Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Riddlin Rising

I finished Riddlin Rising: Book I of Emergence, by Jeff Judkins and Roy Ashcraft.

I won't mince words: it was pretty bad.

Here's the setup: it's 2138.   Don't worry, nothing much has changed except that now the western US is the tyrannical "Western Confederacy" and there's a benevolent "Latin Union" in South America.   The main character, Larry Riddlin, is a half-lunatic narcissist and would-be Cthulhu cultist.   With his fellow cultists, he performs a ritual that succeeds in summoning Cthulhu.   This also causes the moon to crack open, releasing dragons who devastate various parts of the world, and causes various magical abilities to appear in the Earth's population - in particular Larry Riddlin, who is now the most powerful mage on Earth, apparently able to do just about anything - in particular, the only one powerful enough to defeat the dragons.   He then gets recruited by the Confederacy, who want him to train more mages, which he basically fails to do.

So, basically, Shadowrun with Cthulhu and less cyberpunk.

It's actually a pretty good setup.   This is all supposed to be comedic, and Larry Riddlin is a potentially very funny character, a ridiculous, not very bright egotist.   Unfortunately, that potential is not realized.

Fundamentally, this book is just not funny.   And without funny, there's no point to the rest of it.   If it was funny, the ridiculous plot would be an asset.   The problems with the writing and the characterization could be overlooked.   But it isn't funny, at all, and the result is a book that has no point, makes no sense, and is just painful to read.   1/5 stars.

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