Before I begin, I feel I should inform y’all that I am writing this post while listening to “Running in the 90s” off the Initial D OST and it is the best goddamn decision I’ve made all morning. *bobs head as the Eurobeat intensifies* This song fits the book I’m about to rave about so perfectly.
Anyway! Happy Friday to you all! Since I am nostalgic for adrenaline-infused-badass adolescence, I am here today to recommend a book that is by far one of the finest fucking modern cyberpunk novels that I had read in a very, very long time, Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea.
Recently I was chatting with my cousin about our favourite books in the past couple of years and this one instantly popped into my mind. After doing a quick search, I was supremely disappointed to discover that few people have heard of Koko Takes a Holiday, and fewer have read it, which blew my fucking mind. So, in an effort to raise more awareness for it, I’m here today to tell you why you need to get off your cushy-tushy and read this novel!
I’ve written a wonderfully enthusiastic review for Koko Takes a Holiday (one of my very first reviews for the blog, so please ignore the terrible pictures) that goes into detail about everything I adore about it, which you can check out here. Instead of re-hashing that review, I’m simply going to provide a succinct list of the top five elements that make it the ideal read for summer and anyone who enjoys cyberpunk science-fiction literature.
“Koko storms back inside growling inferno. With no time, she knows what she has to do. The safe is in the pantry behind the building’s small galley kitchen in the rear. It takes a couple of wipes of her watering eyes to get a clean retinal scan, but once the safe pops open Koko grabs all the credits she can carry, a small stash of crinkle-flake, plus an extra bottle of aged forty-five-year-old beauty she’s been saving for a special occasion. What the hell, Koko thinks. She may not live through this, and now is as good as a time as any. She cracks the seal on the bottle and chugs a huge gulp.
5. Scintillatingly Inventive Cyberpunk World-Building
🍹 There are tropical islands that contain resorts where people can live out their hero fantasy by blowing shit up for a vacationing-jolly-tastic-good-time or go the classic route and hit up some kinky brothels.
🍹 Kick-ass guns, gadgets, and gismos.
🍹 Excellent sciencey bits that is written into the narrative as the story progresses without compromising too much screen-time or long, prattley explanations; reader gets a great grasp of the setting and technology via senses, so to speak.
🍹 While the book utilises components of the genre, it puts a delightfully and somewhat disturbing twist on them. For example, people who have Depressus (depression, essentially) and are deemed hopeless, participate in mass suicide ceremonies where everyone jumps out of what is basically a giant ass airlock, into the recesses of space.
🍹 Mercenaries are as common as the cold with uniquely bizarre killing rituals.
4. Impeccably Written
🌴 Magnificently fast-paced with prose that is exhilaratingly effortless.
🌴 The different ambiances and atmospheres that Koko takes us through stimulates all the senses with their meticulous yet straightforward details, creating an all-encompassing experience.
🌴 Science and technical particulars keep the novel intellectual and introspective.
🌴 Beautifully inappropriate black humour.
3. Action-Packed Ass-Kicker From Beginning to End
🐠 From the first shoot-out at Koko’s brothel to every explosion and blow-out afterwards, it keeps you on your toes, page after page after page.
🐠 Exquisitely akin to John Woo films in terms of violence and vulgarity.
🐠 Gorgeously graphic and grotesque.
“The discharged pulse from Koko’s gun severs the redhead’s neck just above her collarbones. The woman’s long-locked skull flops backward across the open deck before it finally comes to a rest against a snaking section of ribbed fuelling hose. Neckbands from the dead woman’s throat scatter everywhere, and the rest of her bucking, decapitated body slams back into the hole and plummets down the shaft.”
2. Brilliant Badass Females
💋 Koko Martstellar is an unapologetically fierce protagonist with antihero tendencies that make her flawed as fuck, but extremely lively and likeable.
💋 With the exception of one male character named Flynn, all of the characters in the novel including the antagonists and villains are women who are tenacious, intelligent, deranged from their line of work in one way or another, merciless, and boldly badass!!
💋 The women are written in a realistic way without being fetishized or deprecated and are not victim to their pasts, mistakes, etc.
1. An Outstandingly Thrilling Good Time!
🐟 Koko Takes a Holiday is so much fucking fun!!!
🐟 It’s a frolicking, wild, kooky, visceral ride that you can’t help but read and read and read, and love and love and love.
🐟 Even with all of the science, the action, the cat-and-mouse theatrics, it never stops being pleasurable and interesting, and it will continuously keep you guessing!
So… yeah, go read Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea. The sequel is called Koko the Mighty, which I also highly recommend. The third instalment in this series, Koko Uncaged, releases during the first week of June and you can bet your ass I’m gonna get my paws on it.
With that, I wish you all a fantastic weekend! Thank you so much for visiting me today. I shall leave you with some of the lines from “Running in the 90s.” Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing! 🍹
Modem talking, modern walking in the streets
Take my higher, lift me higher with your speed
I need fire
Cyber talking, cybersex is on the line
Take me higher, boost me higher with your mind
Set me on fire
Running in the 90’s is a new way I like to be
I’m just running in the 90’s
Come on, baby, run to me
We are running in the 90’s, it’s a new way to set me free
I’m just running in the 90’s
Yes, I wanna know yes, I wanna see