Book of the Month (Mod Special) Review – Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

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Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding was chosen by me (Kirsty) as our first Mod Special: A Super Ultimate Fantastic Extra Bi-Monthly Group Read – after many many recommendations by our newly appointed Mod Sir Lancer (Sir Lancer Recommends #1 – Retribution Falls).

On the whole, Retribution Falls was given either 4 or 5 stars. I’d say there was probably a 50/50 split between the two ratings. It seems that it was certainly enjoyed, with many comparisons to the Firefly series being made.

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Here is our member Vinca’s verdict:

★★★★ (4 out of 5 stars)

I thoroughly enjoyed it, but found it didn’t remind me of Firefly to the same extent that other people seem to have linked the two. Ok, there’s a maverick captain and his mismatched crew and the tone of it takes the same light-hearted feel as Firefly, but for me a lot of Firefly was the group dynamic (can’t agree with the above post about the poor casting in Firefly – I thought it was perfect!) and I found that quite different (and not yet as good) in Retribution Falls.

So, to move away from the Firefly discussion, I think there are a few things that I really enjoyed about Retribution Falls. First up is the light tone, it made for a fairly undemanding read, but it just made me smile so much. I enjoyed the silliness, I chuckled at some of the dialogue, I could imagine the crew’s eye-rolling and the sighs of resignation as they embarked on yet another madcap scheme. It was fun, and I had a great time reading it. Sometimes that’s all you want from a book – unadulterated fun.

Secondly, although I think the character development wasn’t great, there were enough hints about the crew back stories that it made me want to learn more. I think this was really well done with Jez and Crake (particularly with the Bess story, which was really poignant at times) and they’re the characters I was most taken with. Frey felt a bit too caricatured, but I think there were still moments where he felt like a real person and I enjoyed those when they cropped up. More work was definitely needed on the rest of the crew as I have to admit I found them mostly unmemorable…

The plot was fine, yes it was a bit on the far-fetched side but in this book, with these characters, that worked. It was a fight for the underdogs with some convenient plot surprises that helped them on their way, and again, I just enjoyed being along for the ride. I also found myself thinking about some of the convenient plot devices, particularly the mysterious compass device and how that might work in reality as a mine-sensing device. I feel like there are some interesting tech ideas that are hiding beneath the surface of this one.

Thanks to sir Lancer for pushing this book, it had been on my TBR pile for ages and I’m really glad I finally picked it up and read it. The story made a work trip infinitely more fun!

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Have you read it? What did you think?

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