I love reading books by new authors! It's made even better when I get to review the book as part of a blog tour. So, if you're visiting on this blog tour, welcome! Here are 51 thoughts I had while reading the Kindle edition of "Destiny's Gambit" by R.J. Wood:
1. Okay, this is a lot of description. We haven't met anyone yet. So we're gonna call it solid world building and move on.
2. There's Jake! Heeeey!
3. I love their imaginations! YES!
4. I'm officially old. My favorite character is the grandma.
5. "You weren't made with the same cookie cutter, and you don't like the shape you got? Well, I'll tell you a secret. All the cookies on the tray taste the same and that's a fact."
6. I love this woman, Jake's grandma. She's so deep, understanding, in tune, but she doesn't coddle him! I hope I grow up to be like her.
7. "Don't lock yourself in a box just because some person tells you that's where you belong. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open for you never know what's just around the corner."
8. I'm going to try to not make this whole thing grandma quotes.
9. She speaks mostly in catch phrases, but I kind of like it. I bet younger readers find it comforting just like Jake.
10. AHHHHHHHH! Jake's dad is awesome. Why didn't my dad leave me a box with a glowing talisman?????
11. Awwwww yeah. It's about to get good.
12. A boat......is going to bring.......Jake to his parents........
13. Creepy yet intriguing. Like I feel he's either heading for certain death or joining them happily ever after. There is no middle.
14. "As it did, it took with it a large bubble of air." Handy, because if it didn't, #13 would have been already accomplished.
15. OTTOMEYER RIVERSEND - my new favorite fantasy name ever. It's ridiculous, and I LOVE IT!
16. "He was four years old and had been mesmerized by a man selling green glow sticks. The hawker had the things wrapped all around his body." That sounds pretty sweet. In my mind, the hawker is Alan Tudyk wrapped in glow sticks. And I wouldn't mind paying to see that.
17. This is starting to feel very Moby Dick-ish. Boy on a pirate adventure. But this is cooler. With talismans and magic and space.
18. I bet Moby Dick would have been way more popular if it had talismans and magic and space.
19. Starla of House Silvertree.....is very serene. Almost too serene.
20. "Experimentation is a universal teacher." At 2:58am, that was when I knew I needed to sleep. I put the Kindle down and ruminated over those five words for far too long.
21. Okay, a few hours of sleep later, I'm back in. 51% through and a whole lot of questions.
22. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love this kid. Trying to keep it spoiler free, but Starla hits him with some big news and Jake just looks at her and says, "Uh, not to be rude, but I'm twelve." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Okay, I'm totally back in. Jake is my kind of kid.
23. "The greatest threat is from the dark hearts amidst our own peoples." Isn't it, though?
24. I should probably stop using quotes. I mean, I hope you read it yourself. Or give it to your 10- to 12-year-old to read. They will love it.
25. The amulet is "safe". OF COURSE IT IS.
26. Can this poor kid finally just meet his parents already?
27. I mean, there's no reason (YET) why his parents can't be the ones taking him on this journey.
28. He hasn't seen them since he was an infant.
29. Come on.
30. I love the juxtaposition of the "good guys" and their ship name with the "bad guys" and their ship name. It makes it super easy to remember who is who.
31. Now I can't wait to see Aurora! What does she look like?
33. That's what she looks like?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
34. I feel simultaneously hoodwinked and like tipping my hat. Yes. I get it.
35. "You can just shut-up with your stupid little sayings!"
36. I'm dying. I'm dying.
37. Caves are always such good settings for this sort of thing. Well done.
38. Ah, someone had to touch it. See, if they had been human, they would have known from Aladdin, The Goonies, or Indiana Jones - you touch the treasure, something bad always happens! ALWAYS!
39. Starla has been the most chill character, but all of a sudden she is ROARING her words. The beast has awakened.
40. Dear dad,
How about you just tell Jake what to do instead of giving him clues? You haven't seen him since he was an infant! Now is not the time for dad jokes!!!
41. Wait, what?
42. Whaaaaaaaat is happening?!?
43. hehe Of course. Why are bad guys always so quick to declare a victory without any actual evidence?
44. Celia Sable is kind of amazing. Let the Captain think whatever he wants. She knows.
45. I suspect that the Favored One will be dead by Celia's hand before the series ends. She doesn't seem to want to put up with his stuff.
