The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss Review

the unfortunate decisions of dahlia moss

Dahlia Moss is jobless and broke. Then a wealthy gamer offers her zillions to solve an MMORPG mystery, only to wind up dead…

Dahlia Moss is in a bit of a rough spot. She’s broke, jobless, and living off the good graces of her eccentric roommate, Charice. She can’t afford to buy lunch, let alone pay her rent. For several months, she’s been spending every waking moment trying to get her life in order and she has nothing to show for it.

When a wealthy gamer offers her a staggering amount of money to discover who stole a one-of-a-kind spear in the popular MMORPG Zoth, Dahlia accepts without too much hesitation. Roleplaying games and film-noir career ideas are not out of her repertoire.

When her client winds up dead, Dahlia realises she might be under-qualified for the job.

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss is a fun, lighthearted novel which pokes fun at contemporary geek and gamer culture while politely nodding to the mystery genre. Wirestone doesn’t try to rely on extensive real-life fandom references. Instead he skillfully creates a culture around the fictional Zoth, allowing characters to exchange insider jokes which readers can still relate to. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss doesn’t take itself seriously, its humour ranging from subtle, eyebrow-lifting moments to ridiculous, chandelier-swinging antics that make it difficult to read this book in public without giggling.

What really makes The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss a delightful read is the depth of personality Wirestone captures in not only Dahlia herself, but also in the supporting characters. Dahlia may define herself as a geek, but she’s a person first and there’s more to her than the worn-out stereotype. Roommate Charice is interesting enough to make the reader desire a spin-off novel about Dahlia’s themed-house-party and minor-crime-committing roomie. The list of suspects forces Dahlia to consider not just their in-game personas, but the real people behind the characters, and it is nice to see online culture valued for its ability to bring people together and the effects of the relationships formed.

Have you ever lost an afternoon (or two…or three) to an online roleplaying game? If so, or if you’ve ever found yourself wishing real life was a little more fantastical, this could prove and absolutely lovely read.

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss is written by Max Wirestone and was published by Orbit Us Books in 2015. Visit your local library, support your favourite bookstore, or check out a copy from Amazon.