My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Review: The Laran Gambit

The Laran Gambit The Laran Gambit by Marion Zimmer Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a return to the world of Cottman IV (aka Darkover) … the series that hooked me on reading (under a different author). As such, I took a particular pleasure in the “Easter Eggs” or references to canon found throughout the book that played well with my nostalgia. More than a generation has passed since Darkover had any connection to the Off World Terrans when Bryn lands on Darkover seeking refuge from a despotic ruler and help for her mentally compromised father. Personally it took longer to get there than I would have liked, but that is mostly because of how fascinated I am with he world of Darkover itself.

The story doesn’t really add much that is new, but it was well written and easy to read. The one element of a powerful and corrupt Terran leader as the “Big Bad” made for a decent plot hook, but was otherwise not all that unique … so the book was fairly average unless you are a fan … which I am. It is also a quick read that can stand alone to introduce you to the series, so I still would recommend it.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheLaranGambit #Darkover #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.