Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review Request: Gamma Ray Games

Holly Rivney asked me to read her novel, Gamma Ray Games. I will examine plot, character and polish and then assign a grade.


Upon reflection, this story sounds like an episode of Star Trek; literally one episode. There's this military crew sent to investigate a mysterious incident on some other planet. The captain and two others (one of them a medical officer) investigate the incident, there's a romantic liaison, some fist fighting and ray gun shooting, and then, after a resolution, the captain leaves for another mission. I could see this happening in a 30 minute block of screen time.

As soon as Kellaam is revealed to be as Quinaal's husband, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen. By the book's conclusion,  I was only half right.

I like the ending. Mission accomplished and all that, but there a couple threads left dangling or other, personal angles that could develop the book's verse later on, which is also nice.

Captain Thomas Jackson is a good protagonist. He's compassionate, focused, competent, doesn't angst excessively about a lost opportunity with Quinaal. I know some people would call him "bland" or "boring" and that is unfair. He wrestles with personal and galactic dilemmas which, on their own, make him plenty interesting.

Quinaal is the second most prominent character, female lead you could say. I was afraid her role would be a mere Old Flame Love Interest but she is more developed than that. She is a geologist and a medic (she uses powdered metals for healing infected wounds so they're intertwined). She is the only person suspicious of the new technology because of her knowledge of other worlds.

I can't say much of anything about the rest of cast.

There's maybe one or two errors. It was nothing worth noting while reading.

I feel I must justify and give context to the grade. Far too often I see people using a two point scale to judge things; it's either great or terrible. Thus, anything lower than a full score means bad or mediocre (which also means "bad"). I once gave a C to someone and they thought that meant that I "despised" the book. According to my grade scale, a grade of a "C" does not mean "bad". It does not mean "average" either. It can mean one of two things: 1.) That book has no weaknesses or strengths and is thus a solid, well constructed story that simply doesn't, in my personal opinion, excel in any area or 2.) a book that excels in one or more areas and also has a significant weakness or two. In this particular case, the first one is

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Gamma Ray Games" a C

This has been a free review request. The author wanted an honest look at her book so I provided one.

Click here for the next review request: "A Change of Heart"

Click here for the previous review request (a request): "My Shorts"

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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