The Regent's Gamble: 8 out of 10
So, what did I think of The Regent's Gamble? In short, it was great! But not perfect. If you look at my rating system to the side, you will see that an 8 is a great rating, but that there were a few aspects of the book that didn't work for me.
Whenever someone asks me if I want the good news or bad news first, I always choose bad news first so that the good news will make it better and leave me in a better mood. That seems like a good way to tackle this review as well.
The bad news:
Short but important: The sexual content. Now, to be fair, I am a religious man and very conservative when it comes to sexual content in books and movies, but I'm no prude. A little isn't a deal breaker for me, but there is a line. The authors describe the sexual content as "for mature readers and definitely not for young teens. There are some sex scenes but nothing too overly lewd and graphic." I disagree, at least about the last bit. I would describe the sexual content as little tidbits spread freely throughout the book, with a several big scenes, some that were down right pornographic. So if this sounds bad to you, be careful when you read it. Like I said, there are big scenes you could skip, but there are many little bits that sneak up on you all over.
The good news:
Focusing on the rest of the novel, the book was fantastic. Frankly, if it had been a cleaner book I probably would have given it a 9 or 10, but again, that is just me. The authors are incredibly talented. They have a way with words that paints vivid, realistic images in your head every step of the way. I am hard pressed to think of another novel I have read that excels so impressively in the imagery.
The characters are all unique and compelling. You get drawn into their lives. You fear for them during their struggles and hope with them when they dream. The characters are all believable and exciting. As the story moves from one character to another, you are excited to have him or her pop up so you can get to know them better.
My favorite scene in the book is probably the prologue. It was a wonderful introduction to the book and the protagonist. Right off the bat you get magic, zombies, a dragon, and a battle between mages, all in central park under a sky lit with fireworks. A very strong opening that swiftly sucked me in.
The plot was strong, orderly, with enough twists and turns and intrigue to keep you glued. Now, I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that the story line progresses strongly, leading up to a great ending.
Now, would I recommend this book to another? It depends on the individual. If you read their sexual content warning and aren't sure you want to read it, you probably shouldn't. If you are comfortable with that aspect of the book, read it. Period.