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Minireview: Switchflipped, by Greg Stolze

Switchflipped is a stand-alone novel with a lot of Unknown Armies influences, but it’s not an UA novel; it’s just written by Greg Stolze who was also one of the authors of UA, here playing with a different take on some of the concepts. It’s an “urban fantasy”, set in the modern world, featuring a hapless guy named Jasper who starts out chasing after his long-lost, then found, then vanished again (ex)fiancée… and ends up stumbling into an secret, occult world of the “switchflipped”, people who embody and channel various traits and concepts and get strange powers as a result. That’s the main UA link, and it’s also a (small) bit like the basic setup of Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”.

I liked the book quite a bit, but also found it a bit frustrating. The story rolls along nicely, and the characters are a zany bunch; Stolze is a good writer and this is him on home turf… sort of. It’s a lot more light-hearted than most of his tales, and even though there is action and tension, there’s very little real sense of danger here. That’s perhaps a small minus, though it depends on what you are looking for, the story does entertain. My frustration mainly comes from the ending: the book just ends, quite suddenly, leaving lots of important plot threads unresolved. While the main dangling plot is quite clearly left open-ended on purpose, the fact that the primary conflict just sort of… gets resolved, quite quickly, leaves the reader going “huh. that’s it?” at the end. This book could really use a sequel. As is, it doesn’t quite satisfy in the end.

All that said, it’s a fun, lightweight urban fantasy tale, with fun characters and good writing. Great summer reading.

There’s also a short story “/ + 7” available, which provides some background detail and clarification from a different viewpoint. Worth reading.

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