Mr Real by Carolyn Crane
(Code of Shadows #1)
Self-published (Oct 2012)
Ebook, 360 pages
Mr Real lives up to the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ and it’s unfortunate that Alix hadn’t thought of that before she ordered herself up the fictional character Sir Kendall. Alix discovers the hard way that she has inherited more from her aunt than just a nice house. Within her aunt’s belongings is a computer programme that allows her to select an image from the internet and voila, twenty four hours later it is on her doorstop. In a moment of drunken whimsy she remembers martial arts instructor Paul from when she was a teenager . She had had a major crush on Paul and just when she thought they had a chance he callously drove her from the class. Alix had spent the intervening years under achieving and leading a hedonistic, somewhat selfish life and when she discovers her aunt’s computer programme she suddenly remembers that Paul had modelled as Sir Kendall, the spy for a liquor commercial.
Alix decides to throw caution to the wind and orders herself up a Paul substitute and it is here where her adventure starts. Little does she realise that Sir Kendall really thinks he is a spy and Alix is part of his evil nemesis’s plot to take over the world. It’s not until the real Paul shows up that things go from mad to crazy and a dastardly evil plan is uncovered that risks Alix’s chance to learn what’s really important in her life. Alix finds out the hard way that a few nights of fun can have deadly consequences.
Crane wastes no time in depicting Alix as the flighty and impulsive girl who thinks about the consequences well after the fact. In just the first few chapters you have a complete mental picture of the pink haired, ‘tartily’ dressed, good time girl who makes rash decisions that are based on having a good time. It takes a few more chapters and the introduction of Paul (the real Paul) that you find out that Alix is really more than a ‘tart with a heart’.
Chapters are dedicated to each of the main characters POV and you soon learn the back story to Paul’s life and why he treated Alix the way he did and with that you can empathise more with Alix. The ‘Sir Kendall’ chapters are quite humorous and made me think that it would be like having James Bond staying for the weekend as he was almost always in a tuxedo and his terribly posh accent made me chuckle. Alix was slow to grow on me and there were a few instances where I could have gleefully given her a good shake but perhaps this was the plan.
Crane has a great imagination and this is evident not just from Mr Real but also from the Disullusionist Trilogy. She is able to fully develop characters through using the POV scenes that give the reader different perspectives of the same scene. There was one plot twist I wasn’t totally convinced with but overall the plot was well developed and well thought through with the added bonus of it being almost every girl’s dream to order up an exciting boyfriend, jewels and nice car from the internet!
I enjoyed the story but I am a tiny bit concerned when I read on Goodreads that this is the first in a series. The ending seemed to wrap things up quite successfully so I am a bit stumped as to how this could be turned into a series. Saying that I am always happy to be surprised.
Mr Real is the clever re-telling of Weird Science and rather than two nerds creating their own gorgeous girlfriend, it’s the fun loving Alix who goes online and orders herself the perfect man. In her case the perfect man is Sir Kendall, a mysterious spy from a cheesy liquor commercial and coincidentally played by a flame from her past – Paul – but when the real Paul turns up then things really start to go crazy. Mr Real has just the right amount of action and romance to make it a fun read and I looked for to seeing how Alix was going to work out who was Mr Right and save the day in the process.
BUY YOUR COPY