Chew: Space Cakes by John Layman – A Book Review

I’ve been a huge fan of Chew since I ran across it in the public library soon after the first volume’s release.  An intelligent, action-packed, wickedly funny epic, Chew is the story of Tony Chu, a cop who can basically see the past of anything he eats – and I do mean anything.  By this sixth volume, Space Cakes, the cast of Chew has grown and evolved to the point that its main character, Tony, is actually comatose for most of the story while everyone else carries on, and that makes it no less enjoyable whatsoever.  In fact, Layman and Guillory have inserted a spark of life into each and every character, no matter how ridiculous, and made them leap off the page to the point that the reader is cheering for every flawed hero and booing every nefarious villain.  For example, Poyo, the blood-lustful cybernetic rooster, has a few solo adventures of his own in this work, even taking on the ultimate evil, and if that sounds crazy to you, it is.  But, that craziness is what makes Chew so much fun to read.  You never know what’s going to happen, and you know that there is no limit to what can occur.

The other part of the book features Toni Chew, Tony’s sister.  Toni is a NASA agent and has slowly been introduced during the duration of the series, and now that she takes center stage, we learn that she has a taste-related power of her own.  Much like Morpheus’s sister Death, Toni steals the show and her perky personality quickly wins over our hearts.

While Chew has always had its violent moments, they were always done with a touch of humor and silliness.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling it – this is an expertly written series.  In fact, I’m consistently amazed by how Layman connects and interweaves seemingly unrelated plots.  But, in this volume, things get very serious, and for the first time, I realized just how much these characters have come to mean to me.  I won’t spoil anything for you, but the book ends on a note that completely caught me off guard and left me reeling.

Absolutely imaginative with tight, intricate plots, Chew is a must read.  And while I hope it doesn’t become too serious, the last moment of tragedy is well-placed by Layman and a huge plot point to progress the series.  Is this book hilarious, insane, and always surprising?  Yes.  And it’s also one of the best books going.  Chew is required reading, and Space Cakes only reinforces this fact.

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