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Tumbling After by Paul Witcover
Review by Steve Sawicki
Eos Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 006105285x
Date: 01 March, 2005 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

I'm not sure what Witcover was attempting with this novel but the result ended up being less than the sum of its parts. Jack and Jilly are twelve years old and living with their extended family in Chesapeake Bay. Their uncle has designed a role-playing dice game, reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons and he's teaching the twins how to play. The twins are not normal; they have either extra sensory powers or a well-defined gut sense that they inherently trust.

As this story is unfolding we wander in and out of the story of the Viral Wars and the aerie Kestrel who is attempting to gain adulthood by doing a quest which involves battling humans intent on wiping out the mutant races.

This side story (and it's really half the story rather than a side story) involves concepts related to the role-playing game developed by Jack and Jill's uncle. Somewhere in the middle everything starts becoming intertwined. This is where the book begins to fall apart as well since neither story really develops along traditional lines.

The book almost reads like two disparate stories patched together, or as if Witcover had this novella involving the quest material and needed to find a way to expand it and so added the Jack and Jill work or maybe he just wanted to do a Jack and Jill riff and this is the end result. Who can say what an author's intent is? Not I for sure. All I can do is tell you whether what they did worked or not. In this case it's a not, which is too bad, bad because the writing is very good and the characters are very interesting it's just that the story gets too jumbled.

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