I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tor in exchange for a review.
The Wild Cards series has been something I’ve wanted to check out for some time, but I confess the number of volumes in the series to date seemed overwhelming. When I received a copy of the latest volume Lowball for review I was surprised to find that I was able to dive right into the series. When Aces Abroad came in the male a week later I decided to read it first since its volume four in the series.
Aces Abroad is a road trip novel. A group In the World of Wildcards exposure to an alien substance has mutated a great number of citizens. The mutated citizens refer to themselves as Aces ( think superhero’s like Superman), and Jokers ( The most malformed mutations). A council of Aces and Jokers comes together and decides to travel the world to see how Aces and Jokers around the world are living.
One of the main chroniclers of the trip is Xavier Desmond. He is a Joker who is terminally ill. Desmond hides this information from everyone and so his journal entries are the only place he has to share his concerns about his future along with that of the Jokers.
I loved Desmond’s parts ( the were written by Martin) but some of the stories were a little confusing to me . A lot is mentioned about events that went on in prior books so I wasn't really getting the importance of a lot of the characters conversations. Once the individual stories got started however I was able to enjoy them.
From Haiti, Mexico, Lima and everywhere in between, the travels see how the mutations have effected various cultures. Some are considered God’s others think they are mad but the end result is they find a way to survive.
One of my favorite stories was Beasts of Burden which stars the Joker Chrysalis. This story had elements of voodoo and one of the creepiest creatures I've read in quite awhile.
I also enjoyed how Desmond’s journal enlightened the reader on certain topics that could be confusing.
This was an enjoyable read but I would suggest reading at least one book prior in the series before reading this one.