The fourth and final volume of Mae’s fictionalized, unauthorized biography of psychedelic rock band Too Cubed.
Mae (Too Cubed Unauthorized Volume 3, 2011, etc.) concludes a four-book endeavor to chronicle two decades in the life of fictitious jam band Too Cubed. The final installment spans from 1995 to 2000, where readers are left off to ponder the aftermath of the band’s untimely demise. Not much differentiates this volume from the previous three: the story rambles, lacking a narrative arc that could have lent tension to the tale. Trip goes to rehab and relapses, fans come and go, and Max’s girlfriend is even more self-absorbed than him. The biggest differences here are that the band has finally stopped recycling bass players and keyboardist Bert’s behavior seems to have settled down with age. Other, more subtle changes do not serve the book as well: The narrator interferes more frequently, offering unwanted opinions and repetitive musings that distract readers. Descriptions of events that end with “It was so much fun!” are far too frequent. Meanwhile, long sections leading up to the band’s demise tend to drag with too many nonessential characters. After spending over 1,000 pages with the band and their fans, readers should have a solid grasp of these characters; sadly, the author’s superficial treatment of the sprawling tale’s cast leads to a lack of emotional connection. There’s potential for even more excitement in the band’s constant struggle to grow and bring their music to an increasingly large audience. Instead, the recurring escapades can become tiresome. Many readers will be sucked in by the unsolved mystery of how a band with this much road experience could end so spectacularly. But the ending falls short of expectations; it’s glossed over, to the point where many readers will seek comfort in the climatic opening pages of Volume 1.
A great concept with an intriguing ending that would have been better served if the four volumes had been condensed into two.