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The Rogue Retrieval by Dan Koboldt
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The Rogue Retrieval

by Dan Koboldt

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Throw a traditional pseudo-medieval fantasy into a pot along with Stargate and season with a dash of Avatar, and you have some idea of what is in store in The Rogue Retrieval.

Attracted by the dramatic concept of a Las Vegas performing illusionist come magician entering a fantasy world where he would need to be convincing alongside those who do magic for real, The Rogue Retrieval was an impulse buy for me. I was also charmed by the book’s opening where Quinn, the aforementioned magician, on the cusp of hitting the big time in Vegas, is hauled off on this crazy mission to another world through a portal on a remote Pacific island.
Richard Holt, a research scientist who knows more about the fantasy world of Alisia than anyone, has gone AWOL in this world and Case Global, the corporation who sent him there want him back.
If you are a regular fantasy reader the world of Alisia doesn’t bring anything new as a fantasy world that stands out, the twist is the people of Earth reconstructing medieval weapons with modern technology and otherwise hiding modern technology as they enter this world.
The highlights of the story are always when the protagonist, Quinn, has to use his stage magic to get himself or the team out of whatever scrape they have gotten into in Alissia. There is also scope for humor when you have a skilled sleight of hand expert around.
There is a major plot twist about halfway through the story that I did see coming from about quarter of a book away, but it was fitting and the right thing to do with this story and world. Said plot twist does take the wind out of the sails of the plot a bit, as the goal for the heroes becomes get home again. Quinn does take an extended excursion somewhere special where he gets to explore his magic in ways he would never be able to do back on Earth.
It was fun visiting Alissia, in particular through Quinn’s eyes and my hope for future books in this series would be stronger and more drama filled plots with clearer and more meaningful plot points, twists and turns. As a regular fantasy reader, I also have a taste for writing that immerses me in the setting and plot. By this I mean – show, don’t tell. The writing style is heavy on telling what is going on rather than showing me. As Anton Chekhov put it “Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Sometimes little details about the culture and behavior of Alissian’s is told in the text that the characters around would not know as we have not seen them see it, and are not essential to the plot anyway. For example; why tells us an Alissian’s snuff box is as private as a wallet or purse? By all means show it as a way of adding flavor and realism to the setting. Otherwise, we don’t need to know. The telling not showing issue also, for me, robs battle scenes of some of their impact, and there are some good ones in there.
Quinn’s antics, the hint of conspiracy not yet fully visible and the position Quinn finds himself in by the end of the book do make me curious to read future installments, but I it doesn’t quite make 5th star on this occasion.
Well done to Dan Koblot for bringing something just a bit different to the fantasy genre, although it is certainly more accurate to call it fantasy sci-fi.
( )
  AdrianGHilder | Feb 22, 2017 |
I have to say, I had mixed emotions about starting this one. I don't know where my head was at when I read the description, but I wasn't expecting what I got - and I loved it!

Quinn Bradley is a Vegas magician with dreams of headlining on the strip. His personality and charm, sleight of hand, and innovative illusions have finally attracted some head hunters, but they've also caught the attention of a large and powerful corporation who want to use it for their own. All his best options blocked, Quinn agrees to sign the non-disclosure agreement (against the advice of a mysterious stranger) and finds himself thrown into a whole new world.

Alissia exists through a portal on an island controlled by CASE Global. It's like a medieval, pristine earth over there - except that there's magic, and a whole host of flora and fauna the likes of which earth has never seen. The mission for the crew Quinn is on is to retrieve Dr. Holt, an research employee that's gone rogue, but Holt isn't making things easy. Pursued by beasts and thugs, the team's military training and field research help keep them safe. Quinn's razzle-dazzle can also give them an edge -- as long as he doesn't get caught by the enclave of Magicians who would kill him for impersonating a true Alissian Magician.

This novel is full of adventure, an incredibly believable alternate world, and magic. I laughed so much (quoting Journey lyrics to convince guards he's a monk? :D ), and followed the story eagerly to see what's next. I'm so pleased there are sequels scheduled, because this story left on a kind of major cliffhanger. Quinn's time with Alissia is not done, and I'm eager to see where it all goes.

I'm so glad I took the dive into this story, and I would whole-heartedly recommend it. ( )
  AngeLeya | Oct 28, 2016 |
Ah, what a fun, light fantasy read! Rogue Retrieval offers a delightful twist on the classic portal fantasy: a stage magician from modern day Earth is recruited to assist a corporation on their forays through a hole into a real-life fantasy world with magic. One of the heads of the operation has gone rogue, escaping into the other world, and he needs to be retrieved before he introduces dangerous technology and ideas to the other world. Mayhem ensues, of course. It's a fast read--a frolic--and feels like a wonderful set up for a series. My one gripe is that it felt like some vital information was held back for the sake of plot... but the book also manages to work in some brilliant Journey and He-Man jokes, so I won't complain too loudly. ( )
  ladycato | Aug 31, 2016 |
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Book description
Sleight of hand... in another land.
Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he's about to make the big-time. What he doesn't expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real.
 
That's how he finds himself in Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal owned by a powerful corporation. He's after an employee who has gone rogue, and that's the least of his problems. Alissia has true magicians...and the penalty for impersonating one is death. In a world where even a twelve-year-old could beat Quinn in a swordfight, it's only a matter of time until the tricks up his sleeves run out.
 
Scientist and blogger Dan Koboldt weaves wonder, humor, and heart into his debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval. Fans of Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett will find this a thrilling read.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006245191X, Mass Market Paperback)

Sleight of hand…in another land

Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he’s about to make the big-time.

What he doesn’t expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real.

That's how he finds himself in Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal owned by a powerful corporation. He’s after an employee who has gone rogue, and that’s the least of his problems. Alissia has true magicians…and the penalty for impersonating one is death. In a world where even a twelve-year-old could beat Quinn in a swordfight, it's only a matter of time until the tricks up his sleeves run out.

Scientist and blogger Dan Koboldt weaves wonder, humor, and heart into this debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval. Fans of Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett will find this a thrilling read.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 09 Mar 2016 11:14:10 -0500)

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