Now that she’s a vampire, Katherine’s already stubborn personality gets turned up to eleven. Katherine can turn others into vampires, and she looses control of her first victim, Ginfizzle (aka Ginny). Unable to control herself, Katherine also attacks Butterbean, her wolf/animal companion. She stops herself from killing him, but Ginfizzle wants his blood, leading to a massive vampire-on-vampire brawl. Anytime Katherine appears, she’s bound to cause problems. This is no exception.

This brings me to the best team-up of C&C: Katherine and Cooper. These two incredibly selfish yet weirdly endearing characters have to track down Ginfizzle before he turns others into vampires and kills his way through Mississippi. Katherine and Cooper’s rampage starts with a revenge trip to the pizza delivery shop where Cooper used to work, where he terrorizes his former manager, Derrick. Then, Cooper and Katherine invade a Dick’s Sporting Goods because that’s a plot in this story. That scene is the absolute best in the book. This is also the first time I’ve read some weird hybrid of NFL slapstick/satire in a fantasy book. Go with it.

While Katerine and Cooper destroy Mississippi, Tim, Stacy, Julian, and Dave brainstorm how to fix their major problem of still being their C&C characters. To capture Mordred, they use Stacy as a honey pot trap. She goes on a date with Mordred to the Olive Garden, which ends predictably poorly when Katherin and Cooper’s hot mess hunt for Ginfizzle tips off Mordred that Stacy was bait. This ends with Stacy being transported to the C&C world and becoming the prisoner of the Four Horsemen.

Mordred’s ultimate weapons are his dice, which give him the ability to summon the now leveled up Four Horsemen to usher in the Teenage Dick Apocolypse to the real world. They corner Mordred, and because this series isn’t going to end anytime soon, Mordred’s plans go awry, but the ultimate problem–how to go back to normal humans instead of C&C characters–isn’t resolved.

Rating: 5 stars. This is the best C&C book in terms of action, plot, and character development. It’s also the best fantasy novel title pun I’ve seen.

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