“The Retribution, Gallows Gold Book 2” by James Thomson

I reviewed the first book in the series, “The Agreement,” last summer, and while the second book stands alone pretty well, I suggest you read the first book first. The second book is more of the same, so then you’ll know whether you want to pick it up as well.

I recommended “The Agreement,” and I recommend this book too, but there is one small difference, a problem I find with the second book in many series.

The first book in a series, especially Action Adventure like these tales, usually contains the action and the adventure, but our appreciation for the story is intensified by the intercharacter conflicts and the developing of the relationships. Often — and this is the case with “Retribution” — the second book improves on the strengths of the first book, but the relationships are fairly established. This means that there is less interpersonal development.

So, we see an episodic structure. The overarching plotline is minimized, and we have three sequences of near equal importance and entertainment. Our enjoyment of the two heroes comes from their individual development, which is nicely laid out and believable. The secondary characters, however, (the ones held over from the first book) do not get the same careful attention. The new villains are more interesting, especially the one from the first fight, who reveals a complex value system that affects the action later in the book.

In my last review, I complained about that book having too many points of view. This time the author confines us to the POVs of the two main characters, except for one chapter with an unnecessary hop into a third person’s head. I’d call that a qualified win on the reader’s part.

Other than these esoteric quibbles, “Retribution” is a fast-moving, action-filled tale with great characters and detailed worldbuilding. It would be a great basis for an 8-part streaming series on TV.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This review was originally published on Reedsy Discovery

About the Author: Gordon Long

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