Book Review of Death Game: Stargate Atlantis: Sga-15

Death Game: Stargate Atlantis: Sga-15
Death Game: Stargate Atlantis: Sga-15
Author: Jo Graham
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 108 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

The novel is well written, but lacking the wit and humor inherent in the series. I would probably have liked this story fine if it weren't an SGA story. The characterization just didn't ring true. Not only is the pace of the story too slow for SGA, but the characters tell each other stories of their lives to pass the time and these stories don't have the right character voice. This is particularly glaring in characters like Sheppard and Ronon who are hardly verbose characters, and here they are in an adventure that is supposed to be set in the second season (ie when Ronon is still new to the team and still mostly grunting to communicate), not only telling unlikely listeners their personal stories but in a style that does not emulate the speaking or inner voice of the characters we grew to love in the series. Canonically Sheppard has difficulty expressing his emotions or talking about his past and that makes him all the more endearing and lovable. It also makes the unveiling of his past all the more worthwhile because it comes to us reluctantly and hard-earned. Instead, in this book it's just told to us and in a manner more befitting a tale about mythology or ancient legend.

I guess I miss dialogue, the banter and quick back and forth between the Team in which little is said but much is demonstrated. I was dismayed that Rodney was portrayed so seriously. He's a genius yes, but part of the fun in his character is how dismal he is with interpersonal skills and how endearing that can be also. I don't want him to be a clown but I want him to still retain that quirkiness, that mixture of arrogance and vulnerability so expertly conveyed by the actor who played him. It was the little personal touches that seemed to be missing in this book, that made the characters feel interchangeable and flat.

There are also backstories that don't make sense in light of how we know the series ended. This would be fine if the book was written around season 2 before we knew as much about the characters, but this book had to have been written after the show ended (judging from the the copyright date and the fact that previous books included details not mentioned until the fourth or fifth season) so there is no excuse for rewriting show canon.

Like I said, its a well written story but it isn't about Stargate Atlantis in my mind. I've only read one other SGA novel and it was Reliquary by Martha Wells. Unfortunately it is difficult to get a hold of but it has just the right balance of character, humor, and action to satisfy this picky fan. I would recommend picking it up and leaving Death Game alone.