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This is a book that could be great. You take a street kid, train him to be something more, something dangerous, and make a hero. That's the idea. The problem is that this book has no pay off. It is intensely anticlimatic. The ending is telegraphed from miles away, and the hero's dilemma is predictable.
This has a strong correlation to Gary Gygax's Gord the Rogue series. There, the hero trains and gains various skill such as lock picking, knife fighting, etc and it could have been a tedious process, but it pays big dividends as the first book progresses. Here, in On Borrowed Luck, we have the same situation. Lots and lots of training without a hero being forged or a pay off. Generally, that would be OK, I'm all for the anti-hero, but that isn't what we have. We end up with a main character who laments his lot in life no matter where he stands. I could take no pay off if I knew that the next book showed promise of the just cummance that was due to happen, but the whipped dog we end with gives no hint of that. I don't know, maybe the next book will improve and we'll get a grat MC or plot or action, but that isn't here.
The MC is mopey and whiney, and so eager to please the first person that shows an interest in him it is disappointing. The few spots of action are brief and unsurprising. The plot is as thus. Get a challenge, spend some time figuring out how to do it, do it without issue. Repeat. There is no risk, no challenge, no tension. OK, so the MC can really plan well, you say. Great, but that makes for a boring story. For example, he is tasked with sneaking into an upper class party, he goes in, talks to a guy hiding behind a plant who just happens to be the brother of the girl the party is being thrown for, borrows a hanky, and leaves. Sooooo exciting.
Oh, and can you count the number of times the MC gets a shower? Because I can't. It seemed like everytime someone called for him or he had to do something he had to take a shower. I get that he was portraying him as being cleanly, but it got to a point where I was like he just did dishes for his mother. Guess he has to go shower. Just annoying.
There is a lot of potential here. The writing is good even thought the story dwadles, and the narration is really great. In fact, I think that Froomkin actually kept me in the book. A lesser narrator and I would have dropped it instead of finishing.
This is a major set up book. I would almost pronounce this to be a prequel to an already standing series, that had picked up the protagonist later in life. If that were the case, and this were a fill-in book it would have been pretty good; just seeing where the hero had come from. But this is not a prequel. So, if you are ok putting in hours to get to a distant pay off this is the book for you.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Wish I could give a half star more. This is not my usual 3 star book, it is also not one of my 4/5 star books. Since I rarely give out 5 stars, I guess its my own fault. The premise and plot have some very intriguing aspects...but somewhere along the lines, it just didn't grab and hold my attention. The flow between scenes felt broken, the scenes felt a little forced, and the characters all feel like they are hiding something.
I wasn't thrilled with the performance. It could have been better.
I am not sure if this is an ok starter to a very good series or just bleh. With that in mind, your personal mileage may vary on this one. I think I would get book 2, just to see where it goes.