The Odds, by Robert J. Peterson

The Odds, by Robert J. Peterson book coverGenre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  California Coldblood
Published: 2014
Reviewer Rating: three and a half stars
Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

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The Odds by, Robert J. Peterson, is a Science Fiction novel set in the distant future where the desert of Nevada is a few hundred degrees during the day and a well below freezing at night. However, the temperature is the least of most people’s worries in this dystopian world full of mutants, poverty, and chaos. The one thing distracting the populace from their poor circumstances is the gambling ruled over by a powerful elite known as The Odds.

Despite the potential for gloom this world holds, Eldritch maintains an upbeat nature. This is made only more extraordinary considering how much cash he owes to various Odds. He tries to get himself out of the hole by joining a complex game of murderous chess, where the pieces are living players and are forced to fight to the death each time they are placed within the same square.

Things get more complicated when he finds there are people he knows and cares about also signed up for the game. Add to this, betrayals and the need to fight through an army of mutant Breens and our hero is hard-pressed to make it through the game alive.

An issue I do have with the novel is it claims to be “A Post-Apocalyptic Action Comedy.” I can give it the first two with ease, but although light-hearted, considering the death and doom afoot, I did not find it all to comic. There were moments and, again, it is a cheery novel, but I think calling it a comedy is a bit of a stretch.

It also felt a little green. Strong inventive ideas and a fun world, but the writing could be tighter.

I have already mentioned many of the novel’s upsides. It is a fun read. Might be good for a long airplane flight or a vacation. Calling it action packed would be an understatement. You do not have to wait long for the next battle as Eldritch struggles to survive. Character development is well done with the protagonist and you want him to come through this adventure with all his limbs intact.

Michael D. Griffiths

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