Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Book Review: Wild Cards - Texas Hold'em

San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation's top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings. Michelle Pond, aka The Amazing Bubbles, thinks that her superhero (and supermom) know-how has prepared her to chaperone the event. But when her students start going wayward, she’ll soon discover the true meaning of “Don't mess with Texas.”

Wild Cards: Texas Hold'em features the writing talents of David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Victor Milan, Diana Rowland, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector and William F. Wu.

This twenty-sixth entry in the series, published in late 2018 by Tor Books, is the third entry in The American Triad subtrilogy.

This time the reader is treated to even more threading of stories. Instead of one overarching tale to tie together the other stories, this time we get ongoing chapters of multiple stories at the same time. This could come off as jarring if the writers' styles are drastic. However, they all seem to mesh very well. Despite the seamless writing, I still had some problems connecting with this one.

I think it was a couple things. First, I was never a band kid. The closest I ever got to going-away for an event while in high school was the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) convention weekends. Even then, I tended to be one of the kids that kept in line. So, I didn't relate well with the kids in the band competition here. Second, there just wasn't enough escapist action in these stories for me. I like the "super" aspect of the Wild Cards genre. This one had some more subtle themes to it. Ah well. Lastly, the merged format kept the focus shifting which meant I was not connecting to each parts' cast.

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