THE problem with this is that the language is so densely packed, the sentences so staccato and hunched, that the prose can’t breathe properly.
You get in a tangle and have to go back and re-read the previous three paragraphs to find out exactly where you are and who’s saying what.
Mike Wood is a typical high-school footballer, he likes girls and fighting (although he’s also sweet enough to do his parents’ weekly shop), then a boy in his class, the scrawny Hob, hands him a book about card tricks and everything changes.
Suddenly Mike is caught in a battle between magicians: Those that eschew wands, versus the establishment who rely on them to realise their powers.
The plot is suitably murky and fantastical, but where The War Against The Assholes does excel is in capturing the stop-start adrenaline rush of being 17 and finding out who you are and what you are morally capable of.
Get past the wordiness and it’s really quite admirable — if unsatisfying.
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