REVIEW: The Virtuous Ones

Today’s book is a very wild read. If you ever get your hands on it, please let me know. I’d love to see your reactions, because nothing, absolutely nothing could’ve prepared me for this.


The Virtuous Ones
by Christopher Stoddard

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Meet the Mad Men of the 21st Century!

In this work of fiction, Pure Creative, an ad agency, has set its sights on popular rap star Markus in hopes of cinching one of the most profitable collaborations ever: turning the viral music video for his number-one song “Holy War”-in which he ventures into poor neighborhoods to make broad gestures of generosity-into an ad campaign for their most lucrative client, the telecommunications giant Telco.

Pure Creative’s client services lead, Ella, is dealing with other challenges. She’s struggling with deteriorating judgment and frayed nerves caused not only by work overload but by several traumatic events in her past. As a result, she’s mismanaging the Telco account, putting her career, and the entire Holy War project, at risk. As if that weren’t enough, an onslaught of bad press about Markus’s very politically incorrect private life will begin to threaten Pure’s squeaky clean image as the “woke-est” agency in the world. Despite these hurdles standing between Pure Creative and success, its creative director, Link, has convinced himself that this campaign will finally give him a chance to do some real good in the world. Why, then, can’t he shake the nagging feeling of being an imposter?

In this Swiftian, often comical narrative, Stoddard satirizes the newest and perhaps most manipulative weapon of today’s advertising industry: branded content that promotes progressive social values-and all for the “pure” and unadulterated goal of… sheer profit.

BOOK REVIEW

*A review copy was provided by ITNA press in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 STARS

warning: abuse, rape, drug use, suicide, prejudice, possibly everything under the sun that could need a warning

Only someone from an agency would write something as wild as this. It’s messy, insane, unbelievable and way too amusing to forget.

I was 22% per cent into this book until I recognised its satire and could not unsee it. Initially, the characters were strange. Familiar, but exaggerated. I didn’t really question it much as I have seen such characters in other books before. It was only when we were introduced to Axel, the eccentric new Chief Creative Officer who introduced a cultish ‘branding process’ for Pure’s new branding that made it clear. Well, it was actually the part where Axel smokes two packs a day that made me realise it was satire, because we all know they vape now, don’t we?

This book is entertaining, fast-paced and very hectic. Still, I enjoyed every moment of it because nothing, absolutely nothing was expected. This book is not meant to be taken seriously, but if you’re down for something entertaining to read, albeit dark at times, try this. There’s absolutely no way I can write a review that will do this justice, but it feels like a constant challenge of “what is the most unexpected scenario that could happen” that drives this book forwards.

From the pandemic to pop culture, society to relationships, this book is a reflection of humanity at its’ extreme. Definitely a read you can’t forget.

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