Now this is how you do an apocalypse story! Especially an apocalypse story without zombies! Jam is definitely the most insane book in Croshaw’s publication timeline. It’s an absolutely crazy premise (with a crazy explanation and eventual reveal) but he pulls it off really well!
Putting the incredibly ridiculous but still hilariously awesome plot aside for just a second, Jam is actually a really good apocalypse/survival story. It’s got all of the things you’d expect to see; team formations, dissection in the ranks, rationing, turf wars etc – as well as some things you might not expect; Goliath bird-eater spiders for one!
The beginning chapter of Jam is frankly fucking awesome. It’s very Shaun of the Dead and it lets you know exactly what kind of book you are getting yourself involved with! It starts off genuinely funny and it continues on that way throughout most of the book!
The quite astounding thing about Jam, given its damn near unbelievable and unrealistic plot, is that the characters are actually thoroughly believable for the most part! I was sanctuary really impressed at seeing real characters in a surreal environment – it really helped submerse me in to the world and it helped me accept it easier.
I really liked Travis as a character – I thought he was a likeable, yet flawed character for us all to get behind and I never got bored with him. Unfortunately, not all characters were quite so enthralling. I quickly got bored with X and Y and just found them to be doing and saying pretty much the same thing over and over again and they had little to no character development.
I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Tim – but I’m putting that down to the narrative style of Yahtzee Croshaw himself (yes, this was another audio book listen as I can’t pass up the opportunity to listen to a book narrated by the author) rather than the actual character. I feel as though I might have liked Tim a bit more if I had read the book rather than listened to it.
But I think the best testament to how good the characterisation is in Jam is that it genuinely has you caring about a Goliath Bird Eater – don’t know what that is? Click here! There were times when I was genuinely worried for its continued existence and found myself saying “don’t you dare kill that fucking spider!”.
Jam was incredibly funny at times – one of my all time favourite moments included true British sarcasm, Christmas pudding and milkshake.
I do have to admit that I found some of the descriptions to be lacking – there were times where I just wasn’t sure what was going on because there weren’t enough descriptions to paint a picture. There was also a running joke around the work ‘ironic’ that really stared to piss me off after a while.
I’d originally pegged Jam to be a psychological kind of book, but it was quite action-packed, which was a welcome surprise! However I did find the final act- the second half of the second half – to be a bit of a drag in places. Once again, I had to speed the audio up to about 1.25 because I personally felt that Crowshaw is a bit of a slow narrator. I also felt that Jam was perhaps a little longer than it needed to be.
But when all is said and done, Jam is a really fun book and a very fun and unique take on the apocalypse genre. I probably won’t read it again, but I’m definitely glad I have read it!
Does Jam sound like something you want to get your teeth in to? You can buy it here with FREE worldwide delivery!
Or you can listen to is on Audible! Get your FREE 30 day trial here!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.