Review: “Final Scream,” David Brookover

Pros: The beginning, when things were still being newly discovered
Cons: Go find a tabletop gaming rules lawyer to fix the gaping plot holes
Rating: 2 out of 5

David Brookover’s Final Scream is about a TV reality show in which anyone who screams at anything gets disqualified until there’s only one person left.

No, wait, that isn’t really what it’s about. It’s about trying to collect DNA from creatures of extraterrestrial origin who happen to be living on so-called ‘Terror Island.’

No no no, that isn’t it. It’s a story in which the ridiculously powerful (and engaged to each other) magic-laden Gabriella and Nick have to rescue everyone from the various machinations that are going on behind the curtain. Curtains, really, because there’s a lot of them going on.

 

There’s a lot that didn’t wow me about this book. If I explained it all I’d be here for a long time. So instead, I’m going to concentrate on the one thing that annoyed me the most: the gaping plot hole created by the magic system. Nick and Gabriella can do virtually anything with magic. Nick conjures a speedboat out of thin air. Nick and Gabriella seem to teleport upon a whim. A brief mention at one point said that their conjuration ability’s only limit is that it can’t be used to create money or jewels. Anyone should be able to find at least a hundred ways to make plenty of money off of it. Also, since there are so few limitations on their ability to conjure, they should be able to fix most of the book’s problems with the wave of a hand. It doesn’t help that Nick and Gabriella also have a cat and a terrier that are familiars with a whole lot of power–and Nick and Gabriella pretty much just leave them at home. Huh?!

I would love it if the author would hunt down a self-proclaimed ‘rules lawyer’ from a tabletop roleplaying game such as Dungeons and Dragons. Write up the rules for your magic (only as it is described and used in this book). Then give it to that person and see how many of your plot points go up in smoke when you let someone creative and clever figure out how to use your system to best effect.

Because it was obvious that many of the problems in this book that weren’t solved through magic ought to have been solvable through magic, this book is fairly dead in the water and should have ended much earlier.

While there are some halfway-decent characters and the pacing is sometimes good, it’s the fact that the magic system is a gaping plot hole that makes me want to not read any more of this series. (Okay, there’s also a bunch of stilted dialogue, particularly with the aliens.)

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