There is something magical about moving little army men around a game table while pretending you’re a super-important high ranking general. WarChest and Splash Damage’s Rad Soldiers is the latest turn based strategy title that lets you live out those arm-chair general fantasies on your mobile phone or tablet. Did WarChest manage to deliver something with both style AND substance?
A unique opportunity appeared to me in the form of an advance copy of The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. As soon as I started it, I was transported to a world where chains lock prisoners to pipes high above the ground, camaraderie affords even the strangest of alliances and magic exists in many forms. If you like movies like “Ocean’s Eleven” and enjoy playing games like “Dragon Age” or “Skyrim” this book is, as we say on the podcast, right in your wheelhouse.
Right off the bat, I have to give huge kudos to the author for writing such a compelling and strong female protagonist; something so often contrived and unappealing. The story follows Loch, a woman with an intriguing past and even more interesting motives, as she assembles a team of societal castaways to recover a stolen item. Each character, from thief to death priestess, has a unique skill to aid in this quest.
Who knew a unicorn could have a fetish? Okay, perhaps fetish is too heavy a word. Let’s just say proclivity towards a certain type of purity in her conquests.
And her name? Ululenia – say that three times and tell me your mouth isn’t happy.
As a matter of fact, all of the characters have distinctive backstories which artfully play into the story’s narrative. My favorite character, the priestess Desidora, even has a weapon with a personality and hard-fought history. Rest assured not all characters are feminine, animals or objects. Kail, military man and long-time friend of Loch’s, has a rich and unexpected series of circumstances – some that will surprise you.
Technically superior to a bunch of books I’ve read recently, The Palace Job is driven mostly by dialogue and action, which excites the pace. That can be a risky proposition for a lot of writers, but Weekes pulls it off with honest interactions and strong voice differentiation. You can tell which character is speaking without the tags, “Kail said” or “Hessler explained.”
Each scene feels like a movie with vivid sights and sounds. One of my favorites involves an airship crashing. You feel as if you’re there watching men tumble over railings and hearing a wind daemon thrash around within the confines of the massive balloon. Yes, there are such things as wind daemons within the world that Patrick built. Pretty cool, huh?
Overall, The Palace Job is an escape with witty banter, great action and a nail-biting heist plot. I give this book a 10 of 10 tequila shots for keeping me riveted and making me laugh out loud with a bunch of funny one-liners.
Want to get a chapter critiqued by BioWare writer and super-amazing author Patrick Weekes?
What do you like about unicorns?
Matt, Ash, Scott and I will each choose our top 3 favorites and then put all the names into a hat. The winner will be drawn and announced on a future podcast.