Wrai is not amongst the rich and the influential of the dukedoms and magick is something he means to avoid. He earns his living in taverns and gambling dens; secrecy is his protection, gambling his livelihood. He plays to win, even when it means weighting the die.
But some risks are too good to refuse, especially when they give him the chance to repay the father who rejected him and to protect the daughter he means never to fail. So, resolved to earn the marks he needs for his fortune, Wrai joins forces with a mage, never suspecting that the stolen pendant he has claimed as his "inheritance" contains a powerful magick, a magick dangerous enough to destroy the very things he is determined to protect.
Laying the Odds is an entertaining fantasy by J.R. Tomlin and C.R. Daems. It's a quick read, but has most everything a fantasy lover will love. There's magic, evil, power struggles, and a protagonist who wants nothing of any of it, yet is dragged in anyway.
Wrai isn't a typical young, naive fantasy hero. He's fully grown with a daughter being raised by a friend. He's jaded, a gambler and a thief. He doesn't really care about the "good of mankind," he only wants to do what is good for himself and his daughter. Yet he's pulled into the fray when he steals a pendant that is full of powerful magick from his father. Wrai slowly matures into a true fantasy hero through this story, yet his edges are still rough which keeps him interesting to read about.
The rest of the characters in the book could have used a bit more fleshing out for my liking. I found it difficult to feel much for anyone but Wrai. However, the storyline was smoothly written and easy to follow. The ending left me a little wanting, but it seems obvious there will be a sequel. I enjoyed reading Laying the Odds and think most fantasy readers will as well.
If you're into historical fiction at all, check out my review of Freedom's Sword by J.R. Tomlin. It's an excellent book on Scottish history.
*Disclaimer: I was given this book by the author through LibraryThing. I was not required to write a positive review.
- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace (May 17, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 146350828X
- ISBN-13: 978-1463508289