Sunday, 11 January 2015

Book Review - Emergence by John Birmingham

What do you get when you cross Jim Butcher with Kevin Hearne, and add a dash of good ole Australian dark humour, and loads of violence, sarcasm and wit… why John Birmingham’s Emergence of course!

Dave is your average joe. He works hard, and plays even harder. A legend in his own lunchtime, Dave is facing divorce and mounting tax debt when things turn upside down. Monsters from another realm invade Dave’s oil-rig, and his encounter with them changes him into something else entirely. A superhero… a goddamn superhero!

Warning… this review will contain language that might be offensive to some… but it is necessary to convey my opinion of Emergence.

You have been sufficiently warned….

So where do I begin… I fucking loved this book!!! It is evil… evil and hilariously entertaining. Birmingham has someone managed to craft a tale that is not only morrish and addictive but also hilariously dark and offensive at the same time. I can’t recall laughing as much as I did from reading Emergence (raging demon boners and Dave’s facebook statuses spring to mind as examples of humour… seriously… you have to read it to understand). I was grabbed from the start with Dave’s hangover monologue, and I ploughed through it like a Viking at a wedding feast! Birmingham has taken some of the best elements of urban fantasy and merged them with what I can only describe as bloody hilarious humour, cracking action and witty dialogue. His protagonist Dave is a rip snortingly funny hero, whose actions and language made my face hurt from the roars of laughter that exploded from my lungs. Emergence is not solely a comedy however, and Birmingham has masterfully weaved plenty of military detail and action (for fans his previous books, like me, this will come as no surprise) into the text to keep the story moving along nicely. The world building was top notch, with Birmingham cleverly incorporating monsters and the UnderRealms alongside modern elements like Barack Obama, Facebook, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Emergence is fast paced and easy to read. Before I knew it I had ripped through military engagements, maul smashing fights and blood fuelled rage and turned the final page. I yearned (yes John… yearned) for more!  The climax left things brilliantly open for the next instalment (entitled Resistance, due out in March), and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen when Earth faces the armies of the UnderRealms with Dave (even his name makes me chuckle) as our champion. Emergence reminded me of the first time I read Stormfront (Jim Butcher). It is just a bucket of monster filled fun, action and wit that you will remember reading twenty years from now (not because it is a literary masterpiece, but because it fucking hilarious and incredibly entertaining!). 

In the immortal words of Oliver Twist… please sir (or king… or God… whatever they call you these days John)… I want some more!

A bloody good read! 

5 out of 5 stars.


  1. The best part of this, mate, is that we all are going to get much, much more in very short order.

  2. And just imagine the super cool video game this is going to spawn.

  3. I know! I cannot wait for what is coming!