Confidence Game: Not a page-turner

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMichelle M Welch Confidence Game book review Five CountriesConfidence Game by Michelle M. Welch

Confidence Game describes itself as two characters who are troubled by their history and are caught up in a situation that leads them together to confront their problems. The dual main characters of Elzith and Tod are both broken to a certain degree and the story revolves around their burgeoning relationship and the impending problems that they have to overcome.

Elzith is a orphan, raised to be a super competent spy for the Justices of Dabion, a ruling council of Magistrates. She is emotionally dead and struggling to find meaning in what she is doing beyond being the best at it. A mission gone awry leaves her unable to continue her work and forces her to forge a new life from what she used to be. She’s really an unsympathetic character and I really struggled to find a reason to like her.

Tod is the youngest son of a family of renowned tanners. He is extremely timid and has lived through a childhood of abusive older brothers and eventual problems with alcoholism. He’s also not an easy character to like because he is so weak. I pity him, but I don’t like him.

Michelle Welch has an interesting vision of a corrupt government that is based on laws that are subject to change by the very judges who are supposed to interpret them. Welch does a decent job of world-building, but the characters that she uses to tell the story are just not very exciting. She introduces magic and it runs a consistent theme in the story. The plots and intrigue which she tries to develop could have been really good, but there just seemed to be a missing element for the story. I finished it, but it was no page-turner.

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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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