They Called Me Mad, written by J Pal, is a humorous litRPG story set in the “real world” where aliens have landed and have turned planet Earth into a reality TV series. Being in the same vein as Dungeon Crawler Carl, I thought I’d enjoy this book a lot more than I did.
Yes, the story was fun, but I never had the sense any of the characters were in any real peril. Our protagonist, Mathew Alexander Dunphy (MAD), pulls solutions out of his butt at every opportunity, basically making him and his team invincible.
The team itself is like the cast of The Big Bang Theory sitcom. You’ve got the super smart one, the (mostly) normal one, the foreign one (even named Rajesh), the girl neighbour. All the guys are nerds.
Mathew becomes a “technogogue” – basically someone with the ability to merge random household items and the elusive MacGuffins dropped by the R.O.U.S.es and other alien-enhanced enemies. The enemies in this book (giant rats, giant hedgehogs, giant mantises) are a little underwhelming as enemies, and Mathew’s ability to pull together overpowered weapons never leads to (as mentioned earlier) any sense of peril.
Narration by Gary Furlong was good. It took me a while to realise he was the voice of the Waldo Rabbit book I listened to earlier in the year. Distinct voices for the characters and an overall well-produced feel to the whole thing.
So, will I continue with the series? Maybe. The story was fun, but it wasn’t easy to connect with any of the characters. I’ll likely wait until Audible puts them on sale.