Karma – a simple idea which at its core tells us that we get what we deserve. Good people who do nice things are rewarded with more good coming their way, whereas bad people who do worse things are punished with misfortune. From this simple concept, Darragh McManus is able to constructs a well written and endearing yarn.
The focus of the story takes place in New York, and introduces us to an interesting band of anti-heroes. The 3W gang, as we come to know them, have a simple philosophy: to battle against the injustices of society by punishing those who they view as emphasising everything that is wrong with society. They tackle the homophobes, the misogynists and the extremists and in so doing face the ire of gay police officer Danny Everard. So begins a game of cat and mouse with Detective Everard in hot pursuit of the vigilantes, while also fostering a secret sympathy for them and their methods.
The plot itself is a well-executed piece and manages to illuminate all sides of the argument at the core of this book. Between the ideas of law and karma and standing up for the oppressed, this book presents a well-reasoned argument for enacting vengeance on people for the crimes they commit. Indeed there are even moments where it begins to feel like the vigilantes are the only sane ones in a city of insane people. However, as the book progresses it seems as though the message becomes a little murky and left us wondering if the anti-heroes were really that heroic anymore.
The characters of this world were something of a mixed bag. The bad guys were suitably wicked to make us want to hate them; however, our good guy felt a little bit like a paint-by-numbers creation without much depth. Then we came to our 3W gang who were very much a marmite flavoured confection. They were unique and felt as though they had a tremendous statement to make with what they felt as a world gone wrong, which made them sweet to follow. However, as the action continued a bitter taste crept as the gang’s motivations were revealed, leaving us more than a little incredulous.
The main complaint we have with this book is its shocking brevity. While the story itself was good and the characters were well written we felt as though we only really had a brief taste of their shared world. This meant that while we were taken along with the storyline it felt a little bit too rushed and underdone. It also made us feel that the motivations of our characters were not explored as well as they could have been and the only person who feels like they missed out is the reader.
Even Flow is a good story, and more than that it has an original execution that makes it worth the price of purchase. However we just felt as though what started out with so much promise seemed to leave us with a little less than what we had hoped. However we were pleased with what we read and quickly grew to enjoy McManus’ turn of phrase and his great links to music and culture which made his world feel all the more real. A good effort, but just needs a little more oomph.
Even Flow is available from Amazon.