Book Review: Toy Wars
Mamma Bear Book Review
*A bear trundles in with a book under one, fuzzy arm*
I spent a few years eyeballing Toy Wars by Thomas Gondolfi at various scifi conventions. Something about the giant teddy bear with an assault rifle really spoke to the absurdist in me, and I finally picked up a copy, for which I am very glad. From its premise to the very last page, Toy Wars, is straight up fun, and funny, and most definitely absurd.
Toy Wars begins when a planetary exploitation project designed to land and consume resources on alien worlds crosses its wires during a computer hack with a toy manufacturer's product schematics. Additionally, multiple landers are placed on a single planet in error. The units, designed to create legions of automatons to pillage the world's resources and send them back to Earth, begin to churn out toy shaped robots for the job.
The factories, thinking that they are alone on the planet, take their counterparts' robots as native enemies, and the Toy Wars are on... like Donkey Kong. I had to say it.
Our protagonist is a purple teddy bear soldier who due to a modification in his hydraulic fluid (spinal fluid?) becomes self-aware. Instead of mindlessly destroying the other factories' toys, he works out the truth and the folly of their situation while rising through the ranks to become a little toy general.
Toy Wars is fun, and funny, but don't let that confuse you. It is absolutely a piece of military fiction, wrapped around strategy, tactics, and combat. But, it's also a hero's journey, an adventure story, and a highly entertaining read.
It gets a solid four claws from me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the reading of it.
The characters in Toy Wars are all robotic toy warriors or AI factories. I found them diverse and very original. My only complaint was that (especially toward the end) our purple hero begins to read a lot like whatever the male version of a Mary Sue is. He is very smart, very powerful, and rarely flawed in any way.
No one can say the world in Toy Wars is not unique. Okay, you have to take a big ol suspension of disbelief to swallow the initial premise, but once you have, just relax and go along for the ride. The world is beautifully rich and full of adventure.
The pacing was steady, and kept me well hooked. I really didn't expect to enjoy this read as much as I did, and I know I've said it before, but this is a seriously fun book to read.
The creativity used in designing the toy armies really appealed to me. I chuckled, more than once, and nothing makes me happier than reading a story with a heavy dose of humor. Toy Wars totally provides.