Suicide Kings

At times it feels as though I'm one of the seemingly few readers who gave this newest Wild Cards triad a chance. As good and entertaining as both Inside Straight (Canada, USA, Europe) and Busted Flush (Canada, USA, Europe) were, it's a pity that so little noise has been made about them. Having enjoyed its two predecessors more than I ever thought I would, I was curious to discover how George R. R. Martin and co. would close the show in Suicide Kings.

The action occurs not long following the events chronicled in Busted Flush. The forces of the People's Paradise of Africa clash with the armies of the Caliphate of Arabia. But the PPA, aided by Tom Weathers, have begun a nightmarish program to help them turn the tide of the war. The Wild Cards virus is being injected into thousands of child soldiers, in an attempt to create a new army of powerful aces and jokers. In the aftermath of the nucear explosion in the heart of New Orleans, Michelle Pond remains unconscious. But a little girl named Adesina invades her dreams and beckons. Noel Matthews, spy and assassin, swore never to get involved in international intrigue now that Niobe is part of his life. Yet he realizes that the world needs him for one last mission. Without the UN's blessing, Rustbelt and Gardener embark on a journey which will take them into the heart of Africa to save a boy's life, while committees are bogged down in procedures as they assess how to deal with the PPA. And amidst all the international turmoil, Bugsy manages to make things go from bad to worse every time he opens his mouth.

As always, Suicide Kings was edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass. This latest mosaic novel was produced by Daniel Abraham, S. L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Caroline Spector, Ian Tregillis, and Melinda Snodgrass.

I feel that Suicide Kings was more political than the first two volumes of the triad. The People's Paradise of Africa's storylines reminds us of the First and Second Congo Wars. Yet the United Nations' inability to deal with such tragedies in a timely fashion also brings to mind the terrible genocide in Rwanda. Which demonstrated yet again how much of a travesty the UN Security Council truly is. Bill Clinton, François Mitterand, Kofi Annan, and various other politicians deserve to be shot in the belly and left to die of a gut wound for letting such atrocities take place during their watch. But I digress. . . In any event, I felt that the politicking between the PPA, the West, and the Middle East was particularly well-done. There are never fully back or white answers to such questions, and I think that the shade of gray which always shrouds such matters was handled adroitely.

I mentioned before that one of the problems with Busted Flush was that the book was all over the place in terms of plotlines. Not so with Suicide Kings, however. There are fewer storylines and a tighter focus on how they are linked to one another.

The characterization remains my favorite facet of the Wild Cards mosaic novels. At times funny, at times touching, and at times ass-kicking, a pretty good balance was struck in this third volume. With a number of all-star characters having been killed and others turning their backs on the Committee, two unlikely heroes emerge in this one. Realizing that both Rustbelt and Gardener would take center stage in Suicide Kings made me raise an eyebrow at the beginning, but they made me a believer early on. We witness a lot of character growth where these two are concerned, which makes their storylines as heartbreaking as they are entertaining.

There are a few touching moments between Noel and Niobe, and the relationship between Tom Weathers and Sun Hei-lan takes a few unexpected turns. But it's the poignant finale that makes this one special. Bittersweet, yes (Would you expect anything less from GRRM?), yet a satisfying ending to a solid trilogy.

Although tragic in many ways, Suicide Kings leaves the door open for a lot of things to come. And judging by the quality of this newest Wild Cards triad, I think it's safe to say that the franchise is in very good hands. Which bodes well for the future of this long-running series!

To all the authors involved in this latest Wild Cards project, kudos for a job well-done! You've made me a Wild Cards fan!

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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

*** Please remember that anything purchased via the Amazon links (used or new) throughout December will help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

3 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here know when the paperback for ''BUSTED FLUSH'' is coming out?

Dream Girlzzz said...

In a couple of days, if I'm not mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO, the Chinese Holocaust. They used this Situation to bury Japanese atrocities.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years. Condemned to experience another epoch of planet's history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
Never forget:::It is not a house of Jesus.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
Which one is it?:
One transitions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to their Chosen One. My personal "consolation prize".
And since the gods never committed despite tens of billions in mass media, product development and natural disasters/tragedy they will employ the freedom they positioned into the Situation and CHEAT me out of everything.

You costed me enough time. You sacrificed my life. I'm sick of you wasting my time talking about people I likely will never see again.