Book Review + Interview: The Super Spud Trilogy by Michael Diack

Title: The Super Spud Trilogy

Author: Michael Diack

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Genetic engineering has accomplished many things, one of which has been to create the Super Spud! The humble potato elevated to new heights, creating the most flavoursome crisps ever known to humankind! But that’s not all – A magical transformation occurs to all Super Spud crisps not eaten before their use-by date. They take on a life of their own. And so long as they remain undetected by humans, they enjoy life in their own Super Spud cities, take part in major Super Spud sporting events and even start the odd Super Spud war or two. Join Colin, Cougar, Hannibal Vector, Generals Rock, Jock and Strap and all the others in their rollicking adventures. You’ll never look at a packet of crisps in the same way again! Fun, quirky and totally original.

My Review: When I first came across this book I was immediately intrigued. It is unique and I loved that it’s a comedy. The blurb aptly describes the book: It is a book of The Super Spud adventures and its wide variety of characters and they are always dying off. Afterall, they are at the bottom of the food chain and are constantly dying because of humans, animals, their constant wars, for entertainment and because of accidents. Luckily there is always another Spud to replace the ones that die. I also enjoyed the different flavors and the characteristics that each flavor is known for.

I also loved all of the human references. Um… I’m not sure if that’s the right way to put it. Diack draws many parallels with the human culture as far as music, tv and history and I absolutely loved it. He found a way to put a potato chip twist on all of it and this is without a doubt one of the things I enjoyed most about The Super Spud Trilogy.

The Spuds were always on an adventure and the book definitely wasn’t boring. Yet, it could of been a lot better. It had the potential to be a great novel but I found myself not enjoying Diack’s narrative style. At times I felt the story was told and not showed. Also, I understand the there are just too many ways for spuds to die and that they do have short life spans yet I think I would have enjoyed the novel more had the characters been more consistent. (Although I understand why they aren’t. It does go against their nature to last as long as they did.)

The Super Spud Trilogy was definitely creative and unique. I particularly enjoyed the spuds that were based on human culture and history and the laughs I got in account of this book. I’m not sure what to say exactly. It gets a lot of credit from me for ingenuity but I didn’t love it all that much. I’m going to be objective and say that I think the ‘it’s me not you’ principle applies here. I’m sure a lot of people will love this novel. I on the other hand had a tough time connecting with the characters, found the Spud antics to be too repetitive and the humor lacking at times.

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

Interview with the Author:
Let’s do a round of Quick Five to get to know you.
1. What would you name the autobiography of your life? In the field
2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Play guitar
3. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Legolas
4. What was your favorite snack as a child? A Twister ice cream bar.
5. What is your favorite Super Spud flavor? Steak and spinach flavour

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author and what motivated you to finally pick up a pen and write your first novel?
I can’t say I decided to become an author, I simply knew I had a story in my head which I wanted to write and finish. The primary goal of my writing was to make people laugh, relax and escape into this bizarre world of magical crisp packets. I told myself I’d be happy if I read a review and the reader said they laughed at least once. I love writing, it’s the ultimate form of escape for me: laptop on, music playing – I could write for hours. I don’t think I’d consider myself an author truly until I sold a heck of a lot more copies. For now I’m just another writer struggling to stand out from the crowd.

Q: Your Super Spud Trilogy is truly unique. Where did the idea for writing it come from?
When I was in primary school I was asked to write a short story. I wrote about Colin and Lucy the crisp packets, who came alive after their use-by date expired and, after becoming separated, met up again at the local rubbish tip and lived happily after. When I was 19, I remembered the story and went from there. The first chapter of the book is essentially my primary school story, just with a different ending. I wanted to write something that was funny, unique and a bit different, while also paying a tribute to the films and their characters which I grew up with and idolized – James Bond, Indiana Jones and Batman to name a few. It is a bit different to all other books out there and it hasn’t been to everyone’s taste, but I’d rather be remembered for that than writing something that’s been done a thousand times before.

Q: What was your favorite part of writing this novel?
To be honest it is always fun writing about the Super Spuds. I love drawing parallels between the human world and the Super Spud world, while creating new and wacky technologies and outlandish scenarios. I struggled with the first few chapters, it was hard to nail down the magical rules and to try and make walking, talking crisp packets seem remotely feasible to the reader. I think my favourite part is King Martin’s adventure, with the trip to the North Pole to save Santa and the team trials in the adventure playground of Mt Hiba. I also enjoyed the Italy chapter and paying tribute to Mulder and Scully.

Q: What songs would be included in your ideal soundtrack for The Super Spud Trilogy?
The Super Spuds love a good karaoke and I’m partial to a bit of cheesy pop, rock and power ballads, so there would have to be some Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Meat Loaf, Chesney Hawkes and the Baywatch theme ‘I’ll be ready’. Living on the edge by Aerosmith would sum up the Super Spuds’ perilous lifestyle perfectly.

Q: What’s next for you? Can we expect to see any more of your work anytime soon?
Yes, I will be releasing the fourth book in the next few months. It focuses on four main characters: King Martin, G-Boa, Kate and General Nectarine and sees them travelling to China, sailing the Pacific, visiting Hollyspud, meeting the US President, flying on Air Spud One and encountering pirates, zombies and their most evil Super Spud to date. There are also a host of new flavours to add depth to the story and even a trip to the moon by Astrospuds Neil and Buzz. The story will be fast-paced and lots of fun, but more emphasis on character dialogue, plotline and developing the Super Spud world as a whole. The main criticism for the first book was the number of deaths, which is due to the extreme vulnerability of the Super Spuds, but in Book 4 there won’t be as many and hopefully readers will feel more engaged with the characters. It’s also much more conventional in the plot building, while the previous book each chapter was almost an individual adventure, in Book 4 it all builds up to the final, enormous confrontation between the good and evil Super Spuds. Another main difference with this book is a lot of the action takes place at sea, involving two flavours we didn’t see much of in the first three books – the sea salt flavours and Fisherman’s Friend flavours.

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