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Noel's Blog


Outsider - Peter  Diggins The book starts off with a group of adventurers exploring an abandoned temple. They get into trouble. One of them, a mage, tries to summon magical help but instead transports Duncan Hawkwind from our world into theirs. Duncan is the Outsider, not part of their world, and yet not able to leave it.
A light humour flavours the book, but it’s not a comedy. The author doesn’t flinch from killing off characters.
The book has a few flaws that depending on your personal tolerance may impact your enjoyment.
First, the author chooses an omniscient viewpoint, so we move from one character’s viewpoint to the next in the same scene. This is more noticeable at the start of the book. Later, Duncan’s viewpoint tends to dominate. Sometimes, this jumping about works to capture the humour of a given situation, but if you don’t like head-hopping, you are going to find some parts of this book difficult.
The author makes absolutely sure that the reader is ‘on the same page’ with what is happening. The problem is that this sometimes creates repetition. For example, a number of characters independently learn the same information to a greater or lesser extent in the course of a series of scenes. Each of them learns it once but the reader receives the same information multiple times.
The story could use a bit more focus in the middle. There are scenes involving characters other than Duncan which probably aren’t necessary, though I can see why the author chose to include them. On the other hand, one or two scenes should have been fleshed out a bit more.
Despite these flaws, I really enjoyed the book. The last third of the book really rattles along. All the diffuse elements come together to create a very satisfying conclusion.