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Busted Flush (Wild Cards #19)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  636 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived to mutate into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R. R. Ma ...more
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published (first published 2008)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Unlike the recent semi-rash of novels featuring super-heroes (or more than humans if you depending on the genre) Wild Cards has been around since 1986. Whereas the books originally began as a series of short collections they gradually became what are called mosaic novels. Multiple authors stringing together their respective characters to create a single story.

This installment comes no more than a year after the previous Inside Straight. The UN is using their collection of Aces (look normal but
Goodreads tells me that I first read Busted Flush nearly six years ago. I was not impressed at that time and my previous rating reflected that. I got curious to read the Committee trilogy now that I have experienced some more of the Wild Cards universe, and on the second time through, I liked it much better. Perhaps, already aware of the flaws, they bothered me less, or perhaps I was more able to see things that were good with a different perspective.

As far as what I didn't like, well, generally
Beth Bernier Pratt
It would seem that even as an editor, George R.R. Martin is extremely enamored of the idea of having different chapters deal with different characters/plotlines, and has an unerring sense of when one character or plotline has really caught your interest, which means it's immediately time to switch to a character/plotline you just don't care about at all. Other than the mild frustration with that particular structure, this was an enjoyable read. I have not read any of the previous books in the se ...more
this is a round-robin novel, the individual authors build on an and connect to the previous authors stories. i read the pieces by carrie vaughn and melinda m. snodgrass and skimmed the rest, not the best way to do it. the plot has some similarities to a big-event series marvel comics did a few years ago.
the prude in me doesn't like all the swearing, would probably have given up on the book if not for vaughn's stories. some of the characters are clever and original, snodgrass's for example.
Alex Sarll
You know how world leaders nowadays always look so aged by the years in power? This is a book about that. Inside Straight was almost too pat in showing extraordinary people rejecting hollow celebrity to save lives; its sequel is the payoff, reminding us where good intentions lead. Everyone here is tired, not just the heroes but the agents of the status quo ranged against them, and most of all the triple agent playing both sides against each other. Who is also the book's biggest flaw because, for ...more
I really liked the Wild Cards series as a teenager and still have a soft spot for it. The X-Men-esque superpowers combined with alternate universe history really appealed to me. Unfortunately, back then my local library didn’t have very many of the books in the series. Then recently I found a library with several I haven’t read, although I have skipped quite a few. That is a shame, really, as ‘Busted Flush’ is 19th in the series and references many characters and events that I hadn’t previously ...more
Paul Stotts
“Let me get this straight,” Tom said. “You cause nuclear explosions?”
“Yes! Haven’t you been listening? When I get real scared I fucking blow up. Are you some kind of tard?” The spasm of anger passed and his eyes gushed tears again. “I wish I was dead. I’m too dangerous to be around!” – “Busted Flush”

There is an undeniable meta-fictional aspect to a science fiction novel that is written by a talented group of writers which is centered on a team of superheroes. Teamwork is essential in both cases
This is only my second Wild Cards book, starting with Inside Straight and Busted Flush..Not because i don't want to read the others, but my library sucks. These are the only two titles available. I loved Inside Straight, and i do have some background knowledge of the series, so i know what it's about and it's evolution through the decades..I really enjoyed Inside Straight..But, this is about Busted Flush. I'm not big into writing what the book was about, because clearly the info shares that..Wit ...more
Stephen Worman
Mar 23, 2010 Stephen Worman rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
The mosaic approach worked for the first novel in the re-launched series, largely because I was unfamiliar with the world. It offered me a good look at the characters in their different circumstances and how each viewed their powers, and themselves in relation to the rest of the cast. Its flaws, mainly its disjointedness, came from its approach but the story covered well enough for that shortcoming.

Here, Martin continues with the mosaic motif, but for no good reason. He's trying to tell a larger
Stephen Bates
I loved the first series of Wild Cards books, a series of anthology/mosaic books edited by George R.R. Martin and published in the late 80s and early 90s. Being a big fan of superheroes, the idea of dark tales about people who gain powers (Aces), or bizarre disfigurements (Jokers), due to an alien virus released in Earth's atmosphere sounded brilliant. And it was. The Wild Card series is probably in my top five series of books.

However, this new series - and especially Busted Flush, the second in

Busted Flush is the nineteenth book in the Wild Cards continuum and the second book of the Committee Triad. The story basically picks up where the opening book of the triad, Inside Straight, left off. The recently formed Committee, a team of superpowered aces enlisted under the auspices of the United Nations Secretariat, is flush with success and new recruits after a series of peacekeeping and disaster relief missions. Unfortunately for them, there is no r
Nov 27, 2010 Alan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Completists
Recommended to Alan by: A venerable corpus
I picked up this particular installment of the venerable Wild Cards shared-world anthology series only after I'd already read its successor, Suicide Kings.

That turns out to have been a mistake, as it made this book seem unnecessary. Everything here became a drawn-out setup for the events in Suicide Kings--there didn't seem to be any major plot arcs resolved, and Suicide Kings handled the updates deftly enough in backstory that I almost felt I'd read this book before.

Busted Flush isn't a bad book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Norman Cook
This volume in the Wild Cards series seemed more disjointed than usual. Teams of aces were scattered in Africa, New Orleans, and other locations, with some of them zipping back and forth in a way that made it hard to keep track of who was where and who was working with/for whom.

