No Saving Throw is a cozy mystery set in the nerdy world of Dungeons & Dragons. If the D&D term “No Saving Throw” is unfamiliar, it means you can’t roll the dice to prevent or mitigate the awful thing that just occurred. Also, it means this book may not be a good choice for you.
Autumn is the owner of a gaming store especially role-playing ones like Dungeons & Dragons. When a gamer dies, Autumn decides to protect her gaming friends, and her store’s reputation, by finding the murderer herself.
No Saving Throw’s setting in high school makes the book seem very young adult. Descriptions of scenes are scant and similar to Adventure games like you enter a dark room. For old school nerds like me, it was fun to spot the old television, movie and game Easter eggs. The mystery was easy to solve—but not Scooby Doo level easy. I wanted to understand the core group’s motivations, which were only here almost as an afterthought. Since this is only book one of a planned series, I hope that issue will be addressed in the next book. If you are into gaming or just can’t stomach another knitting or bookstore cozy, this book will be a pleasant read. 3 stars!
Thanks to Diversion Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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With dyed blond hair and a hostile resting face, Imamura is finally graduating from his high school as Again Vol 1 opens. He transferred to the high school three years previously but had neither made friends nor joined a club. Imamura has also made no plans for his future career or schooling after high school ends. After the graduation ceremony, Imamura is thinking about the Ouendan (pep) club that he could have joined but didn’t. When he tries to climb through a window into the old Ouendan club room, he is seen by Akira, who is meeting her boyfriend. When Akira sees Imamura, she runs in fear and trips down a staircase. Imamura also trips and lands on top of her, knocking them both out.
Imamura wakes up with his mother calling him to go to school. He realizes that it is three years earlier and he is reliving his entire high school career. He realizes that this is his chance to make better choices including joining the Ouendan. Akira’s tale is also told but in less detail. While berating Imamura for forcing her to fall down the stairs, she accidently joins the Ouendan too. The rest of the novel addresses typical high school rivalries and romances.
The cover artwork using pastels and watercolors is beautiful. The interior art uses cross hashing to make various shades of gray. However, the drawings appear somewhat muddled. There is nothing within the plot to mark it as original. The abrupt end of Again Vol 1 forces me to give this volume 3 stars. Hopefully, Vol 2 will have a more complete story.
Thanks to the publisher, Kodansha Comics, and NetGalley for an egalley.
This is the story of Genesis, who was left at an abortion clinic by her boyfriend, Peter. The novel also includes many other current teen topics like drug abuse, religion, pre-marital sex, suicide, mental health, alcoholic binges, and deciding on a career. It is a lot to cram into 350 pages. I wish the author had picked one or two to delve into deeper as it seemed like some topics were dealt with too swiftly.
I really liked the story structure. Each chapter was entitled with an aftercare instruction that matched the actions within the chapter. Every couple of chapters a script between Genesis and Peter would flashback to different events in their relationship.
The characters were very genuine and they showed different perspectives of the same event. The plot was good though, as is typical with books marketed as Young Adult, the ending wasn’t much of a surprise.
This would be a good book for an older teen. It is a combination of a family drama and romance.
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that did not impact my review.