Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of Down & Dirty (Wild Cards Volume 5) edited by George R R Martin

Review of Down & Dirty (Wild Cards Volume 5) edited by George R R Martin

My recent review of book four in this series mention how addictive it was and that that volume hadn’t been as good as the previous three. Well … book five was considerably worse. In fact, I can’t even remember that well what happened in it – but there’s a reason for that beyond its lack of quality (see below).

The first part of the book is set concurrently with the previous volume and the whole (ah – I’ve just remembered the overall plot) deals with events in Jokertown as a) a war breaks out between the mafia, the Shadowfists (another criminal gang) and the jokers, and b) there are fresh outbreaks of the wild card disease.

The reason this volume doesn’t work as well as others is that it’s too disjointed, too transitional and in the end it lacks a decent climax – the source of the outbreak just goes away by itself (it’s more complicated than that, of course). The various threads of the plot don’t seem to hang together well – the gang war seems almost forgotten by the end, for instance.

So having finished this disappointing fifth instalment, what did I do? I started reading book six, obviously. And, having now read the volumes pretty much back to back, I can appreciate that seeing them as separate stories is totally fair – each book is a chapter in an ongoing story. Reading them so quickly means that I haven’t forgotten too many important details between books, but it also means they tend to all blur into one.

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