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Jokers Wild (Wild Cards, Book 3) [Paperback]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid stuff from Martin et al... April 20 2004
Format:Paperback
The third book in the "Wild Cards" series by George R.R. Martin (editor), this is a "shared world" series, where various authors get together and write in the same world. The world is one where an alien virus was dumped into the air shortly after WWII, and still randomly infects people nearly forty years later.

The virus - called the Wild Card for its very random results - proliferated in earth's atmosphere. First, nine in ten people who contract the Wild Card virus "draw the Queen of Spades," and die. Of the survivors, nine in ten people "draw a Joker," and end up hideously disfigured. Of the non-Joker survivors, some draw a "deuce," and get a power or ability that's pretty much useless ("I can change my hair colour at will!"), but many who survive as non-jokers "draw an Ace," and gain super-powers. The massively telekinetic Turtle, the projective teleporter Popinjay (who I really liked in this book), the any-lizard shapeshifter Kid Dinosaur - these are some of the Aces. They're solid, fun to read, and quite well drafted.

This story all takes place in one day, and the novel is very well sewn together (especially given the different tones and styles of the various authors) and has a very complicated and complex interwoven plot. Kudos to Martin for wrapping it up so well.

This forty years later is the anniversary and what is likely to be the largest "Wild Card Day" celebration ever - except one recurring villain is using this day to kill off all the Aces who bested him in the previous books... Who will survive?

As Martin is well known for in his "A Song of Fire and Ice" series - there are no holds barred in these books - heroes die. And horribly. Very solid stuff.

'Nathan
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5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise Feb. 2 2003
Format:Paperback
As a huge fan of Martin's SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, I too picked up some of his older work. The WILD CARDS series was a pleasant surprise. The series has an interesting concept, and good writers participating (esp Roger Zelazny, who's Sleeper-character stole my heart).
The WILD CARDS stories are all different, dealing with different times and storylines, but they are without failing interesting and original. Some of the stories had me secretly wiping away some tears (the Turtle, Golden Boy), others had me chuckling (the Sleeper)or reading with my heart in my throat (Fortunato).
In retrospect, the first two books were a setup for the grand happenings of Book 3, when all hell bursts loose on Wild Card Day. I loved the way the stories were weaved together in JOKERS WILD, where everything seemed to come together. It had a superb story/tension arc, and the characterization was without failing very well done.
I have only read the first three books so far, but I'm definitely keeping an eye out for other installments of this series.
I give the authors involved a big thumbs up for an original project like this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of GRRM need not apply Feb. 28 2002
Format:Paperback
My reason for writing this review is the others have missed the mark by a mile. They are all fans of George R.R. Martain's other more fantasy oriented work. This series is wildly removed from them. Of the entire line the 1st three are the absolute best. Only the 3rd book is realy one compleat story. The 1st 2 books are a collection of short stories. This simple fact seems to have escaped all the other reviewers. After words the series slowly degrades, as they all do, but there are still gems. It never gets bad just average at worst. If you are a fan of comic book heros and want to see a very well executed, realistic look at them this is the place to be. Now if they would just relase some new ones and get Allen Moore to write a story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Cards Rock!! Nov. 20 2002
Format:Paperback
The wild series is awesome (for the most part) a few of the book are [bad] but this one ROCKS!
In fact the first 8 books rock, and so does number 12, (and anything in between with Croyd Crenson aka "The Sleeper") but the other ones kind of drag on....as a rule avoid The one written by Snodgrass like the Plauge...no scrap that...avoid it like the Wild Card Virus...
But this book is 5 stars, and the different styles from the authors make for a unique read... plus some wicked Butt-kicking from Brennan never hurts...
Buy this series!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of GRRM need not apply Feb. 28 2002
By Dana W. Dodd Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My reason for writing this review is the others have missed the mark by a mile. They are all fans of George R.R. Martain's other more fantasy oriented work. This series is wildly removed from them. Of the entire line the 1st three are the absolute best. Only the 3rd book is realy one compleat story. The 1st 2 books are a collection of short stories. This simple fact seems to have escaped all the other reviewers. After words the series slowly degrades, as they all do, but there are still gems. It never gets bad just average at worst. If you are a fan of comic book heros and want to see a very well executed, realistic look at them this is the place to be. Now if they would just relase some new ones and get Allen Moore to write a story.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise Feb. 2 2003
By Lanfir Leah Marithsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a huge fan of Martin's SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, I too picked up some of his older work. The WILD CARDS series was a pleasant surprise. The series has an interesting concept, and good writers participating (esp Roger Zelazny, who's Sleeper-character stole my heart).
The WILD CARDS stories are all different, dealing with different times and storylines, but they are without failing interesting and original. Some of the stories had me secretly wiping away some tears (the Turtle, Golden Boy), others had me chuckling (the Sleeper)or reading with my heart in my throat (Fortunato).
In retrospect, the first two books were a setup for the grand happenings of Book 3, when all hell bursts loose on Wild Card Day. I loved the way the stories were weaved together in JOKERS WILD, where everything seemed to come together. It had a superb story/tension arc, and the characterization was without failing very well done.
I have only read the first three books so far, but I'm definitely keeping an eye out for other installments of this series.
I give the authors involved a big thumbs up for an original project like this!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different approach Nov. 13 2005
By mr sachmo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Last night I finished reading Joker's Wild, the third installment in the Wildcards series.

