• Existentially Challenged

  • The DEDA Files, Book 2
  • By: Yahtzee Croshaw
  • Narrated by: Yahtzee Croshaw
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (1,441 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

With magic declassified in the UK, the fake psychics and fraudulent healers are running amok, and it's up to the Department of Extradimensional Affairs' newly appointed Skepticism Officers to crack down. But when they set their sights on Modern Miracle, a highly suspicious and fast-growing faith healing cult with remarkably good social media presence, even their skepticism is put to the test.

Is Modern Miracle on the level? Is Miracle Meg’s healing magic real? Why do dead bodies keep showing up on their doorstep? And just what is Miracle Dad's preferred flavour of crisp?

In Existentially Challenged, the sequel to Differently Morphous, the men and women of the Department of Extradimensional Affairs continue their struggle to uncover the motives of the Ancients under the ever-present threat of death, insanity, and sensitivity training.

©2021 Yahtzee Croshaw (P)2021 Audible Originals, LLC.

What listeners say about Existentially Challenged

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent mystery and characters, with a big issue

I've read all of Yahtzee Crosshaw's books, from the more humble beginnings of Mogworld and Jam to the more excellent books like Differently Morphous and Will Save the Galaxy for Food, and even for those works I've not enjoyed as much, there is definite quality to the writing. An author narrating their own work is often hit and miss, but Yahtzee does a decent job.

Now, what is great about this book? The mystery. Excellent crafting of intrigue and solveable before the end without being too easy. The expanding world lore is also exceptionally well crafted, giving off excellent Lovecraftian vibes while not sabotaging the humor.

What is not so great is the satire. While well handled in other books, Yahtzee feels ham handed here, pressing personal opinion over his more well balanced approach in Differently Morphous. Full disclosure, I am a Christian, but I am also quite familiar with Yahtzee's work and I am no stranger to authors that scorn my beliefs, I've read all of Terry Pratchett's books and he's still one of my favorite authors. The difference here is in how Yahtzee has approached the issue, demonstrating a clear lack of understanding when presenting the Christian side of things. Admittedly, he does throw the church a bone in that one of the main representions is identifiably meant to represent the Westboro Baptist church, a sect most Christians want nothing to do with, and adequate attention is drawn to this to clarify that he doesn't think all Christians are like this. I feel if there had been a bit more of an informed depiction, it would seem far less strawman than it already is.

Overall, I am glad to have read this book and I do look forward to more, but I am a little disappointed by clumsy representation.

19 people found this helpful

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Yahtz does it again

Loved it. Gives enough info to make the audience feel clever for figuring certain things out before the characters, but doesn't give so much away that the mystery is ruined. Good exploration of the characters beyond their mostly "professional" roles in the first book. Can't wait for the third entry :-) Thanks Yahtz!

12 people found this helpful

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A good follow up

Yahtzee Croshaw plays tongue in cheek with murder mystery, the church and British spy novels while throwing in a dig at superheroes just because.

A follow up to Differently Morphus, this one continues the story of Allison and the DEDA as they deal with new challenges while only lingering on the mysteries not solved in the last book, like how a sequel should be done. We see more sides to the characters we grew to like or at least tolerate and enjoy the satirical skull duggery of the hapless heroes.

7 people found this helpful

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Only getting better

Been following Yahztee's career since the begining, I've always enjoyed his books, and he's only been honing his craft, now with his newest sequel to Differently Morphous we are seeing his new height

6 people found this helpful

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vast improvement on the first one

the first book I found slow with only one saving grace, the doctor. this book improved drastically on the other character, it is faster pace, and rhe mystery is genuinely fun, intriguing, and gives you the very important, aha moment when you find out how it's done.

2 people found this helpful

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Yahtzee's best work yet

I really enjoyed Differently Morphous but I loved Existentially Challenged. I think the first entry stood mostly on the premise but did a fine job establishing the world and introducing magical concepts, while the sequel allowed it to come to life. I felt I really heard the characters voices over Yahtzee's own in this one. Additionally I've grown to really care for our protagonists. The intrigue kept me tuned in for the duration and the multiple perspectives never felt muddled. Would and shall recommend to any who will listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Everything I wanted the sequel to be!

This book is a sequel to Differently Morphous(released in 2019) and I highly recommend that you read it before you start with this one! It’s one of my favourite audiobook, it’s just a terrific read.

This is a very well written book with some really funny characters and dialog.
We see a lot of returning characters and their witty dialogue permeates through the whole book. Give it a listen for sure!

1 person found this helpful

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Best Novel Yet

Yahtzee really shows how his writing has improved in this most recent DEDA novel. The mystery was great and the jokes landed. I will definitely be coming back to this book and this series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 01-20-22

If you liked his previous work, you'll like this.

