Have no fear, avid reader of the blog. Our series “Where to find Gamma World Miniatures” will return next Thursday. This week, we wanted to bring you a different sort of Gamma World content. Enjoy!
We’re giving away a copy of this book! Read on…
First, some background. I’ve read a grand total of two D&D novels. One of them I’ve completely forgotten, and the other was a Drizzit novel. I enjoyed neither, which is why, I suppose, I’ve only read two. I’m not sure I can put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like about them. Perhaps it’s simply because they didn’t live up to the “Lord of the Rings” standard. Perhaps the authors were trying too hard to make sure each and every character fit into a neat D&D template, and never broke any of the game’s rules. Or maybe the dialogue was just bad. Who knows. At any rate, I’m not a fan of the D&D novels.
I should also say that the idea of “sponsored” novels kind of turns me off. When a company commissions a book to promote another product, it makes me not want to read the book. In short, I guess you could say that the first Gamma World novel was already behind the eight ball in my mind. Still, I decided to pick up Sooner Dead by Mel Odom, partly out of curiosity, and partly because I thought doing a book review might be fun. Let me say, I was glad I did.
Note: Like any good reviewer, I’ve kept this review spoiler-free. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, this review contains affiliate links.
Sooner Dead follows a pair of wilderness scouts, Hella and Stampede, as they escort a team of scientists across the Redblight, which is a part of present day Oklahoma. In game terms, Stampede is a Bisonoid (not a real origin) Seismic, and Hella is…well, aside from humanoid, I’m not sure what Hella is (though I have a theory). And that’s one of the really cool things about the novel. The author doesn’t go out of his way to rub your face in the fact that the book is based on the Gamma World game. He takes the concept behind the game, and elaborates. Which, come to think of it, is one of the things that makes the Gamma World game great – the amount of latitude given to the player’s imaginations.
The characters are believable, likeable (or unlikeable, as the case may be), and developed for the reader as the novel progresses. Also, the cast of secondary characters is broad, both within the scientific expedition, and in the groups the expedition encounters. The plot takes the reader to plenty of interesting locations that set the author’s vision of Gamma Terra, and the action is very well described. There’s plenty of it, too. Plus, an ending that leaves us wondering what happens next.
Gamma Terra in this book has a good mix of technology, guns, alien creatures, and low tech postapocalyptic wasteland. The Redblight is a mostly wild area of the world, with sporadic trading outposts that may or may not be safe to stop in. Very “wild west” meets “Terminator,” but not in the trainwreck way that we all know “Cowboys vs. Aliens” will be. I mean, come on, does ANYone think that will be a good movie??
Finally, the one small gripe I had with the book. And it’s a small one. At one point, one of the characters mentions that something is “like rolling a 20 on a d20.” While the narrative went on to justify why the character would say something like that, it was jarring enough to knock my imagination out of its “suspended disbelief.” I get it – the author is winking at the audience, but I don’t think it was necessary. See? Small gripe.
Pick this book up. No, it’s not classic literature, thank heavens, and it doesn’t try to be. Of that I’m glad. This was a really fun read, and I hope that Wizards of the Coast has Mel write more Gamma World for us. Especially if we can find out more about Hella and Stampede. In case anyone is listening….
And now, the contest
I am giving away a copy of “Sooner Dead” by Mel Odom to one lucky reader. You can enter the contest a total of twice; you get one entry for each of the following:
- Add a comment to this post. I will frown at your comment if it is not funny, but it will count as an entry nonetheless.
- Tweet the following: RT @bandofmisfits Read the review & win a copy of the new #GammaWorld novel “Sooner Dead”! http://trunc.it/ebagk
- While you’re over at Twitter, go ahead and follow us; it won’t help you for this contest, but the next contest we have planned will pick its winner out of our Twitter followers. It’s kind of like entering that contest ahead of time.
The contest ends on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time. We’ll post the winner as part of this Sunday’s Weekly Roundup. Good luck!!