Published: 8 July 2013
Series: Apocalypse Now Now #1
Format Read: Audible
Duration: 10 h 38 mins
Baxter Zevcenko’s life is pretty sweet. As the 16-year-old kingpin of the Spider, his smut-peddling schoolyard syndicate, he’s making a name for himself as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Profits are on the rise, the other gangs are staying out of his business, and he’s going out with Esme, the girl of his dreams.
But when Esme gets kidnapped, and all the clues point towards strange forces at work, things start to get seriously weird. The only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin.
Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.
Well hello there my friends it is I. Mc Salty in the flesh. Miss me? Dave has been stuck with a different novel for about a month now and will probably be doing a massively stinky review on the book in a setting he just never seems to tire from, whenever the hell he manages to finish it that is. I am kinda feeling guilty that I was asked by his wife to give today’s book a go as I actually had a lot of fun with it. Milou gaveme those puppy eyes that I could just tell was full of malicious intent and yet I fel for it. Dave does not know what a lucky man he is to have such a beautiful wife, which makes this review even beter to for me to write. The book back fired nearly whole heartedly on her as I had quite the pleasant experience with it. Also, is it weird that I am potentially writing my second “nice” book review? Anyway, enough about me, let us take a look at Apocalypse Now Now.
For those that did not grow up under the South African sky and were unfortunate not to be educated in one of the 11 official languages that the country has, let Salty clue you in on a little fact of the word NOW NOW it resembles NO NO in English by way of pronunciation. The actual word is derived from the Afrikaans ”nou-nou” (which can be used both in future- and immediate past-tense) idiomatically used to mean soon (sooner than just now in South Africa, but similar to just now in the United Kingdom). It’s more immediate than Now but still may never happen. Confusing as that may seem, Dave used it a lot before relocating to where he now lives and I vaguely remember quite a few rows happening between him and Milou because of the term. It does not help that Dave is a South African and can at times be quite the forgetful idiot when it comes to doing things. Milou has at least accepted that now now will in most cases never happen, but one can stay hopeful, right? With that very vague explanation out of the way we can at least get the jist of the novel we had to deal with, an Apocalypse could happen any minute now, but could also not happen for a while if it was left to a South African…
Why am I talking so much about South Africa you may think and the answer to that is very simple. Cape Town is commonly known as the Mother city of South Africa. It is also interesting to know that Cape Town also confuses the linguistical academics trying to understand why it is called Cape Town in English, but in Afrikaans they call it Kaap Stad, directly translated back to English it would be Cape City then… Weird hey? Then again as weird as that is the novel in question was equilly so.
Apocalypse Now Now was a novel seen through the eyes of a 16 year old, I have my reservations when it comes to Y.A, yet I am always open to try out new genres. Turns out that A.N.N was a good mix of a lot of genres that I liked. Imagine Harry Potter was set in South Africa, mixed in with both South African history and culture as well as their myths and legends, thrown in with some zombies, karate Dwarf monks, a heavy pinch of salt around the porn industy in general and you got yourself a batch of WTF indeed. If you cannot imagine Harry Potter in S.A just watch Escape from Pretoria, Daniel Radcliff actually played a character based on a true story set during the the Apartheid era in S.A. No Magic there, but you know, he played Harry… Story wise there was quite a lot going on and to keep track of. Zevchenko had a lot going on and there was quite some world building going on as well as South African popculture references that people not with S.A background would miss, unless they took time to look things up, it did not take too much away from the main story and it was also not in the form of info dumps so that worked quite well. What I liked most about the whole story in general was the way that African mythology as well as South African history meshed to give us this mystic sect called the Siener bloodline (Afrikaans pronunciation Seen-er). Siener van Rensberg was the South African version of Nostradadamus and was quite a legend during the second Boer War. To have that in the background was pretty neat. As well as the one main Zulu myth the Tokoloshe. I know Dave was planning on doing something with African Urban legends for the month of October, so I will not go to deep into that here.
To me the story worked well. I understand that most of the bad reviews this gets might be from people who would’ve wanted to learn more of S.A, but got put of by a snot nosed teen selling porn at his school to make an extra buck. Also gangs in schools might be a thing, but it surely was not when Dave was in school. Then again Dave went to a rural agricultural school and did not grow up in the city, so I cannot comment too much on the plausibility of those things. It sounded way worse than it might have been in that school, but then again this is fictional so if you can forgive a kid doing a side hustle and look past his I am so cool I an ice cold ego, then you will already have a better time with it. Zevchenko is also not a traditional South African surname and it was great the way that the author incorporated not only South African culture, but also tipped his hat to all the cultures around the world that came to S.A at some point and stayed to make it the vibrant place it is today. I do not know if this review does the book any justice, but all I have to say is that all things considered, it was a propper fun read for me. Cringe deluxe at times, yet super entertaining at other times. When a book makes you want to go read up on historic and mythical beings of the country where you originate from, that is a good thing right? Also having a Dwarf as a tag along made this extra enjoyable for old Salty here, Jackie was a good laugh. He had the right amount of screws loose for my liking. Also I wish he was around when I was still living across the ocean, we would’ve been great chums.
I gave this a 3 out of 5 on GR. I can only recommend this to those that want to dip their toes into some batshit crazy South African joyride. It will most certainly not be for everyone. Thats it for guys and gals. Till next time! I’ll see you now now hehehehe…