It's Yahtzee Croshaw and a sequel at that. You'll either love him or hate him, I suppose. I'm in the first camp.

I would recommend this book and its predecessor if you are looking for hours of light entertainment along the lines of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett (but more cynical.) I'm not sure if he's as good as they are, but their influence is strong.

You will definitely want to listen to the previous volume of the series before listening to this. Otherwise quite a lot will be lost on you (the reason I give the "Story" 4 of 5 stars.)

That story is mostly a delivery vehicle for Mr. Croshaw's particular flavor of humor (sarcastic absurdism or something?) but
it has enough little twists and turns to stay interesting. The characters are quirky yet relatable and Yahtzee does a reasonable job of giving each one a distinct voice.

1 person found this helpful

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Yahtzee is a master entertainer!

This book follows the same hilarious over the top writing style of his previous entry, building onto the real story of the precious book. I'm exited for the next book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • UncleSi
  • 12-19-21

Brilliant

Very well written and very well read eight more words to add sausage banana horse

10 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Stephen Goodman
  • 03-29-22

In a word, lazy

The only way I can describe this is lazy

Like the first book in this series the political commentary is extremely lazy. It's as though the author really believes that the right wing tabloid paper view of the world is actually real and tries to make jokes around that. For example the instigating incident that gets the book going is a rushed governmental vote that's supposed to help the magically gifted but is so poorly written that it does more harm than good. While in reality any and all legislation has to be fought for tooth and nail. Gay marriage is only recently legal and still not permissible in most UK churches, the ban on conversion therapy (something that shouldn't be hard to do) has stalled and the treatment of trans children has just had a major legal set back.

To further hammer this completely unrealistic right wing version of the world home, all activism is performative and right wing protests are ironic. The history of social justice activism being a force for good cannot be understated. We wouldn't have votes for women, homosexuality would illegal and segregation in America would still be a thing without it (to just name a few). Also there is still rampant inequality for minorities that still needs addressing, with activism being an important part of actual change. In this world however it is something students do on their gap year for popularity. It is also readily apparent that real right wing protests are not only sincere but can also be quite violent.

There is also a lot of religious apology. The Church of England is portrayed as out of touch but well meaning. It is even suggested that they support minorities despite not allowing gay marriages as well as there being well documented racist, homophobic and transphobic institutional bigotry to this very day. This portrayal is the major stand in for all religion. The only other representation of official religion is an American fundamentalist faith healer and even they are portrayed in the most forgiving light. While the American fundamentalist movement is notorious for bigotry this again is not represented in the story.

Unlike the first book though the rest of the story also seems incredibly lazy. For example, for two books we have been bombarded with the fact that Allison has a photographic memory. She remembers everything. Everything! She even knows exactly how many bricks are visible in a corridor as it's being consumed by a fire ball. She has no control over this, it just happens. Except when it doesn't. In this book she forgets when the vote mentioned early was happening, didn't notice when a car had stopped and didn't notice when the roof of a cave had risen despite explicitly looking at the roof at the time. This all happened because.... best not to think about it.

There's a lot of this type of thing in this book. Nobody knows the name of a character who not only shows his face on internet streams he also invites those who watch his stream to his house. This is because.... the story needs it like that. Don't think about it, here's a joke about a vicar not knowing what doxing is. No one investigates people related to major crimes because..... the story needs it. No one comments on the blatant incompetence of the investigation because.... best not to think about it (seriously it's not remarked on once).

The twist at the end of the book is extremely obvious when the characters find out the most basic information about the people involved. This is why the last paragraph is a thing. There is no narrative reason for any of it apart from to obscure what the end twist is. In comparison the twist reveal of the last book was actually well thought out. There were hints throughout the book and nothing needed to be artificially obscured to achieve it. I find it incredibly ironic that Yahtzee has made a living pointing out these kind of inconsistencies in games but doesn't apply the same standard to his own writing.

The narration is also lazy compared to the last book. The dual consciousness character in that book actually had layered voices in the narration while in this book it is only described as such. There are also some really strange editing errors which cause the voicing of characters to change between sentences which should have been caught before release.

4 people found this helpful

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  • lolname
  • 12-12-21

Amazing background-building, painful end

"The DEDA Files" is honestly as good as the Rivers Of London series. Although Existentially Challenged is shorter than Differently Morphous, it somehow feels a bit tighter and yet squeezes even more in. The fact that there's no music this time doesn't matter, not when you've got Yahtzee's dulcet tones in your ears.

All the characters are memorable, even if not likeable. Hopefully not spoilers, but I found myself feeling sympathy for Victor (Who I never really liked) and am now crushing majorly on Adam (Who was always my favourite).

