Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz

Posted On 26 February 2015

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I just loved Flex.  It gripped me virtually immediately with a very shocking start and then just had me hooked.  I really, really enjoyed it and it brings a whole new meaning to what goes around comes around!  This book is all about the payback and weighing the options that are in front of you.

Flex brings to us a world where magic exists.  In every other way the world is as we know it, well, except that Europe has been eliminated as a result of a cataclysmic event caused by magic users.  You see, every time magic is created (Flex) there is a downside, if you will, (Flux) and this has to go somewhere.  It usually ends up injuring the loved ones of those practising magic meaning they are usually quite solitary souls.  Consequently, magic is outlawed.  Magic users are feared and hated.  They’re like terrorists because of the damage they cause.  They’re hunted and when found indoctrinated (or brainwashed) in the army – where all the magic users now have a ‘hive’ mind mentality with no freedom of thought.  The flux can tear holes into the world that just basically swallow everything and so those with the ability to conjure, ‘mancers’, are hated with a vengeance.

The thing with Flex is that it’s kind of addictive and can be stored in crystals and used by others. The results are not usually good though because people ‘using’ Flex don’t know their own limits and they certainly don’t know how to syphon off the flux in the least damaging way, even experienced ‘mancers can still cause a ‘rain of toads’.  In that respect the book gets off to an immediate start.

Paul Tasbo is the main character in the book.  Paul used to be a cop.  He went after a ‘mancer and instead of following the golden rule (call in back up) he went in alone.  The result, he lost a foot during a shooting.  The ‘mancer was killed and Paul was the only person to survive such a meeting!  Consequently he became quite famous there for a while with all the ‘mancer haters’ loving him!  Paul left the force and went into insurance.  Strangely, this is where the story really comes into it’s own.  Paul has a love of paperwork and keeping things in order and his love of all things in their rightful place seems to extend to him having his own magical ability.  Paul is a Bureaucromancer!  Seriously!

Now, at the start of the book we have a series of terrible events that give a good idea of how seriously bad the Flux can really be.  However, these events have been orchestrated by a ‘mancer on a mission, almost a serial killer.  Unfortunately, during one of these attacks Paul’s daughter Aliya is badly hurt and now he’s hellbent on finding the culprit.  Coupled with this his his desire to learn more about his magic and his need to help his daughter.

This book is just so damned good.  There is plenty of action and the magic is great to read about with all the different strains.  Paul ends up with a ‘mentor’ called Valentine.  A young woman who is gamemancer – just how cool is that.  And, that’s the thing this book is filled with ‘all the cool’.  You can totally get your geek on with all the gaming references and Valentine is an excellent character with her obsessive gaming. In fact, Paul and Valentine make an excellent team.

Why did I love this book.  Well, whilst it feels like it has lots of things that may ‘remind’ you of other things it also feels totally unique.  It has the feel of something that would be great in a comic book and the action and magic put you in mind of super heroes.  That’s not to say that the magic is totally explained – or maybe I’m just too dense!  It seems that if you obssess enough about a thing you twist reality or physics into something more and unleash your own potential. Then there’s the whole conundrum of right vs wrong, loss, betrayal and – well, just everything.

Not a terribly eloquent review I have to admit – I’m probably too close to having just finished the book and still feeling in that excited zone that you reach when you read something different and compelling.  But, well, it may not be the most well written I hope that I’ve made my feelings clear.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book.  I don’t have any criticisms.  In fact I can’t conceive of anybody not liking it.  I want more.

I received a copy of this from the publishers through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.


25 Responses to “Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz”

  1. Tammy

    I can’t wait to read these, unfortunately I have a bunch of March review books to read first! I’m so glad you loved it, I trust your opinions!

  2. Your friendly librarian

    I love it when books blend sci-fi and fantasy elements and it actually works. It sounds like an interesting read that’s definitely worth checking out. Is it part of a series (everything seems to be nowadays) or is it a standalone?