I also had a difficult time remembering who some of the aces were, because sometimes they would use their regular names and sometimes they would use their ace codenames, and in at least one case, a shapeshifter would use
I guess this novel shows the limits of the Wild Cards approach. This book is graced with some very good writing, a number of good action scenes and a fair number of interesting ideas, superpowers and characters. The plot is all over the place however. The Wild Cards collective has failed to make this book into one novel. For the real Wild Cards fan there is still plenty to enjoy compared to the previous entry it isn't a very strong book. Maybe it suffers from the middle book syndrome a bit? Perh ...more
I found that I enjoyed this more than the previous book in the new series: Inside Straight and I think a big part of it was that time wasn't wasted introducing the readers to a collection of complex characters. We saw them in action with with a situation often out of their control as they struggled to deal with them.

It was an interesting story, but it left me feeling wanting more. It was lacking. The greater story begun in the first book in the new series was expanded, but there weren't many nea
Gunner McGrath
I won this from Goodreads but didn't realize when I requested it that it was book 19 in a series. I really tried to give it a shot anyway but I just couldn't get into it. Since I don't know whether that was because the writing was bad or because I jumped in in the middle, I won't give it a star rating. Maybe it didn't help that the existing reviews of the book were less than stellar, and so I didn't have high expectations for it to get better. Maybe it was because the very first couple character ...more
Kind of an X-men ripoff, but to be a member of this club you gotta be young, and preferably rich, and in general it's advisable that you look like you stepped off the pages of ELLE/Cosmo. Chubbies need not apply.
Niobe, one of the very few truly unpretty characters is pretty much the only one I could connect with, the only one who seemed to go through a real struggle and make real sacrifices, not just mope around, feeling sorry for herself.

Despite all those flaws the book is a page turner, one
Mark Webb
A couple of comments on my website in my monthly "books I've read" summary.
Coming from an old-timey reader of the Wild Cards series, I like the direction that the newer books have taken. The more you stick with a real-world sort of time frame, the less you can talk about the same old characters decade after decade. Although honestly I liked that Billy Ray showed up. What a jerk.
Snow Wolf
Having not read any of the Wild Cards series (19? Seriously?) I didn't know what I was getting myself into. However, I got this book free for attending a con and since it's SciFi, I decided to try it out. I was rather impressed with it because it juggled a number of characters and plot gracefully, imho, due to the mosaic aspect of the book. The emotions evoked from reading it ranged the gamut of happy, sad (nearly to the point of tears), jovial (laughing on the bus gets questioning looks), and p ...more
Chuck Childers
_Busted Flush_ is set in a shared universe in which the Wild Card virus spawned generations of super-powered aces (and deformed jokers). Like many "braided" novels with multiple authors, _Busted Flush_ is wildly uneven, despite the guiding hand of George R.R. Martin. However, the Wild Cards universe is still a fun place to visit. It's a good idea to read _Inside Straight_ (Wild Cards #18) before reading _Busted Flush_, and some of the larger storylines will be concluded in the next Wild Cards bo ...more
Greg Zafiris
Long break due to attempt at book about Iran hostage crisis and re-read of The Watchmen after seeing first 30 mins of crappy Watchmen movie; Busted Flush was good, though not as good as Inside Straight (not as original); also, little too much focus on characters that I did not really like (Drummer Boy, who has the least interesting power of all); but action at the end was good, and I liked the idea of the boy who is a nuclear bomb; too much sex in it, and a little too graphic for my taste.
Nan Silvernail
In a world filled with Aces and Jokers what power could the old specter of nuclear war and The Bomb hold? What if that power is suddenly wielded by one very scared and young boy? The government and SCARE are wild to contain the shock wave that lashed out and will shake and change many Wild Carders lives, however far-flung they may be - in Arabia, New Orleans and Nigeria. All this, plus a shocking glimpse of an old Ace wearing very new clothes. Oh, and did I mention Zombies?
Samuel Lubell
This is a very strong entry in the Wildcard series and really holds together as a mosaic novel. Unlike many of the books from #8 on, the focus here is on the Wildcards as heroes, flawed human heroes yes, but still trying to do the right thing. There is also the change in the Radical into someone so blinded by the view of what is necessary in the long term that he doesn't recognize that he has become a villain. This is a fun take on superheroes.
This book was tremendously difficult for me to get through in the beginning. It picked up some about three quarters of the way through, but the plots didn't capture me too well, and I didn't like where some of the plots ended. This bordered between a one-star and a two-star for me, and since I ended up not hating it, I figured the two-star would be better. It was definitely on the lower end of "okay" though.
The sequel to Inside Straight picks up the story a couple of months down the road. Many of the fantastic characters from the first book return and there is a closer look at some of them, particularly Noel. New characters are introduced. The storyline is fantastic. I cannot exaggerate how much I have enjoyed this series. I highly recommend it to sci-fi fans and fans of super hero novels and movies.
I've read a few of these Wild Card novels and quite enjoy them. I wouldn't have expected to like something written by several authors, but I actually think it adds to the characterisation, no-one is left as an undeveloped minor character, because each one is one of the author's 'babies'. I hadn't realised that I'd read them out of order, but it didn't seem to matter too much.
Steven Pompe
It's probably not fair of me to rate this book. It was my first encounter with this series but I had read somewhere that each book could be read in isolation. Also, I didn't actually get too far into it before pulling the pin. It just didn't grip me enough.
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George R. R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,
More about George R.R. Martin...

Other Books in the Series

Wild Cards (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)
  • Aces High (Wild Cards, #2)
  • Jokers Wild (Wild Cards, #3)
  • Aces Abroad (Wild Cards, #4)
  • Down and Dirty (Wild Cards, #5)
  • Ace in the Hole (Wild Cards, #6)
  • Dead Man's Hand (Wild Cards, #7)
  • One-Eyed Jacks (Wild Cards, #8)
  • Jokertown Shuffle (Wild Cards, #9)
  • Double Solitaire (Wild Cards, #10)
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4) A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

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