Dale E. Basye is a remarkably good author. His books are well-written, the characters are interesting, and the puns are hilarious. This book, while not too different from the usual Heck-ish fare, takes a slightly darker turn. Join me, will you, for my journey into the second newest installment of the Heck series.
Plot: You should know that this is much darker than the first books. An alternate universe is shown for a good portion of the novel and it travels into the realms of the genuinely scary. Not that the earlier volumes aren’t creepy, but this almost delves into “Nightmare Fuel” territory. I believe that if Mr. Basye ever chose to write horror novels, he could rival the great Stephen King. Additionally, the puns partially disappear at the story gets darker. I don’t mean that there is a flaw in the writing, I just mean that they populate less of the book in order to focus on the action and universe. When they do appear, they are spot on and almost calculatingly created. Much like Stephan Pastis, author of the newspaper strip Pearls Before Swine, I believe that Mr. Basye plans out certain puns and in-jokes beforehand, making sure to have them be important to the plot, not just throw-away jokes that add nothing to the book.
As for the other portion of the plot, it continues to be engaging. I truly enjoy seeing the new villains of each book, but that can wait for my opinion on the characters. The plot that they come up with is hard to spot and the climax is masterfully done. Similar to, although this may be a strange comparison, Seinfeld, he manages to combine two partially unrelated plots into one without it seeming contrived.
Characters: Milton and Marlo are as well-characterized as ever. I particularly enjoy seeing the moments where it shows that they do have affection for each other, despite the occasional taunt or threat of bodily harm. In a way, it reminds me of Gravity Falls, though a cartoon is very different from a book, Dipper and Mabel are less argumentative, and they are not dead. (As far as we know. Alex Hirsch, the creator of the show, is also an excellent writer.) As for the teachers, I am amazed at the amount of work that Mr. Basye has put into his characters. I would wager that he spends most of his time researching various historical figures to use for the next book. The characterization in them is so astounding, I find myself wondering if that is what they would actually act like in real life. When they were alive, of course. An interesting thing to note is that I didn’t recognize Yung or B. F. Skinner when I first perused this book. After the first semester of A. P. Psychology, I can definitely recognize those names. Thankfully, a certain Sigmund Freud didn’t appear, but I do suspect that Mr. Basye may have toned down certain…aspects of his studies for the book. On the other hand, maybe not.
I really don’t know what else to say. The writing is truly engaging. I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about Precocia. It earns an A+. I hope that the next installment will be just as good! (It is as good, but I wanted to end my review in a good way. Of course, I have ruined that with this sentence, but we will disregard that. Just go to your local bookstore/library and pick up this series. Make fan art and fan videos. Make fanfiction if you want, I don’t know about Mr. Basye’s opinion on that. You will have to ask him.) Have an excellent day, readers!