    • lynnsbooks

      I have a feeling there will be more – and in actual fact I really hope there are!
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    It’s that good? That’s so great to hear, I had to pass on this one because of a busy review schedule, but it’s going on the wishlist!

    • lynnsbooks

      I really liked it I can’t deny it. In a way it’s difficult to express why – I’m genuinely not sure – but I was hooked. And also sort of fascinated.
      Lynn 😀

  4. jenclair

    I passed on this one as well, but now I’m having to reconsider! Your review has persuaded me to add it to the list.

    • lynnsbooks

      I just loved it! I’m not even any good at articulating why but I was riveted to the book! And, I would definitely read more.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    OK, I only skimmed your review because I’m halfway through this right now. Glad to see such high praise for it, so far I am really enjoying it 🙂 Though, I am waiting to see if it will diverge more from something it “reminds” me off very very strongly. Time will tell 🙂 I am hoping it does, but even if it doesn’t, its still a good read.

    • lynnsbooks

      I definitely had little markers here and there that reminded me of different things. I can see for example where the Breaking Bad references come from. And it almost had an x-men type of feel. But on the whole it had me fixed to the page. I’m all a-wondering what you think it seems similar to – ooh, can’t wait for your review now. I hope you like it too.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Redhead

    I knew you would love this one! Isn’t it just so, SO good?

    ” I’m probably too close to having just finished the book and still feeling in that excited zone that you reach when you read something different and compelling.”

    for me, that feeling lasted about 2 weeks.

    • lynnsbooks

      I am still excited by it. I can’t even really articulate how I felt about it – it was just so fucking good that I don’t have the words!

  7. Fun stuff from around the Blogosphere! | the Little Red Reviewer

    […] at Lynn’s Book Blog loved Ferrett Steinmetz’s Flex as much as I […]

  8. nikki @ book punks

    I loved it too. Yeeeeeeeey. Mooooooooore.

    I have a review of it up here, if you feel like coming by to chat about it all some more: http://www.bookpunks.com/flex-by-ferrett-steinmetz/

    I totally loved the Death Metal magic detail. So so much to love here.

    • lynnsbooks

      I was wondering if there would be more books – it certainly lends itself to a series I think?
      Lynn 😀

  9. Ana

    I disagree, I think your review was very eloquent indeed. It was a pleasure to read it.
    I think the best reviews convey the feelings the reader had while reading the book, so yours is spot on. It definitely made me want to read the book.
    I quite enjoy the idea of there being consequences to magic; usually it is so available to people, a lot of them get great at it without ever practicing for instance, so this definitely sounds intriguing.
    Thank you for the review!

    • lynnsbooks

      Aw, thank you – sometimes I think I should wait a few days before writing a review but I can’t! I have to get my thoughts down on the page immediately so sometimes they do come out as a bit of muddle!
      It’s such a good book – I just loved it and I want everybody to read it – it’s not asking much really!
      Lynn 😀

      • Ana

        Oh no, I think you should keep writing them as soon as you finish the book. Those initial thoughts are the most valid in my opinion, because I think a review should be all about the ride, and that’s when your thoughts are the freshest.
        Everything was very clear though, no worries!

      • lynnsbooks

        Sometimes though, I look back at a review and I think ‘did I really write that’!! But, I guess that’s my strange and higgledy piggledy style!
        Lynn 😀

  10. Ana

    Eheh yes, I can totally relate and admit that I have edited reviews later because of it :$

  11. To adapt or not to adapt! | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz – this is an excellent book and could be a brilliant, exciting and totally over the top film almost in the style of comic book super hero. […]

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    […] Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz – so unique and compelling […]

  13. The Flux by Ferrett Steinmetz | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] by Ferrett Steinmetz over at The Speculative Herald (below is a condensed version).  My review of Flex is here).  Basically: I love both these books and can’t wait for […]

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