Thanks for stopping by! Something a little different today as my husband, Pete is sharing his review for The Qubit Zirconium by M Darusha Wehm. With thanks to the publisher for the ARC via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…
Alien detectives stumble across a mystery that could tear apart their patchwork planet, the Crucible, in this riotous science fantasy novel from the smash hit game, KeyForge
Wibble & Pplimz, the Crucible’s most unusual private investigators, must set off from their office in Hub City to clear the name of a former client. Along the way, their investigation broadens from a simple accusation of theft to include a missing person, a potential murder, and a highly unusual gem. Four interlinking incidents take them across the Crucible, as they attempt to solve the case. But there’s something more sinister lurking underneath: evidence of a secret society that aims to discover the power of the Architects, and forever change the nature of the Crucible itself.
So, here I am again – Hi-Jacking my wife’s book blog to bring you another review of KeyForge fiction. KeyForge is a card game where both players use a unique deck of 36 cards and attempt to win the game by forging 3 “keys” more quickly than their opponent. As you’ll know if you saw my first review, I’m a keen board and card gamer, and play competitively across multiple UK venues. I’ve been playing KeyForge since April 2019 around 6 months after the game’s first release.
The Qubit Zirconium is the second KeyForge book from Aconyte publishing and due for release in spring 2021. Their first was an anthology of short stories called Tales from the Crucible released last year. This also introduced us to the protagonists from this book in its eighth story. You can find my review here.
Our heroes are Wibble and Pplimz a duo of Private Investigators working from Hub City on “their patchwork planet, the Crucible”. The Crucible is an alien world comprised of pieces of planets and beings stolen from their home-world or space and thrust into a strange new environment of cultures and beings. They are also all trapped there by the mysterious “Barrier” which prevents anyone or anything from leaving.
Wibble and Pplimz are hired by a former client (who didn’t feature in the previous short story) an elf who contacts them as he is in trouble and once more needs their help. While this may begin as an everyday theft investigation, it soon escalates leading our unique duo around various locations on the Crucible as they try to unravel the mystery in which they’ve become embroiled.
The leads are what bind the story together. Their interactions and banter with each other were a highlight for me. They have very different personalities and even at times differing opinions, but their reactions to each other are very amusing.
She is a fun-loving and excitable being. She finds enjoyment in a great many things, and is extremely happy to embrace it! She can change colour and does so throughout the story. Sometimes appearing to do so involuntarily, based on her emotional state. She floats in the air and is roughly the size of a football. She can change her shape in a putty like fashion elongating or flattening somewhat when required. Her body can also exert forces such as lift, grasp and even small electrical charges after absorbing energy around her.
They’re a Dandy looking cyborg who has a much more serious and stoic nature than Wibble. Occasionally finding her antics a tad immature, Pplimz is certainly more serious. They may have begun as a living being who augmented themselves with cybernetic parts or a mechanical being with organic implants. They are capable of changing their appearance and form too, but can usually be found in a well made and well fitting suit.
As a KeyForge player and fan there was loads to love about the story. Some of the names featured were so appropriate to the game I just smiled. I may yet petition FFG (the maker of the game) to add them into it. We hear about creatures, locations and events that we know from the game which only adds to the experience. Plus these don’t feel shoehorned in either. They don’t detract from the book so a none-player isn’t going to feel lost or need that knowledge.
The story was very entertaining. Sometimes feeling like a comedic road trip / buddy movie. Sometimes feeling like a thrilling mystery where you’ll wonder what the next clue will be and where it will take us.
The book seemed pretty fast paced. Each new location or encounter usually revealed a new clue, creature or piece of the puzzle. I was never disinterested with the twists and turns and always felt like the story was actually moving onward toward a conclusion and not meandering nowhere.
It’s a tougher thing to find anything I didn’t like about it. I was happy with the conclusion. I enjoyed the journey. If I were to try and find a small complaint, I possibly would have wanted to know more about the leads. This is not an origin story; but in a world of unknowns and mysteries, I don’t suppose it would fit perfectly to know everything about our heroes either.
In short, a mysterious winding jaunt through a world of wonder, sure to keep you glued to the pages.
I’d give it 5/5
The Qubit Zirconium will be published by Aconyte on the following dates and is available for pre-order now!
Ebook: April 6, 2021
US paperback: April 6, 2021
UK paperback: May 13, 2021