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Wild Cards XI: Dealer's Choice: Book Three of the Rox Triad (Wild Cards, 11) Paperback – September 1, 2020
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Praise for the Wild Cards series
“Perhaps the most original and provocative of the shared worlds books.” ―Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn
"Delicious...Everything I hoped for in a new Wild Cards book. The character interactions and plot twists have exactly the complexity, surprise, and unsentimental realism I'd expect out of a George R. R. Martin project." ―Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will be Invincible on Inside Straight
“This is a wild ride of good, blood-pumping fun that packs a surprisingly emotional punch for a book that looks on the surface like just another superhero adventure.” ― Publishers Weekly on High Stakes
“Emotionally powerful. Wild Cards deals up the variety of short fiction without losing the continuity of a novel.”―The Seattle Times
“A delightfully imaginative speculation.”―The Toronto Star
“Longtime fans will enjoy surprise appearances by previous notables, sometimes in drastically altered circumstances, and this entry also works well as a standalone. It’s a treat for any fan of superhero stories.” ― Publishers Weekly on Low Chicago
“The shared-world series known as Wild Cards has had a long and illustrious history of contributors and achievements.” ―SciFi.com
“New readers and fans of the long-running series will both love the fast-paced plotting and the ever-expanding history of the Wild Card virus on this alternate Earth, where even the superheroes are human.” ―Shelf Awareness on Lowball
“Highly recommended.” ― SFRevu on Lowball
About the Author
- Publisher : Tor Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250168155
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250168153
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.23 x 1.14 x 9.31 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,262,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The good news is that Dealer's Choice is an improvement over the last two entries in the Wild Cards series. Thankfully, Melinda Snodgrass' ill-conceived and ill-executed gender-swapping storyline for Dr. Tachyon is no longer in play. Also, this book's straightforward plot introduces many new aces with new powers.
Unfortunately, there is just nothing the authors can do to write their way out of the ridiculous characters and plotlines of this triad. I see this novel as a mercy killing of sorts… hopefully the series can regain its footing soon.
What I Liked:
• One of the worst aspects of Jokertown Shuffle was Bloat's fantasy world where he inhabits a different body and weaves magic that affects the real world. This subplot is partially redeemed here; it is shown to overlap with the Australian aboriginal Dreamland where Wyungare lives. This opens up the return of one of the more interesting and underused characters from Aces Abroad.
• Herne the Hunter is a Celtic mythological figure with god-like abilities. It is fun to see how the Wild Hunt is portrayed in this universe at the same time I am also reading about it in Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series.
• The return of Gregg Hartmann… he only has a small role, but could Puppetman also be resurrected one day?
• Fun new aces: Legion, Crypt Keeper, Patchwork (think Potato Head Woman), Detroit Steel (think Hugh Jackman in Pacific Rising), and Cameo (she brings back Mackie Messer for an encore fight)
• The Sewer Jack and Modular Man storylines are picked up for the first time since Down and Dirty. Bagabond is even in tow, sort of, through her feline avatar.
• The novel tried at times to address weighty questions of morality: Do jokers have a right to their own free representative government? Do they forfeit that right when they use tactics to kill, steal, and kidnap--or do the ends justify the means? Does Modular Man have free will or is he just a machine? How do his rights compare to Kafkas's, who is after all just a sentient roach?
• Several characters have satisfying arcs: Wyungare, Patchwork make noble sacrifices. Some of the Legions face a surprising end. ModMan engineers his freedom but at a surprising emotional cost.
What I Disliked:
• Erratic writing. For every section of strong prose (George R. R. Martin's exhilarating description of Pulse traveling at light speed) there are multiple clunky scenes (Edward Bryant's inability to think of a convincing way for Cordelia to sneak Sewer Jack out of the hospital; Bloat playing practical jokes on the ace raid rather than pressing his advantage to kill them).
• Jumpers seem even less imaginative in using their powers. Many are tricked into jumping frail elderly bodies from which they cannot escape (an obvious set-up ). This story would have benefitted from more aces getting jumped. If Snotman/Reflector had been jumped, the tale may have ended differently…
• Cutesy characters (ice-skating penguins, a talking dragon, mermen on flying fish) and references to Monty Python ("It's only a flesh wound").
• More than half this book is devoted to battle scenes. There are plenty of action heroes showing off their superpowers but little character development or world-building.
• Turtle is still a disappointing cliché. He joins the military campaign to bring down the Rox, but then we have to endure repetitive scenes of him whining over his guilt whenever he has to kill enemy combatants. Later, he goes full-on mass murderer when a girlfriend he just met the day before gets killed… ho hum, maudlin and predictable.
• Mr. Nobody and Cyclone received what appear to be ignominious deaths. Maybe they will return, but if not, they deserved better.
• The ending seems frustratingly unclear whether Bloat is killed or retreats into the Dreamworld to live on another plane of existence.
I am rating the novel 3 stars, which includes an additional star only because I really like Patchwork and Legion and hope they return soon…
The Rox trilogy is a bit of a disappointment to me only in that the villains that were not used
Jumpers - sure you had a couple Jumpers that were used and name dropped but they were so under used in these three books
the damage they could have done to NYC
the stories about the victims could have been very interesting
all of this could have turned the story of how the Rox turned out
a seriously lost opportunity that is simply a lack of imagination on the authors part
George R.R. Martin
Dealer’s Choice, wow!!! Your dungeons and dragons fans will find this right up your alley, those who love wild cards will find another great story in the series, and super hero lovers, well your choice can an obese boy save the world