Retribution Falls


Well, you guys selected Chris Wooding's Retribution Falls in a recent poll, so the novel was moved to the top of the pile. And I must concede that after reading the excerpt I posted a while back, I was curious to read this one.

All in all, this entertaining book should be considered scifi light. Though it's a world away from works by authors such as Dan Simmons, Ian McDonald, and Peter Watts, Retribution Falls is an action-packed and fun-filled scifi romp reminiscent of Firely. Even though it contains a number of fantasy elements, the movie Serenity and the Firefly TV series obviously were an inspiration for this book. It's definitely a fun read from cover to cover!

Darian Frey is the incompetent and down-on-his-luck captain of the Ketty Jay. With his ragtag crew, Frey accepts what appears to be the opportunity of a lifetime. The simply hijacking of a cargo freighter will earn him a fortune. Although it sounds too good to be true, Frey goes against common sense and takes on the job. But when the supposedly easy robbery goes awry and the freighter explodes, killing everyone on board, Frey becomes public enemy number one. Soon, the crew of the Ketty Jay find themselves running from the Coalition Navy, hired bounty hunters, and the Archduke's elite troops, the Century Knights. Frey is aware that the ship was rigged to blow up and he's been framed to take the fall. As he attempts to keep his head on his shoulders and prove his innocence, Frey will uncover a conspiracy that goes beyond anything he ever thought possible.

Retribution Falls is a fast-paced read from start to finish. There is never a dull moment, which keeps you turning those pages. The downside of such a quick rhythm is that Chris Wooding seldom gets the opportunity to elaborate much on many of the novel's concepts and history. At times, I found that all the bantering and the action scenes got in the way of the storytelling to a certain extent. It would have been nice to learn more about the recent wars, the Daemonists, the Awakeners, the Century Knights, etc.

As far as characterization goes, Darian Frey and his team are without a doubt a motley crew. À la Firefly, there are plenty of one-liners flying around as they exchange banter and obscenities. Granted, this is likely the funniest aspect of Retribution Falls, but I felt that it was overdone on a number of occasions, especially in the back-and-forth between Frey and Crake. What I really loved about the protagonists was the fact that they all had their personal back story, which made each and everyone of them a three-dimensional character. Though Darian Frey more or less takes center stage, secondary characters like Grayther Crake, Jez, and Trinicia Dracken leave an indelible mark on the many storylines of the novel.

In the end, if you are looking for a fun, page-turning scifi read, then Retribution Falls is for you. If Joe Abercrombie ever wrote a science fiction book, this is the sort of thing he'd come up with.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

14 commentaires:

Jan said...

"the movie Serenity and the subsequent TV series "

....WHAT?

Patrick said...

Sorry about the brain fart.

I meant to say the preceding TV series, not subsequent...

YetiStomper said...

Is this scheduled for a US release?

Can't we just combine the bloody English book markets already?

Chris said...

I absolutely love Serenity and Firefly, so this book is probably one I should read. The coverart looks pretty cool, reminds me of something but I can't put my finger to it.

Casey said...

Firefly? Abercrombie goes sci-fi?

SOLD!

Ed S. said...

I pretty much agree with the review. A very enjoyable read along the lines of Firefly. Good characterization with well fleshed out character backgrounds but a bit lacking in telling us about the world we are in and it's history. The overall plotting/story is a bit predictable and that's probably the biggest disappointment. Still, one of the more fun to read books so far this year.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of the cover of Hunter's Run.. you can see it in this old post of Pat's.

. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Shannon said...

"Retribution Falls" cover art is gorgeous (those were my deletes above btw ;-) sorry..its been a long week-sigh....

Dave said...

I thought the movie serenity was one of the best sci fi movies in a long time, maybe ill check out this book.

IJ said...

I'm afraid all I've managed is 20 pages and as you say...very reminiscent of Firefly and Serenity, the comparison is too strong for me. I'm struggling to glean something more than surface cowboy/pirate cliches at present. But I guess I'll press on...

Anonymous said...

Just come to this story from Joe Aber's 'Best Serverd Cold' and Dave Gunn's 'Death's Head'.
I guess you could say I was in that chaotic, freebooter mindset :)
I gotta say I could not wait to turn the next page of 'Retribution' because I had been drawn in by the well rounded and slowly revealed personna's of the books cast.
Can see some people's mirroring to Serenity but this is on one world. The physics are nice and simple being somewhere between 1800 and 2010.
It has everything from unresolved love (that turn's to spite), arcane wizardry, unfathomless powered weaponry, mysic charts and alot of very decriptive aerial combat with two so different kind of heroes all coupled with a nice complicated 'who dunnit' :)

Kept me sane on the train :) Go read it!

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