In addition to his detective fiction under the Cigars and Legs series, Adam Lawson also dabbles in fantasy. The Five is the first (and to date only) book in the Sword of Nalin series, a tongue-in-cheek but serious-minded fantasy title. It’s a decent outing for Lawson, but formatting and plot issues drag it down.
The central characters of The Five are a collective of science geeks who, while working on a project for the government, get sucked into an alternate dimension where magic reigns supreme over technology. Summoned by the warrior Zern, they’re tasked with helping her overthrow a tyrannical queen and restore freedom to the land.
He looked her over again, trying his hardest to feign disinterest, but let his eyes linger a bit. She put her hands on her hips. “Aiden.”
“Yes?” he asked. He looked her in the eyes again.
“They’re just breasts.”
Ryan chortled. Aiden could swear he heard Tara’s elbow hit ribs.
“Yes, I can see that,” Aiden said.
“I know you can, because you keep looking at them,” Zern said.
The Five’s semi-comic tone and acknowledgment of the ridiculousness of its own premise help keep the book interesting, but the book’s weak ending (as mentioned, Lawson will be continuing the story in additional novels) left me feeling cold. Additionally, when I read the book months ago, Chapter 2 (which describes how Aiden and his cohort of nerds get into this mess) is repeated, line-for-line, something like seven times throughout the first half of the book. It was a formatting screw-up on Lawson’s part and he’s since fixed it, but when I was reading the book, it made me mash my Kindle’s touch screen like a spastic epileptic trying to move the story along.
Bottom line: if you like fantasy stories and/or Lawson’s other work, you’ll like The Five. Everyone else should skip it.
Click here to buy The Five.
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