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2.0 out of 5 starsFirst real miss since the reboot
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2018
While most of the books since Inside Straight have been very good, Knaves over Queens really misses the mark. The writing is substandard, all of which is baffling since they have a near perfect blueprint for this book in the form of the first novel from way back in 1987. Unfortunately they don't follow their own lead. Unsympathetic character, uninteresting powers, unintelligible plots all just added up to make the book an absolute slog to get though. While the series hit a near high point with High Stakes, sine then it seems like quality has taken a nosedive as they churn out book after book in an apparent effort to catch the current wave of superhero popularity (This is the second book in the series released this summer, from a series that has had less than frenetic pacing over the years.) Hopefully this won't begin a trend and we haven't entered into another "dark age" for the series like we had with "The Rox" Triad, but given that even the first two entries in "The American" Triad were a bit shaky, I fear that this new sense of urgency is going to cost us so much in terms of quality that the continuation of the series itself will be at risk.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Wild Card Comes to ol' Blighty with a Vengeance
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2018
Another terrific Wild Cards read in this epic, long-running series (since 1987!). Ever wonder how the Wild Card affected the UK since being released over New York in 1946? Well, this is the subject of this decades-spanning novel that covers the Wild Card years of 1946 up through 2017. Aces, Jokers, Knaves, and everything in between is on the British stage. To fully understand the impact of the virus on our closest alley, you'll need to be up on your recent British history as it unfolded in post-WWII Great Britain. This is just the opening chapter in what will surely be a new, non-American chapter in GRRM's epic superhero saga.
comparing the Wild Cards series to the over-noir GoT is disappointing in itself. I like GRRM but GoT is just a dark excuse. If that's your thing - then read them. Also, George EDITS these where he WRITES the GoT books. I found KoQ to fit right in with the rest of the WC series and would be looking forwards to another great Britain based book.
4.0 out of 5 starsAdding more international flavor to the series
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2020
The worldwide effect of the wild card virus has been hinted at in the past, but outside of The Committee trilogy, this is the first book in the long running series dedicated to jokes, aces and nats in another country. While it is a good thing that editors Martin and Snodgrass selected many British and Irish authors, I admit to a slight bias in that I wish the entire author group had been from the U.K.
And, that is not meant as a negative towards the other authors. I think Marko Kloos turned in a fine tale set during the Falklands Wars which I felt did a good job of getting across how a a naval officer's first combat experiences might feel.
Pedar O Guilin's, I'm going to call the character The Badb, is possibly the series best villain since the Astronomer (please keep in mind there is a gap in the middle books for me, someday I'll catch up). I think Pedar does a very good job of depicting Ireland over a 60 year period, but in no way can I personally find redeeming qualities in Badb.
This is essentially the history of the virus from 1946 to 2017, very much in the way the first book in the series covered the history of the virus in NYC from start until the book's publication date. Having a character like the long lived Captain Flint helps carry the reader through some of Britain's changes, and the the origin story of Double Helix is enjoyable. The long tenure of The Green Man helps in a like way, but The Green Man I think is a much more developed character.
Someone, somewhere is going I knew Alan Turning was an ace.
Anyone expecting Game of Thrones will not get that, no. What they will get is episodic science fiction narrating the deconstructed tropes of the super hero. These are all anti-heroes and like beat poets their charm is their ability to do good in spite of themselves. Its the classic marvel versus DC notion. This series especially when Zelazny was writing is at its heart about the grit and heart of NYC in the grip of chaotic social upheaval. Its the effect on the creative ID of these authors of HIV/AIDS, Feminism, Tantra, and Racism. That is all science fiction in a nutshell though.
Anyone reading this series expecting anything like Game of Thrones is going to be very disappointed. The whole concept is lame and the writers are less than stellar. My mistake, should have known better.
The latest in the long line of Wild Cards novels, and the first set entirely in the British Isles. I've been a fan of the series since the beginning, and I've been looking forward to a book like this for a long, long time. The stories cover the span of time from Wild Card Day in 1946 through to the modern day, and do an excellent job of evoking the periods they are set in, while making the subtle (and not so subtle) historical changes caused by the existence of the Wild Card (i.e. Margaret is Queen, rather than her sister!) seem both shocking and completely natural.
The Aces, Jokers, and Knaves described herein - with only one or two exceptions - are all rounded human beings; the villains have redeeming qualities, and the good guys aren't all that good. There are extremes of behaviour, but most of the characters are varying shades of grey...just like real life.
Those of us who lived in the UK through some or all of these times will resonate with the events described - the Troubles in Ireland, the Falklands War, and others - while those who grew up elsewhere, or who were born too late, will receive fascinating glimpses of life in Britain throughout the 20th century...albeit a Britain containing Wild Cards. My heartiest compliments to the writers who capture the feeling of the times so perfectly!
I won't give away any spoilers, but I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you're already a fan of the series, make sure you pick this up. If you've never read a Wild Cards book before, buy this one immediately - and then come back and buy another, and another, and yet another...
wie alle neuaufgelegten bücher aus der Wildcard Serie sehr gut, auch wenn mir vorkommt g.r.r. Martin gibt nur noch seinen namen dazu, sind alle Autoren ihren Figuren treu und das verweben der Geschichten spricht mich jedesmal aufs neue an.
3.0 out of 5 starsI love the Wildcards books and had been really looking forward ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 28, 2018
I love the Wildcards books and had been really looking forward to this UK based one. I was a bit disappointed though it reads like a cliched American version of the UK. We only really visit London and Ireland in the whole book and it is clear non of the authors delved into British culture beyond tired stereotypes. It would also have been nice not to have USA English glaring off the page and pulling me out of the immersive world of the stories. With words like Trash & Sidewalk and a clear lack of understanding about how the NHS works all contributing. I was indeed a bit disappointed. On a more positive note I loved the opening story and Captain Flint's origin story/ introduction. And I loved meeting Noel as a teenager too. Especially as I'd just read Low Chicago; those who've read it will understand why. I hope the team decide to do more UK based stories but that the authors involved choose to explore our country from less of an American perspective. Lets meet a Wildcard from Lancashire or visit a Black Country joker town. There is more to the UK that red double deckers and Winston Churchill. And for gods sake lets us British English when we are supposedly in the heads of British people!