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The Strangelove Gambit (David Bishop, Nikolai Dante #1)

1 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a mediocre attempt at a sexy sci-fi swashbuckler that comes across more as a uninteresting wish fulfillment for uncreative teenage boys with little taste.  I understand that the book is an adaptation of a popular comic book character and universe, but frankly the author could have done a lot better.  The protagonist is just about the worst execution the archetype of the anti-hero I have ever seen.  Apparently, the central hook of his character is that he likes to sleep with women. That’s it.  That’s the whole character.  He has a tragic, complicated back story, a dark, repressive, authoritarian world to run around in,  and all sorts of amazing sci-fi abilities, but his driving force, the only time he acts outside of the necessities for the threadbare plot, is when he’s feeling randy.  The other characters are even worse.  He has two sidekicks that are so one-dimensionally boring that I would boo them at a five-year-old’s puppet show.  One of them is disgusting and farts constantly; the other one is cowardly and British.  That’s as deep as it gets.  Minor characters are even less inspired and more disposable; even their names are terrible.  In no particular order of cringe-worthiness we have: Wartski, a woman covered in warts; Mould, a boring professor who just sits around like a fungus; and and Shitov, a sadistic prison commander.  Given that the protagonist is so focused on sex, you would think that there would be a bit more of it, or that it would be particularly exciting, but I think there are two pages of non-graphic sex scenes at most, and they really aren’t very well done.  Strangely, for a swashbuckling adventure, there is almost no action and really very little adventure.  This book lacks imagination in its inception and fails on the execution of its small potential.  I would not recommend this book.

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