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The Rogue Retrieval (Gateways to Alissia) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2016
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"Don't come looking for dark, life changing soul searing fiction here - this is an adventure novel, and you're going to get adventure, whether you like it or not. Quinn is the sort of character who you want to see win--or at least survive to run away another day."
About the Author
Dan Koboldt is a genetics researcher and fantasy/science fiction author. He has co-authored more than 60 publications in Nature, Human Mutation, Genome Research, The New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, and other scientific journals. Dan is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He lives with his wife and children in St. Louis, where the deer take their revenge by eating the flowers in his backyard.
The Rogue Retrieval is his first novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Rogue Retrieval is a fun read that breaks out from the typical fantasy story and explores what happens when a regular guy comes into a fantastic scenario. Quinn Bradley isn't a hero, and to me, that's the best part of the book. He's a Vegas stage magician with quick hands and a quick mind, and that's really all he has to rely on as he faces a new, magical world beyond a portal.
We've all read portal fantasies, but to me, Rogue takes that to the next level. The author injects a great note of capitalist realism. What if the portal to a magical (and unexploited) land fell into the hands of a (marginally ethical) global technology company? What if not everyone in that company served the same agenda? And of course throw in rival companies, high tech weaponry, and corporate espionage, just to make things more interesting. Enter Quinn, who doesn't fit the corporate mold, and isn't sure where all the agendas lie. The mix works well and ties together in a way where you really don't know what to expect (in a good way.)
In the end, that's my favorite part of the book. This is not good versus evil. It's agenda vs agenda, man vs world, and it's filled with flawed characters who you sometimes like and sometimes wonder about. Just like real life. Who's the bad guy? I suppose that depends on who's writing the history book.
There's a slight bit of lag around the one third mark of the book. The beginning is a great, but then it bogs down a bit as we first explore the magic world and set up the story. But push through that and you reach a second half that rips along at high speed and leads to an ending that is both satisfying and sets up an obvious sequel.
Another thing I loved about the book was the mix of modern technology in a world with magic. You want a magic sword? How about one made out of a super-strong light-weigh alloy developed by the best scientific minds of the 21st century? Who wins a fight between a wizard and an MP-5?
All in all The Rogue Retrieval is worth a read. It's fun, and more than that it's unique in a space where sometimes books tend to run together.
1. My biggest problem with the book is that I don't know what to root for. This is NOT a character-driven novel, where we fall in love with a protagonist and with them yearn for something. What does the main character want? To be a hot-shot magician. How does his quest relate to what he wants? It doesn't. That's the problem. He's assigned to work for some big corporation to retrieve some guy. Half-way through the book, he fails, which wasn't disheartening because, as hired help for the company, you don't really care. It wasn't HIS goal, it was the goal of the company. So what we have is a book where the entire plot is driven by companies with unknown intents. All that happens to the characters is because of the corporate world's decision and all the characters we follow are simply pawns of said companies. That made it REALLY hard for me to get into the book. They didn't care about accomplishing their goal so I didn't care.
2. There were SOOOO many unresolved subplots. I expect the author plans to have another book to follow this up, but NONE of the original plot threads were resolved in this book. We start out trying to capture this guy and they fail. So then they go home. Hmmm....That's kind of unsatisfying. Then he opens a thread about a missing ship and that never gets resolved. Then there's this idea that maybe the main character is a real magician and that doesn't really get resolved. So, we have lots of threads that begin but end without making anything resembling a tapestry. In other words, this novel does not follow the format of other novels (inciting incident that propels the protagonist to work toward a goal, said goal is complicated, said goal is achieved or not achieved in the end). It feels more like a travelogue of an interesting bloke that does a bunch of magic tricks.
3. Character development is weak. There's some attempts to make people unique (Logan is the tough guy, the main character is the jokster kinda, one girl is the all-business team captain, etc.), but you never really get inside the characters' heads enough to see what drives them, what makes them tick, and what makes them unique. It reminded me of meeting somebody on the airplane--you're able to get some broad brush strokes of their history but don't at all understand them as a human, like you might with a BFF. Likewise with this novel. I WANTED to go deeper with these people, but sadly it was weak. And I am left not terribly interested in their quest.
What I did like was the main character's clever means of escaping tough situations. That alone made it a fun read--watching the way he cleverly unsnares himself from compromising situations. I'm just hoping in the next iteration, there will be more of a cohesive goal that propels the plot onward.
Quinn is a stage magician in Vegas looking for his big break on the strip. After a stellar performance, he thinks he's finally going to be offered his dream job. Instead, reps from CASE Global make him an offer he can't refuse, with the catch that it's a secret mission. They bring him to an island they own harboring a secret portal to another world called Alissia, reminiscent of medieval Europe. Their head researcher, Holt, has disappeared into this world, endangering CASE's goals and Alissian society. Quinn's job is to help retrieve Holt using his illusions along the way, which will be particularly helpful because in this world, real magic exists.
This is very much an adventure story, and I really enjoyed learning about Alissia and the details of its society and culture, as well as what CASE intended on doing with it. I liked the combination of science, technology, and illusion as magic, and how it juxtaposes with the subtlety of the real magic in Alissia. This read was also unique in that things didn't always turn out as you'd expect them to, even though sometimes information is withheld that prevents the reader from figuring things out on their own. Also, characters were able to talk themselves out of sticky situations a little too easily. But overall, it was a fast read with fun characters and action-packed scenes, and I'm looking forward to the next book(s) in the series!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good job pls continue.