Joker's Wild reads a bit differently than the first two books of the series, in that instead of a collection of related short stories, this book reads like a regular novel. At the end of the book they have credits stating who wrote and invented what character, and each chapter is divided up into sections, so I'm guessing that each author wrote a "section" pertaining to one of their characters. It may be my untrained eye, or the fact that I was so into the subject matter, but I had a hard time telling the authors apart in this book. As I said, it read like a novel, but it was also quite a page turner, so I was swept up in the story most of the time, and perhaps not paying enough attention to the techniques of each particular section.

The plot centers around the Wild Card Day celebrations in New York City in 1986. I can't really get much deeper into it than that, because I don't want to add spoilers, but I really enjoyed the story. It spans a little more than 24 hours, but there is a ton of action and intrugue in that twenty-four hour span. As I said, I found myself swept up in the story many times, and can't really think of a part that I didn't enjoy.

All of the best known aces appear in this book, but we learn more about some of the jokers as well. I found myself watching the line between joker and ace blur in this book; for example, the character of Spector (aka Demise) is a big part of this book, but at times I could see how his power would be considered an ace power, but to others it would definately be seen as a joker. A deadly one, but still unwanted. Incedentally, I really like the character of Spector. He's very interesting and well written.

At times I found the focus on sex a bit much. Yes, I understand that Fortunato's tantric power relies on sexual energy, but we also have sexual murderers, sexual ice sculptures, old aces wanting to have sex with young aces, etc. I'm not a prude, but it was a bit much at times.

Other than that, this was a very satisfying addition to the Wildcards series. Now if I can just get my hands on the next book....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The series' first truly mosaic novel, and a pretty staggering editorial achievement Aug. 7 2012
By shawneofthedead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If Aces High (Wild Cards #2) presented Earth's fledging new aces and jokers with an external menace in the form of a giant alien Swarm, Jokers Wild drags the action back to this stratosphere and pins it very firmly to the ground. The threats faced by the protagonists in this novel are all painfully, recognisably human - whether or not these threats have been twisted into monsters by the wild card virus. Jokers Wild unequivocally makes clear that the potential for great evil and corruption exists in anyone, and sometimes that malevolence is enhanced out of all proportion - whether by masses of ill-gotten gains, or through a spectacular range of psychic powers bequeathed by the Takisian virus.

The novel is made up of several strands of stories woven together into a surprisingly coherent whole - many different characters set out to accomplish many different goals (some to escape/destroy the villainous Astronomer from the previous novel, others to work their way through the tangled web of conspiracy and corruption that surrounds uber-criminal mastermind Kien). The ghostly Wraith starts the ball rolling by stealing some extremely valuable notebooks, but eventually the paths of all the characters cross as they hunt or are hunted by the Astronomer. Characters earlier introduced all return, like Bagabond and Jack, Fortunato, Tachyon and Hiram Worchester, the deceptively portly proprietor of Aces High.

If that sounds like a rather vague description, it's because there really isn't much point to my attempting to summarise each character's storyline - there are probably at least eight major character perspectives contained within this mosaic novel, all of which interweave with one another as the action, stakes and power balance shift across Manhattan and among players. All of this mayhem unspools over a period of just twenty-four hours - in fact, over the fortieth Wild Card Day anniversary - so, as you can imagine, the pace of the narrative is fairly brisk.

Jokers Wild is a true testament to Mr Martin's talents as an editor - the first two novels comprised individual stories written by various authors, compiled more or less chronologically, with connecting material created (as necessary) by Martin himself. With this novel, he artfully slices up the various stories written by his stable of collaborators and skilfully weaves these threads into an unexpectedly smooth narrative that flows and ebbs with its own dramatic pace and style.

If the climax seems a little too pat and disproportionate to the build-up throughout the entire book, there's still much to enjoy in Jokers Wild - mostly in getting the chance to delve deeper into the lives and minds of some of these wonderfully complex characters. The insights provided into Demise's power and motivations are both gruesome and intriguing, and it's great fun to learn more about Aces High, its traditions and clientele from the very proper Mr Worchester.

If you still feel this review is rather vague, I'm afraid I can't help you there for fear of spoilers - but rest assured that Jokers Wild is a good, punchy, FUN addition to the series that rewards fans without being too confusing for newcomers.
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid stuff from Martin et al... April 20 2004
By Jonathan Burgoine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The third book in the "Wild Cards" series by George R.R. Martin (editor), this is a "shared world" series, where various authors get together and write in the same world. The world is one where an alien virus was dumped into the air shortly after WWII, and still randomly infects people nearly forty years later.

The virus - called the Wild Card for its very random results - proliferated in earth's atmosphere. First, nine in ten people who contract the Wild Card virus "draw the Queen of Spades," and die. Of the survivors, nine in ten people "draw a Joker," and end up hideously disfigured. Of the non-Joker survivors, some draw a "deuce," and get a power or ability that's pretty much useless ("I can change my hair colour at will!"), but many who survive as non-jokers "draw an Ace," and gain super-powers. The massively telekinetic Turtle, the projective teleporter Popinjay (who I really liked in this book), the any-lizard shapeshifter Kid Dinosaur - these are some of the Aces. They're solid, fun to read, and quite well drafted.

This story all takes place in one day, and the novel is very well sewn together (especially given the different tones and styles of the various authors) and has a very complicated and complex interwoven plot. Kudos to Martin for wrapping it up so well.

This forty years later is the anniversary and what is likely to be the largest "Wild Card Day" celebration ever - except one recurring villain is using this day to kill off all the Aces who bested him in the previous books... Who will survive?

As Martin is well known for in his "A Song of Fire and Ice" series - there are no holds barred in these books - heroes die. And horribly. Very solid stuff.

'Nathan
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