46. No rest for the wounded.
47. The Hardy Hole.... hehe Trying to not think about the Hardy boys.
48. Oooooh, shiny!
49. I love when a book's title comes up in the reading!
50. WHY ARE HIS PARENTS NOT THERE?!?!?!?!?!?
51. Celia!!!!! So hardcore!!!! I love it!
Okay, so overall, I liked "Destiny's Gambit". While I thought the details were bogging down the reading at first, it came in handy later to keep the action fast paced. So, it was a worthwhile trade off. The characters are fantastic and fun to read. The plot is solid and keeps with familiar beats while managing to feel fresh. The writing itself was accessible without being over-simplified. It didn't feel like the author was dragging anything out for page count - which I sincerely appreciate. So, if you like a new fantasy/pirate/space adventure, give this one a shot.
The one thing that makes me sad is that the book itself was published in 2015 and no #2 in the series has been published yet. I hope the author releases another one soon!
This is my stop during the book blitz for Destiny’s Gambit by R.J. Wood. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 5 till 11 February. See the tour schedule here. Destiny’s Gambit (The Voyages of Jake Flynn #1) By R.J. Wood Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction/ Sword and Space/ Space Fantasy Age category: Middle Grade/ Young Adult Release Date: January 24, 2015
Blurb: Jake Flynn’s parents disappeared when he was a baby. On his twelfth birthday, the mystery of why his parents disappeared begins to unravel when he discovers a glowing talisman with a message from his father. Jake is directed to a derelict sailboat in a field. He watches in awe as the talisman knits ropes and sails for it out of golden energy. Awash in light, the boat sails up into space, and the voyages of Jake Flynn begin. During the quest to find his parents, Jake encounters space pirates in tall sailing ships, channelers that can wield energy like magic, and evil cabalists led by a sinister snake-woman. Assisted by a young healer and her aged protector, a spirited cabin girl, and a salty space captain, Jake learns that he too can channel, and that he is central to stopping the cabalists from resurrecting a long-dead evil. Puzzles, a pirate asteroid, walking the plank, fantastic magic, traps, treasure caves, multiple planets and great ship battles – Jake must experience them all on this epic sword and space adventure. By the end, Jake will discover the truth about his destiny, realize that family can transcend blood lines, and understand that his own needs are sometimes less important than those of others.You can find Destiny’s Gambit on Goodreads You can buy Destiny’s Gambit here: - Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - Smashwords About the Author: R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing. Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building. You can find and contact R.J. Wood here: - Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon - Instagram Giveaway There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Destiny’s Gambit. One winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift card. For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway
3. Seda - weird name. Second time I've said that in a few pages on my phone.
4. August 31 is three days before the official start of school?!? Where do these people go to school?!?! My school started on August 9th! I feel a greater sense of injustice than I did when last year's school calendar came out. <insert pouting here>
5. So. Many. Kids. To. Keep. Straight. Seriously, 2 sets of twins and Seda absorbed Sawyer in the womb. This is a lot to get used to. Honestly, I'm not sure if I will ever keep them straight.
6. This mom is eerily like me. TOO cheery. A writer. Loves movies. I hope she doesn't snap.
7. I really like the openings to each chapter being historical plaques and pamphlets for the house. Really adds some interest. (Added later: it totally comes back into the story too! YAY!)
8. Okay, new guests. More names. More people to keep straight. I can do this!
9. "Pop you over the head" may be the cutest thing Seda has said so far. I love it.
10. Heath has me feeling torn. He's so affectionate and obviously pursuing Seda... but that also creeps me out, given the circumstances. Maybe I'm just creeped out in general. Maybe it's not Heath's fault.
11. "Please tell me you didn't show them the intestines." HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Seda, I love you.
12. Okay, now I KNOW Heath has to be a bad guy. What boy says he wants to write snail mail to a girl?!?!
13. Oh, no. Did mom snap?
14. Where are all the kids?!?
15. Adam! What did that poor baby see?!? Definitely going to need some counseling in the future. Poor guy. I mean, this is NOT okay.
18. Well, now we know about dad. I kind of feel bad for Seda. Like everything in her life has lead up to this point.
19. What?!? WHAT?!?! This ending goes a little too fast for me. I wish I could slow it down.
20. So....... I'm not sure.... I'm trying really hard to not put any spoilers in this. I have some lingering questions for the author. Mostly one. ONE lingering question.
Overall, I think it's a worthwhile read. It would have gone faster if I hadn't kept putting it down to read something else so I could sleep. There's a good portion of world building and character get-to-know time before the action really picks up. I recommend it to anyone who has a couple of hours and enjoys a twisty-turny read.
*I don't make any money off the Amazon links, my reviews, etc. It's seriously just one reader to another.*
Mandy Peterson is the author of "Before I Shatter". She is also a mother, wife, librarian, book reviewer, and self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur.