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Laying the Odds by J. R. Tomlin
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Laying the Odds (edition 2011)

by J. R. Tomlin, C. R. Daems

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3311338,203 (3.27)3
Member:Scoshie
Title:Laying the Odds
Authors:J. R. Tomlin
Other authors:C. R. Daems
Info:CreateSpace (2011), Paperback, 200 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Laying the Odds by J.R. Tomlin

adventure (2) ebook (3) fantasy (4) fiction (2) gamblers (1) giveaway (1) magic (2) rogues (1) thief (1) thieves (1) to-read (1)
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This was a good read. The character development was quite interesting and the book was overall quite well written.
  Srta.Maria | Nov 6, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Members giveaway.

I liked :
• That the protagonist was a more mature character rather than the often seen near-child prodigy. That he had family responsibilities and had to be dragged into "adventuring" by the scruff of the neck.
• The mage travelling with Wrai. We don't get a picture of a whole magic system, but what we do see contributes to a coherent picture of a relatively low-fantasy world where mages pack some firepower but with quite drastic limits and cost. Nothing tremendously original but it works.
• The interactions among that group were quite nice overall (see caveat below regarding female characters though).

I felt ambivalent about :
• A tendency to justify Wrai's basic decency of character despite his choice of an occupation as a gambler and professional cheat that felt a bit awkward. As if there was some sort of conflict at play between the trope of the fantasy rogue as a sometime somewhat shady character who feels like the world owes him a living even if he is not a totally horrible person overall, and sterner (real-world ?) considerations on the matter. But we don't really know if it's supposed to be Wrai's inner conflict with his own morality / the dominant morality of his world, or the author trying to pre-emptively appease hypothetical readers objecting to a fictional supposedly sympathetic hero routinely cheating other people out of their money for a living.
• An environment that except for a couple adequately lively inns/taverns felt like a rather generic piece of countryside with details standing out only as they become relevant to the action. It gets a bit better in the city later on.

I didn't like :
• A gruesome lack of proofreading (as of the version received on June 2011 through LibraryThing Member Giveaway). Or rather, proofreading of the variety that goes through a basic spellchecker because, well, the words used do exist, but stills leaves out plenty of fairly eye-watering kinks.
• The story alternates between the merry band of Wrai & Co, and some mages going through the motions of being powerful and mysterious and pulling strings behind the scenes. The latter felt unfortunately very flat to me.
• That the female characters felt like little more than thinly disguised plot devices. The daughter is there as a justification for her father's need to make money by means fair and foul, and his care of her as "proof" that he's a nice guy. I'm not sure she even gets a description or is seen interacting with anyone. The other main female character seems to have little more purpose than to fall in love with Wrai and get abducted when convenient to get the men in the band moving. ( )
  Jarandel | Dec 5, 2012 |
I enjoyed the characters immensely. The character archetypes aren't something we haven't seen before but it was made unique by the way the characters change throughout the story. For example, I had Ayla pegged as a stereotypical naive damsel...which she is, but she is also a very spirited girl who does whatever she wants, despite what other people say. Even the plot evolves. First, it's a heist story which then becomes more and more like an adventure story.

The only thing I didn't like was the rather slow and not so interesting beginning.It just didn't set the right mood for me. However, it picked up very fast once the "mission" was underway. Another thing to note was the startling amount of typos in the ebook. It doesn't really bother me but the grammar police out there might not like it so much

Pro: character dynamics and development, interesting "heist" story
Con: slow beginning, lots of typos

Overall, I would recommend this book to any reader who loves adventure and intrigue. There are some fantasy elements there as well. This book might not be the best read for young readers as there's a few mentions of rape and violent deaths.

Won a giveaway in return for an honest review ( )
  Tavaresden | Mar 11, 2012 |
A young man looking for a stake to get into a gambling game finds himself involved in a quest to find the pieces of pendant that when put into the proper hands may help to save the country and society as he knows it. A fantasy story full of magic and interesting characters I enjoyed Laying the Odds. How far will ordinary citizens go to try and preserve their society for themselves and their posterity? The main character, Wrai, finds himself in such a dilemma and continually asks himself what he is doing in this life threatening situation.

It is a very good story and well worth the time to read and enjoy. The magical forces that the mages are capable of calling upon are very interesting. The supporting cast of characters are interesting and a few one wishes to know more about, in particular the couple that takes care of Wrai's daughter. The flow of the story is good and one keeps wondering how it will all turn out.

It is left open-ended so maybe we will see the return of Wrai in some other adventures. One can only hope. A very good job and well worth the time. ( )
  qstewart | Feb 27, 2012 |
Fleet-footed thief Wrai steals a charm from the father that wants nothing to do with him. When he hears about a group that is trying to buy herilooms he sets up a meeting. Recognizing the item the mage Patul and his enforcer Reitz and their antiquities scholar, Ayla talk Wrai into helping them get other items like it. Wrai sets off on an adventure like he has ever know. Good story, nice character development and would love to read the next book. Nice way to spend a day in the sun. ( )
  Scoshie | Jan 25, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Laying Odds:
1. A certain number of points given beforehand to a weaker side in a contest to equalize
the chances of all participants.
2. The ratio of the probability of an event's occurring to the probability of its not
occurring.
3. Games: A ratio expressing the amount by which the stake of one bettor differs from
that of an opposing bettor.
Dedication
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Wrai propped his boots on the rungs of the chair opposite him and took a deep drink of
his ale, mentally cursing being stuck in this cesspit of a town.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wrai is not amongst the rich and the influential of the dukedoms and magick is something he means to avoid. He earns his living in taverns and gambling dens; secrecy is his protection, gambling his livelihood. He plays to win, even when it means weighting the die.

But some risks are too good to refuse, especially when they give him the chance to repay the father who rejected him and to protect the daughter he means never to fail. So resolved to earn the marks he needs for his fortune, Wrai joins forces with a mage, never suspecting that the stolen pendant he has claimed as his "inheritance" contains a powerful magick, a magick dangerous enough to destroy the very things he is determined to protect.
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