Spray

Spray

Author:  Harry Edge

Publication: Feiwel and Friends, 2008

Pages: 228

Overall Rating:  bth_25_zps13f4f4eb[1]                      

Rating for Action: bth_15_zps345ebc9e[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary:  There’s a big city-wide water war – 200 hundred contestants, one winner.  Each contestant is given a target.  They have to track that target down and ‘assassinate’ them with a water gun.  If they succeed, they get to move on to the person their target was trying to assassinate, and so on until there’s only one person left.  The story follows half a dozen people, each in the game for their own reasons, and each out to win.  They’re all deadly serious about the game, and will go to great lengths to track down and eliminate their opponents.  In the end, only one of them will win.

Age of Main Character: Hard to say – late teens to early 20’s?

What I Liked the Most: As you’ll see below, I had a lot of problems with this story.  But this was partly my own fault, because I went into the book with the mindset that it was going to turn into a crazed story where one of the contestants would resort to violence in order to win.   Perhaps if I’d gone into this book with the understanding that it really was just a story about a bunch of kids involved in a big water fight, then I could have enjoyed it a bit more.  After all, Edge comes up with some very creative strategies for his characters to use in drawing out and eliminating their targets.

What I Liked the Least: There were too many characters.  It took a long time before I was able to keep them straight, but even then it was confusing because each time one of the players managed to ‘assassinate’ their target, they get a new one.  So I was constantly trying to remember who was after who.  And while the main characters stayed the same, lots of minor characters kept coming in and out as both assassins and targets.  Even when the book got down to the final nine competitors, I didn’t know most of them.

Based on the information on the back cover, I also kept thinking that something crazy was going to happen, that one of the players was going to resort to actual violence to win the game.  But they never did.  It was just one person after another figuring out creative ways to stay safe and get their target.

I had no sense at all for how old any of the characters were.  The author keeps mentioning this ‘City Academy’ where a lot of the players work or go to school.  At one point, he mentions that it was a private high school.  Then, later on, I learned that one of the players who goes there was actually 21.  And throughout the book, the players felt and acted like they were in college.  This went hand-in-hand with an overall sense of vagueness when it came to details or descriptions.  Everything about the setting is generic.

How Good was the Action?  My perspective on the action all goes back to the fact that this is a water fight.  There are some action-type scenes, with the players hiding out and using cool strategies to ambush one another.  But in the end, there’s not a lot of suspense.  Because, after all, the worst that’s going to happen is that gets hosed down with a water pistol and eliminated from the game.

How Engaging was the Story?   I kept reading, and I did enjoy the story once I put myself in the proper mindset – i.e. that this was just a story about a water fight.  But I can’t say it was all that engaging.

There are two main reasons for this, both of which I’ve alluded to above.  First off, there were too many characters for me to really connect with any of them.  The second problem was the lack of tension.  Again, since the worst thing that could happen to any one character is that they’d get shot with some water and eliminated from the game, I found it hard to care all that much about what happened.

Overall Assessment: This can be a fun read if you approach it with the right mindset.  If you’re looking for a breezy story about a water fight then you’ll probably enjoy yourself.  Just don’t come at this book expecting it to be anything more than that.  If you go in looking for deep characters, gut wrenching emotions, or edge-of-your-seat thrills you’re going to wind up disappointed.

Profanity: No

Sex: No

Violence: No

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