Rating: 4.5 stars
SLAY are BACK…and this time they’re headed to Tokyo to track down another hell-raising demon. When they’re invited on tour with a super-cool band of holographic girls, SLAY find themselves whisked off around Japan – until strange things start happening on their tour train. Suddenly it seems it’s not just SLAY’s fans following their every move…
10th January 2019
Firstly, thank you so Usborne Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I have an exciting post for you today, as part of the SLAY: On Tour Blog Tour (isn’t that a mouthful…) I have a review and also a guest post from the author! Kim has kindly put a piece of writing together about her top pop culture references for this book, so if that is of interest to you keep scrolling!
This is the epitome of a really fun book to read! The banter between the characters, the crazy things they get up to, the amazingly imaginative twists and turns, it is a thoroughly fantastic book and I had one of the most enjoyable reading experiences whilst reading it.
I loved everything about this book, but I especially enjoyed the plot and setting. I have always very much had an interest in Japan and Japanese culture and so reading a book set in Japan with a lot of their popular culture mixed in was really great! I have watched a lot of anime over the years and although that is only one aspect of Japanese culture (obviously) it was great to see some familiar things appearing in this book. I really loved the hologram band as well, as there are definitely artists in Japan that perform as holograms instead of themselves. I just thought it was fascinating to read about and also very clever.
The plot was also great, it followed on seamlessly from the first book and really went in a very different direction from the first book. Before starting this book I was very intrigued to see where it went as with a similar premise to the first book I wasn’t sure what could be done to make it very different, but Kim has the most amazing imagination and managed it fantastically. I did figure out the main plot twist before the reveal, but I actually really enjoyed it because it really increased the sense of urgency for the final few chapters as I was so worried for the characters with every decision they made.
The characters themselves were also amazing! Just as loveable as they were in the first book, and with even funnier banter! The group of characters in this book is truly wonderful to read about, I feel they truly represent what a group of close male friends are like in the way they just insult each other as much as possible, but done with a lot of love. Also the way they incorporate Milly into their ranks is absolutely endearing, they completely treat her like one of their own right from the outset, and she is not immune to teasing and all the harsh jokes they make!
My only complaint with the characters is that a love triangle is evolving quite rapidly and I am really not on board with it. I have definitely taken sides but I think it may just annoy me in future books! Love triangles are very difficult to write at the best of times, and I worry this one is going to upset the dynamic of the group and I am absolutely not okay with that happening!
Another aspect of this book I really enjoyed was the disability representation. I cannot necessarily speak on the accuracy of the representation of the disabilities but either way I thought it was really great that were included and in such a nonchalant way. They are handled and dealt with well whilst not overpowering the stories or characters, which I think was a really good balance.
I always love the writing in these books, they’re so much fun and very fast paced, whilst still giving you time to be with the characters and really enjoy the downtime between the awesome action scenes. The writing in general is really good, but the dialogue especially is masterful! Writing witty and funny dialogue is so difficult to achieve and Kim Curran manages to infuse so much banter into the dialogue in this book, it is really very impressive and just makes me fall in love with the characters over and over again!
That is about all I have to say, but if you want to know more about this world and especially it’s inspiration then keep reading for Kim’s top pop culture references!
– Maddie Browse
KIM’S TOP POP CULTURE INFLUENCES
When I set out to write Slay, I was writing purely for myself, with no intention of it ever being published – just having fun and playing around in the world I’d created. As such, I found – often subconsciously – I was throwing together all the favourite pop culture from my teens, in one gloriously absurd mash-up. When it came to writing Slay On Tour, I wanted to dial everything that I had loved about writing Slay up a notch. And that included the subtle and not so subtle pop culture references!
So, here are my top pop culture references you’ll find in Slay on Tour.
Slay started out life as a conversation with my best friend about the Supernatural fandom. And so it’s only right that the Winchesters are the top of my list of influences. Not only because of their battle against demonic forces, but also because of the brotherly love that keeps driving them forward.
An ensemble group, wise cracking their way through crisis after crisis. Tick and tick. It’s easy to see the big influence Buffy had on Slay – especially the infamous Once More With Feeling musical episode. I reckon the Slay boys and Buffy would get on great.
I have a confession. I wasn’t a One Direction fan when I started writing Slay. In my head, their music is much more akin to 5OS. And yet, having listened to 1D over and over when writing Slay and Slay On Tour, the boys are very much in my hearts.
High School Musical
One of my greatest career achievements is that I launched HSM in the UK. As such, I know every word and pretty much every dance move. If Slay were to become a film (and watch this space) I imagine it as a kind of High School Musical but with more demon slaying.
In Slay On Tour, when the band hit a Karaoke bar, I paid homage to HSM by having Milly and JD sing a particular duet made famous by Troy and Gabriella.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
TMNT were my favourite when I was in my early teens. I had the TMNT pencil case. The tee shirts. I watched it every week and collected the comics. And yet, I’d mostly forgotten about it as I got older (much like most of the films, which I’ve blotted from memory). It was amusing to me, then, to look back at Slay and suddenly realise how much I’d taken from the turtles without even realising it, right down to the wise leader with an injured leg! Raph was my favourite. Of course.
Keep following the Slay: On Tour Blog Tour to read about more of Kim Curran’s Top Pop Culture Influences.