Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Game On, Game Over

Game On, Game Over
Game On, Game Over by Chris Quinton

This book in its entirety wasn’t quite what I expected from the blurb. Part one was fraught with tension in every aspect, moving along at a fast pace. Okay, the setting was perhaps a little romanticized, but not so much as to appear unrealistic, and the rivalizing tribesmen’s knives and bullets were certainly real enough. I liked the descriptions of life at the archeological site and the way this emphasized John/Aidan’s professor persona. He was very believable as adept yet half-hearted spook, and his ready retirement when he had the opportunity was only logical.
The romance fit the setting just fine with its surging, adrenaline-fueled passion. What suffered a bit during the first part were the other characterizations, the secondary cast’s as well as Scott’s, but the latter is remedied as we get to be in Scott’s head more often during the second part.

I had a few small issues with this book too:

After the fast pace of the Tajikistan part, the book grinds to an almost full-stop once the plot focuses on Avebury. As we see Aidan through his days (the highlights of which seem to be his daily skirmishes with the neighbor’s cat), the story starts dragging. In regard to Scott, Aidan ponders over the same hangups on and on. When he asked himself for the umpteenth time what Scott could possibly want with him, I even found myself asking the same question. The way Scott tracked Aidan down might have come across as stalkerish, but it actually didn’t since Aidan needs to be pushed towards his own luck.
And the setting? If there was one cliché missing about what I always thought of as “typically heart-of-the-country English”, I didn’t notice it. Cozy cottages with open fireplaces, hedged back gardens with flowering white lilas, roses-covered potting sheds, nosy neighbors, standing stones, sheep and crows, a pub rife with gossip – all check, down to the human extras populating the scene. It worked, though – the setting was perfect for Aidan’s and Scott’s slow reunion. It was skillfully written, too, with just the right amount of self-deprecation and humor to keep it from turning into a parody. What had started as a fast-paced action-adventure turned into a sweet and wholly satisfying romance, and I closed the book with a sigh and a smile.

Warmly recommended.

Review originally written for reviewsbyjessewave.com

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