Loving that the LGBT and POC rep is even better than before and how almost everyone develops in surprising ways.
The Batman and Robin scene makes me laugh out loud every time and, even with how painful I found the end, there were several very funny moments too.

The world of The DEDA Files is now even richer than it already was, to the point I have headcanons and could very easily see it making a great TV series.
Liz Carr for Elizabeth, maybe Gemma Arterton for Alison?

The ending's "painful" because it made me feel really uneasy and makes it clear there's even more to this story than there already is. That said, I'm glad the ending happened how it did.

Lastly, the fact that Adam is shorter than Alison on the cover art? Awwwww! I love the cover art and want to follow the artist online.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David Aylesbury
  • 05-24-22

I enjoyed this, not too much. Just the right amount

A bit like the authors droll and at times moribund delivery, this book along with all Yahtzee’s books, grows on you. Not unlike an attractive wart. I disliked his voice when I first heard it but slowly came round. It shouldn’t work but despite my best efforts the contrary it really does. Adding depth and weight to his characters.

Thankfully I stayed for the writing, I love his prows, notable for his fabulously cutting similes and exaggerated putdowns which are epic in their destructive nature and casual use.

I highly recommend this and every utterance by this very funny and talented gent.

He is indeed channeling Douglas Adam from the beyond or I’ll eat my pointy hat.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Burns
  • 05-19-22

Left me wanting more

More of a straight forward mystery than the previous book. This benefits it as allows the plot to move forward while developing the overall world of these books.
Went through an interesting ride listening. First convinced that some side characters I enjoyed would obviously be killed off. Then frustrated that they seemed to actually be the focal characters for most of the book. Overall this did work as the main comedic character Dr Diablary is best in limited doses and there is plenty else in this world to focus on.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-22

Hopefully not the last in this series

I don't really want to write anything here, that could give things away. More of the same from the first book, but with a stronger mystery that surpasses the book before. Great dialogue and characters come back for another unique look at lovecraftian horror. Honestly just give it a go.

1 person found this helpful

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  • james shepherd
  • 12-26-21

A Great expansion on the first book

Yahtzee is a great narrator and takes the characters/plot in hilarious and interesting directions

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Callum M.
  • 12-23-21

Yes, just yes!

I adore cosmic horror and i adore satire. This series blends the two perfectly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Henry Good
  • 12-23-21

Can't wait for the next one!!!

love the world yathzee has created and I want to explore this creative and intriguing world even more

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher Killey
  • 12-22-21

A solid sequel

A good sequel to differently morphus, diving in where that story left off.
Lacked some of the polish the previous book had (voice effects and intro music) but they are minor distractors from a fun plot that had me guessing until the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Icurfubar
  • 09-25-22

Another Awesome Read

Plot twist! Great writing, great narration. I love hearing names from other stories and seeing where they fit.

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  • Ryan
  • 08-03-22

Finally.

I've been eagerly awaiting this book for a while now and was not disappointed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-22

Awesome storytelling

Interstellar Bum Pirates is without a doubt the greatest movie I have never seen this year or any year previously.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-30-22

Funny, clever and fun.

I really enjoyed this. I was sad when it ended. I look forward to more in the Series if they are written (and performed).

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  • Andrew Vaughan
  • 04-28-22

One of his best series

I really appreciate the subtlety and awesomeness that spring from this book. I look forward to the next one.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • cameron
  • 04-14-22

Yahtzee needs to hire a vocal coach

story is amazing. it's exactly the kind of humorous and thoughtful writing you can expect from Yahtzee Croshaw.

But the voice performance is a little weak and inconsistent at times with few variance in the voices used to portray different characters. sometimes different characters will share a voice or accent halfway through a sentence because Yahtzee can't switch fast enough or completely enough.

apart from that it's a great listen.

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  • Andrew
  • 04-10-22

Next Please!!

Yahtzee does a great job of narrating his own creation.
It is probably the fact he created them in the first place but he really brings them to life in reading.
I bet much look forward to the next book.
p.s for readers of his other books there are great Easter eggs throughout

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-22

Another great performance

Another new case and an amazing continuation of the series, can't wait for more! The level of satire is off the charts mixxed in with a genuinely interesting story.

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  • Joanna
  • 02-11-22

great audiobook

Loved it, loved the narration too. This along with Differently Morphous are my favourites by Croshaw, after Mogworld. I hope he writes more in this series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-06-22

Fun.

This was a lot of fun. Reminiscent of Terry Pratchett and I LOVE Pratchett. Great characters with convincing dialogue. Wonderful plot. Explosively funny in places. Yahtzee Croshaw has a new fan. Now I need the prequel.