Plot: Nunchuck City takes place in fictional Turbo City, a vivid backdrop for a lively and eccentric thriller sure to appeal to younger readers, especially those who enjoy martial arts, weapons, humor, and comic violence. The story and its characters are less prominent than the thematic and stylistic elements here.
Prose/Style: The prose is playfully over-the-top, wonderfully absurd and crude. The style is an ideal match for the madcap energy of the circumstances and the book's breakneck pacing.
Originality: Tropes are abundant, but Asman puts a fresh spin on the familiar through his highly visual and cinematic worldbuilding.
Character Development/Execution: Nick and his friends--and enemies--are suitably extreme and hyperbolic in their actions. The world of martial arts, ninjas, pits, and cheese fondue is fun, surprising, and sure to find an eager readership.
Date Submitted: April 01, 2021
Asman (Jailbroke) has a pitch-perfect ear for the tropes of martial arts movies, which he uses to mock them again and again. We first meet Nick when he is apparently battling an opponent trying to strangle him with a rope—but it turns out he's simply trying to fasten a Windsor knot in his tie. He is then attacked by a local street gang, who set themselves apart with houndstooth jackets and argyle socks, and an invalid warrior cared for by elderly villagers drinks soup provided by old women, "who also peed in it." The gross and adolescent humor alternates with horrific violence, but for those hungry for this, Nunchuck City offers a feast.
The novel is populated by a series of caricatures used to create humorous vignettes. We meet Skip Baxter, the allegedly all-powerful founder of a martial arts school (but who is easily beaten by a five-year-old child), and the Turbo City mayor: "A lifelong politician, the concept of helping people was as foreign to Mayor Joe as advanced calculus to a Lhasa Apso." And there's a running joke about the stereotypically evil Saru, who thinks his name is Japanese for "glorious warrior," but really is "shitty monkey." Readers will enjoy laughing at the ongoing takeoff of actioners all the way to the cheerful conclusion.
Takeaway: Fans of martial arts movies will find much to laugh at in this lively lampoon.
Great for fans of: Harvard Lampoon, John Swartzwelder.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B