Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 670
Dabeet's Gambit
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
A fresh new story the Ender’s Game universe—this smart military-esque sci-fi is appealing to longtime fans, without alienating new explorers.

With the Formic Wars behind them and exploration/colonization now at the forefront of humanity’s drive, Battle School has been converted into Fleet School—a softer, less competitive version of the child prodigy training environment from Ender Wiggin’s day. But there is still the looming concern that some of the Formics may have survived the extinction-aiming assault on their homeworld. And so, it’s become clear the best hope for humanity is to spread humankind out among the stars.

Children Of The Fleet is told largely from the POV of Dabeet Ochoa, a coolly rational child genius who longs to escape his mother’s overbearing love for him by making it into Fleet School. But despite his stellar test scores, his chances seem slim. Until his mother’s claims of his father being a member of the Fleet turns out to be more than wishful-thinking. But Dabeet quickly discovers that reality doesn’t quite fit his hopes, just as he finds himself caught up in the kidnapping and sabotage schemes of an unknown foe.

I spent most of this book unable to decide if I liked Dabeet or not.
He wasn’t awful… but wasn’t particularly endearing, either. He’s no Ender Wiggins, that much is plain. His disposition was a lot more cold, self-centered, and cowardly. (I’m all for characters having flaws and issues they need to grow through, but there were perhaps too few redeeming qualities here for my usual liking.) Although, I also didn’t agree with all the adults in this story who seemed to think Dabeet’s ego was unbearably obnoxious. Instead, I thought he came across as both a confident and over-cautious savant. (i.e. If he wasn’t immediately good at something, he abandoned investing his time and energy into it.)
It was almost as though he were on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. But rather than having a high Intelligence Quotient paired with low social intelligence, Dabeet had simply never put much effort into understanding the internal and emotional lives of others.

While there wasn’t too much by way of humor, I did laugh out loud over this little interaction:

“I’m not from your culture,” said Dabeet. “The flavor of kuso remains a mystery to me.”

"Kuso' means 'shit,'" said the boy.

"I knew what it meant," said Dabeet. You couldn't be in Fleet School for three days without getting a full vocabulary dump of all the offensive slang. "I just lacked your firsthand knowledge of how it tasted."

He gave the boy his best grin. The kind of grin, Dabeet realized, that several books he'd read described as "shit-eating." What a happy confluence of fecal references.
---------

To some extent, Dabeet is a protagonist who doesn’t know how to pro-tag. Things happen to him, and then he flounders around—afraid to make any definitive move. Most of the plot involves him coming to understand this fact. Fortunately, the chemistry between him and the outreaching characters of Zhang and Monkey brought a lot more flavor to the story arch. And fortunately for everyone, facilitated some much-needed development—starting with Zhang at about 1/3rd of the way in.

It took me most of the book, but I think I figured out why I wasn’t connecting as well with this story as I did with Ender's Game. It's not because of a lack of Ender (we actually had a guest appearance of him—er…auditory attendance?—and it didn't do anything for me). It's not even that I found Dabeet difficult to empathize with. It was the overall lack of emotion, both visceral and expressed. I felt as though I was watching passively instead of being invested. Almost as though an enriching layer was missing.

I truly liked the finale, however. The character growth was long in coming but refreshing to finally see. The resolution was both intriguing and satisfying. It answered most questions, while leaving a few open for future installments.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...
Merged
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seven of our country’s most gifted teens will become Nobels,...
Bury Me
 
0.0
 
4.7 (1)
No one ever leaves Copper Hollow. It's a town with...
Estranged #2: The Changeling King
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Enter a world of faerie magic and epic adventure in...
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The exciting follow-up to Mightier Than the Sword, the humorous...

Latest Member Reviews

Frankly in Love
 
4.7
"I love this book so much. I read it pretty much in one sitting because I couldn't put it down!..."
The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
"THE MONSTER HYPOTHESIS is a really fun middle grade investigative mystery. Kick is living with her grandmother, a fake psychic..."
Legacy Awakened
 
5.0
"Ava is the child of prophesy and all eyes are on her because she is the daughter of the Prime..."
Hushed
 
4.0
"Romy has just finished school and is torn because she isn't sure what she wants to do with her life...."
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
"WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is an intriguing historical fiction, based on a true story. The boys of Hirta are sent..."
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
"Ren and Kip aren't sure what to expect when they visit their Aunt for Halloween. She works at an Old..."
Stuffed
 
4.0
"STUFFED follows Clark and Foon. Clark is a boy who loves stuffed animals and feels that they keep him safe...."
Bury Me
 
4.7
"In horror books and movies, we often see dolls as the main source of scares( such as Annabelle or Child's..."
Golden Crown
 
4.3
"I have mixed feelings about this book. It follows the second book immediately and starts off with Etta struggling with..."
Juliet Takes a Breath
 
4.7
"Juliet Takes a Breath is a coming of age story about a Latina lesbian from the Bronx who travels to..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"i am from Italy hello. Can you help me translate? /rardor"
Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind
 
5.0
"This is a must read book that shows the lives of Japanese American children who ended up being taken from..."
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
"THE EDGE OF THE WORD is another absolutely delightful interactive story, where you are the main character in the book...."
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
"Kali is the hope of saving the world from vampires and demons. She’s a vampire huntress who also happens to..."
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
"THE GALACTIC ADVENTURES OF HAZEL - GURECOA takes place in the far future, where our planet is only vaguely recognizable...."
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
"BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER (THE GRAPHIC NOVEL) converts the YA novel by Marie Lu into graphic novel format. The plot remains the..."
Rat Rule 79: An Adventure (Yonder, #1)
 
5.0
"RAT RULE 79 is charming, ridiculous, and completely engaging. Fred is about to turn thirteen in a new place, as..."
Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot
 
4.0
"Jack and Annie get an invitation from "M" to spend Christmas in Camelot, which excites them since they haven't heard..."
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
4.0
"Marty Fontana and his mother move to a new town for her job, and have a house that belonged to..."