Review Blog

Mar 15 2012

The Extinction Gambit by Michael Pryor

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The extraordinaires 1. Random House Australia, 2011. ISBN 9781864718201.
Highly recommended. The Extraordinaires is another clever and entertaining novel by Michael Pryor, full of wit, adventure and edge of the seat thrills. True to its name, this book is peopled with extraordinary characters: from our brave, wolfish hero Kingsley, to his strong and courageous albino companion, Evadne. The villains in this novel are equally engaging, be they the troll-like, Damona or the slippery, wheeler and dealer, Soames. Even an author, Rudyard Kipling, makes an appearance.
The novel opens in 1908 in a small theatre where Kingsley is to make his debut as a magician. But when his wolfish nature turns his magic show into bedlam, Evadne decides to rescue him as her 'project' little knowing that danger is lurking around the corner, quite literally. Not only do the police think our beloved hero is guilty of a dastardly crime, but also, there are dark creatures living in dark places who want Kingsley for themselves, or at least, they want his brain! And it seems they will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.
Befitting a story that opens and closes in a theatre, this novel often reads like a wonderfully old-fashioned melodrama with all the fun and adventure that one would expect on a panto stage. The humorous repartee between Kingsley and Evadne is also reminiscent of such pantos and is sure to delight readers as they inwardly cheer on their heroes' fight to stay one step ahead of the chase. However, Pryor cleverly imbues his villains with more depth than might be expected from the standard melodrama so the reader also cares about the outcomes of their misadventures.
All in all, this is a delightful romp of a story, which is only to be expected from the author of the brilliant series,The Laws of Magic. It is especially exciting to know that this isn't just a stand-alone adventure but the first in another series. Readers will be eagerly anticipating the next book set in extraordinary times and about extraordinary characters.
Deborah Marshall

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