Review: Blue Fall by B. B. Griffith

Blue Fall: The Tournament: Volume One is B.B. Griffith’s first novel.  I am always a little hesitant to read someone’s first novel as one doesn’t know what to expect.  However, the book’s description intrigued me:

There was a time…long ago, when whole nations, entire races of people, pinned their hopes and futures on individual warriors. Whole wars were won and lost on the outcome of a single battle between heroes. Entire countries were moved. Empires rose and fell…”

In Blue Fall, that time has come again.

A routine investigation throws a hapless insurance agent down the rabbit hole, into a world where the rich and powerful place wagers on the greatest game on earth. They call it the Tournament. It offers competition without limits. It is beholden to no man, and constrained by no law, and it is extremely dangerous. But where does the true power lie in this World Cup of warfare? With those who place the bets, or with the deadly players themselves? And can one man expose the secret before they find him?

I wanted to know more.  The insurance agent, Frank Youngsmith, begins investigating a large life insurance policy payout after he receives a call from his boss during the middle of the night.  And what Frank stumbles onto is a competition that not many people would understand.  The battles fought are not sanctioned by society as a whole.  Instead, they are part of a world where rich and powerful people wage bets and play odds on the unsanctioned battles.  The bets are astronomical, and the latest competition has taken a new turn and foreign affairs are now at stake.

Who are these warriors?  In Blue Fall, there are three team members per each nation that is involved.  This installment of the series begins with eight nations fighting: England, Ireland, Mexico, Russia, Italy, France, Japan, and the USA.  The weapons used have diode bullets that knock the players out of the game but do not kill them.  Once hit, the player will start to feel numbness and within a certain amount of time will lose consciousness, leaving the players available for the next round of the competition.  All of the players were recruited by Tournament leaders.  Reasons as to why each player is recruited are vague.  Do the Tournament leaders think certain individuals are natural born killers?  I got a sense that the individuals were special, but I didn’t feel that it was completely explained.  Also, not enough time was spent developing the history of the Tournament and the competitions.

As the story unfolds, we find that the competitions have nations pitted against other nations.  Scores need to be settled and national pride restored.  The level of the fighting increases with each battle.  More civilians are injured, more damage is done, and the fighting is getting personal.  Will the competition turn into all out warfare?  Also, will they be able to keep the competitions out of the news?

For an action novel, I was pleased that Griffith spent time developing the characters in his novel, including the minor characters.  To accomplish this, he includes multiple points of view.  At times, this process does take too much time and lessens the excitement from all the action.  However, this novel is the first in the series, so I’m hoping he took extra care in his first novel to introduce everyone so the future novels will be more suspenseful.  This is not to say that the first installment is not action-packed.  It is.

Overall, Griffith’s first novel is quite a statement.  He knows how to write action novels.  He knows how to hook the reader right from the start and to keep the reader’s interest.  My only regret about reading this book is that that the second is not yet available.  As soon as I devoured this installment, I wanted to pick up the next one right away.  I hope the author does not make us wait too long.  Even though I mentioned some flaws in the novel, such as taking too much time to develop certain characters, which detracts from the action and being too vague about the actual Tournament and competition, I’m still giving this novel 5 out of 5 stars.  The simple reason behind this rating was I could not put this book down.  And I am eagerly waiting for the next installment.



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