Monday, 21 January 2019

Review: Pendulum Heroes

Pendulum Heroes Pendulum Heroes by James Beamon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't generally read LitRPG, which this arguably is (it's the old "D&D players drawn into the world of the game" premise, which goes back almost as far as the game itself). I decided to give this one a shot, though, because the blurb intrigued me - particularly the teenage boy stuck as a warrior princess in a chainmail bikini - and I recognised the author's name from a writers' forum we both belong to. (I don't think we've ever directly interacted there, and I don't believe this connection influenced my rating.)

It's capably done, not just your standard campaign transcript or thud-and-blunder pulp, but with enough extra depth to make it more interesting and thought-provoking. In particular, it highlights the shallowness of teen boys who delight in death and destruction without empathy, or are thoughtless in their attitudes to women. It's not preachy, though; it shows rather than tells.

The plot is standard enough, a travelling quest in which the party faces multiple and varied challenges, but it's kept moving well and enjoyably executed. The characters are distinct, and have a bit of depth to them, particularly Rich, Melvin, and Melvin's older veteran brother Mike. There's a lightly sketched romantic triangle to provide extra tension.

I enjoyed it, and I would read a sequel.

I received a pre-release copy from Netgalley for review.

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