Author: C.L. Denault
Publisher: REUTS Publications
Genre: Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Source: NetGalley Ebook Review Copy
Gambit by C.L Denault is a book which confused me. It includes everything I like in a book; it starts off strongly and had an ending I was hesitant to put down. Yet, it confused me. Parts of it did not sit right with me and I struggled to remain enthused throughout the middle section. I was ill at the time of reasing so that may have been a factor, but I could not bring myself to enjoy Gambit as much as a I wanted to.
Set in a dystopian future where people develop special skills that can range from precise aim to telekinesis after going through a Surge at sixteen, Gambit follows a girl called Willow, adopted daughter of a tavern owner, as she discovers her true parentage and is forced from everything she knows and holds dear. All this while she struggles with two powerful and dangerous gifts and a Commander who she can’t quite get her head around. I loved every part of the plot, with the exception of the latter, which we will come to in the next section. While I have seen this kind of plot before, it was well done, if quite predictable. I really enjoyed the parts of it that surrounded Willow, her gifts and her heritage and was desperate to know more by the end. There is a fantastic bit of political intrigue in the final third of the book which I really wish had been expanded as it really made you think. I just wish there had been more of it.
I actually found the side characters a lot more enjoyable than the main two characters. They each had consistent personalities, were all fairly different in characterisation and I felt I could get behind them as real people. I did find Willow annoying at times, but her age and situation excused that completely – it was believable. I did, however, get increasingly annoyed by the references to the ‘tiger’ within her. Even though tigers are my favourite animal and I loved that description when it first appeared, it just got a bit repetitive after a while. Reece, on the other hand, I absolutely hated. He, I think, is the reason I did not love the book as much as the rest of it deserved. I found his inconsistent personality as confusing and as annoying as Willow did, and his behaviour was abusive towards her at times despite *spoiler alert* them being in love throughout most of the book. It was a relationship that infuriated and unnerved me and I found it took me right out of the story *spoiler alert over*
The world in this book is fantastic. Denault does a brilliant job of sculpting the two extremes that Willow finds herself living in and combined the technology and magic of the world beautifully. I really enjoyed the descriptions and variety of the skills, and found their explanation believable. The difference between the outlying lands and the beginning of the book and the Core at the end was jarring, but in a good way as it allowed the reader to experience was Willow was experiencing.
As I said at the beginning of this review, Gambit confused me. I loved the world and the skills that Denault created. I also loved the characters and the story. I just could not love Reece and that side of the story pulled me out of the world and prevented me from fully enjoying the book. I would really like to read the next one. The ending of this book really caught my attention and I am really interested in seeing how Willow handles life in the Core.
Not to mention, the cover is stunning.
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Gambit-Denault/9781942111238/?a_aid=RosieNReads