Continuing the exciting adventures from The Rogue Retrieval, The Island Deception blends fun and mystery into a brilliant new portal fantasy from Dan Koboldt.
What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. But what happens after you step through a portal to another world, well…
For stage magician Quinn Bradley, he thought his time in Alissia was over. He’d done his job for the mysterious company CASE Global Enterprises, and now his name is finally on the marquee of one of the biggest Vegas casinos. And yet, for all the accolades, he definitely feels something is missing. He can create the most amazing illusions on Earth, but he’s also tasted true power. Real magic.
He misses it.
Luckily—or not—CASE Global is not done with him, and they want him to go back. The first time, he was tasked with finding a missing researcher. Now, though, he has another task:
Help take Richard Holt down.
It’s impossible to be in Vegas and not be a gambler. And while Quinn might not like his odds—a wyvern nearly ate him the last time he was in Alissia—if he plays his cards right, he might be able to aid his friends.
He also might learn how to use real magic himself.
About the Author
Dan Koboldt is a genetics researcher and fantasy/science fiction author. He has co-authored more than 60 publications in Nature, Human Mutation, Genome Research, The New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, and other scientific journals. Dan is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He lives with his wife and children in St. Louis, where the deer take their revenge by eating the flowers in his backyard.
The Rogue Retrieval is his first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Quinn's back in the real world, with an incredible opportunity on the Vegas Strip he's long strived for. But even the glimmer of Vegas lights can't compare to what he's experienced in Alissia. When Case Global asks him to return, he practically jumps at the chance. Because Alissia holds magic--real magic. But the mission holds many dangers, and Case Global is playing their cards close to the chest. There's more at stake than ever, both for the company's team, and for the Alissian people. I found the dive back into the story a little slow. The opening scene lacked some of the pizazz I've come to expect from Quinn, but once we dip into Alissia, the fun is on. The stakes are much higher this time, and the mood is decidedly more serious. Relationships delve deeper, and a series of mysteries and secrets pulls you along in a race for the finish, that, while leaving you satisfied, also leaves a slaking thirst for the next book. I have to say, the author is excellent at creating stunning worlds. He paints the culture in such broad and vibrant strokes, and the many nuances that makes each region unique, and the people that inhabit each area just as varied. And the magic. I yelled at Quinn a few times for being such a cheater at times. But he pulls through in the end, like always. A true illusionist and man of charisma. If you loved The Rogue Retrieval, you'll want to continue the journey in the Island of Deception. The anticipation is on for book 3 of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy. I can hardly wait to see how the author paints his way out of this corner. :)
When real magic is possible, would the Vegas kind satisfy you? It doesn’t for Quinn Bradley, the protagonist of Dan Koboldt’s Island Deception. Quinn, a stage magician, has worked his whole life for the big show in Las Vegas, and with a little help, he finally accomplishes his goal. The opportunity of a lifetime is his for the taking. But his curiosity and heart are drawn back to the little island where he learned that magic - the fireball kind - exists. Lucky for Quinn, CASE Global Enterprises needs his help back in Alissia. Before we get into the review, here’s a quick disclosure: I was provided an advanced copy for an honest review. I also know Dan and occasionally contribute essays to his blog as part of the Science in Sci Fi and Facts in Fantasy series. As a fan of, I looked forward to returning to the land of real magic. Dan didn’t disappoint with a fun tale that has me ready for book 3. The Gateways to Alissia series - starting with The Rogue Retrieval and continuing in The Island Deception - is best described as a portal fantasy in the vein of Stargate: SG-1. Opening on Earth in the Las Vegas strip, The Island Deception sets the stakes in our world, but the path to success lies in Alissia. Quinn Bradley returns as our main character, who reaching the peaks of Vegas showmanship is still drawn to possibilities he found in the Enclave. Also returning are his team of Kiara, Logan, Chaudri, and Mendez, the CASE Global operatives sent in-world with Bradley. The magic of The Rogue Retrieval was the cast of characters, and they are back in Alissia on assignment for CASE Global Enterprises. Being a second novel, The Island Deception jumps into the action faster than The Rogue Retrieval, and the whole novel benefits from the quicker pace. Whereas the first book had to set the stage, this one uses that stage to get right into the action. This time around, cracks have formed in the team due to personal agendas and loyalty to the company. The interpersonal dynamics has changed from the group’s first trip through the portal together. Dan does a good job balancing the character beats with forward movement of the plot, and the character tensions are that extra spice that elevates from good to wow. With the ominous presence of CASE Global always in the background, the characters feel squished between their employer, team, and morals. I enjoyed returning to Alissia. Even though it is a second novel, the world building continues. Dan gives the reader cultural cues and flairs seamlessly. For me, world building is something that varies from novel to novel depending on story, style of writing, and author’s ability. Too much or too little can overshadow the narrative; it has to serve a specific purpose. The Island Deception gets it right. What I learned about the fantasy world came through character. Instead of information dumps, Dan uses social settings that not only advance the plot but show the depth of the various cultures he's created. Whether it's the sparse haughty dinner of the aristocrats or the more social, sharing nature of others, the characters show rather than tell. Sequels are always tricky, and the middle books in trilogies are incredibly difficult. The author has set both a floor, in the previous book, and a ceiling, the final installment. But a novel also requires some change from the beginning. As with most secondary books in a trilogy, The Island Deception closes individual plot threads while at the same time making only a little