Book Review: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia MossThe Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is great. Full disclosure, I received an advance digital copy of this book for an honest review.

I truly enjoyed this original book that I would describe as a suspense novel geared toward young adults (20s and maybe early 30s).

The novel is a detective story in many ways, first in that Dahlia is hired to locate the Bejeweled Spear of Infinite Piercing and then later due to an untimely death (who is the murderer and is it related to the spear??). There are plot twists and mysteries within mysteries. It is also , like many books and like life, in part, a love story.

Dahlia is a poor, out of work, living with a rich roommate, 20 something quasi-gamer geek who is lonely and takes on the bizarre challenge of becoming a detective to find a virtual spear for a young man, Jonah, she hardly knows because he is willing to pay her $2,000, which in her world is akin to gold.

Then the story takes off, we are subject to many, many (I am sure I missed some) literary references (and probably gaming references – which I surely missed) which offer their own amusement, though even more divine are the characters. Some (though not even close to all) of my favorite characters (other than Dahlia, whom I loved) were: Charice: the zany, rich, charming, oft adored roommate who may have a naked gay choir singing in a bedroom somewhere as I type, Masako: the mysterious ex-girlfriend who comes off somewhat cold at times but her intrigue is beguiling, and Nathan: the seemingly nice guy who somehow can endearingly poke fun at murder, live with his ex-girlfriend while trying to get a new one, and make you like him even more because of it. There are many other great characters: Threadwork, Clemency, Orchardary, the detective, the lawyer hired by Jonah’s mom, Emily, and more. Really if you enjoy quirky characters, this book is for you!

The story takes place in three places : the real world, the gaming world as it exists in the real world (think comic con for gamers), and the virtual world of Zoth. Thus many characters inhabit two or three of these worlds in various forms. I think this would make a great movie since there are so many costumes and visual aspects of interest and I want to see the ever important spear brought to life :)

There were some grammatical and spelling errors in my advance copy but I imagine they are fixed in the print/for sale copies.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes stories about the trials of becoming an adult, a good mystery, a gamer, or is well-read. I will read the next Max Wirestone book! I found myself impressed that the protagonist is a woman when the author appears to be a man, since Dahlia feels quite authentic.

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One thought on “Book Review: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

  1. Great review, thank you! This is exactly what I love about Goodreads, having friends who enjoy the same kinds of books that I do who introduce me to b

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