Book Review: SODA POP SOLDIER by Nick Cole

Soda Pop SoldierSoda Pop Soldier by Nick Cole

Very entertaining adventure through the life of a future gamer who faces extreme odds of survival in game and out. Our gamer, PerfectQuestion, is the leader of a ColaCorp professional first person shooter team who is losing game after game to a big time team in WonderSoft. The cost per loss are major advertising slots for WonderSoft and if his team keeps losing he’ll be out of a job. The story starts out with some pretty cool Call of Duty type action, mixed in with Question’s rocky relationship with his girlfriend and a need to make money for rent. We get pieces of the world that really make the setting one I wanted to explore, and lucky for the reader, you will. I wonder how much more in future books as there are plenty of stones unturned.

In a desperate attempt to make the last half of rent, Question buys an illegal entry into a role playing game called The Black. Imagine a World of Warcraft type game that has a seedy underbelly for all kinds of sick people to work out their fantasies. Question is a mostly morally upright guy, so he hopes for The Light, but I think it’s safe to say this book isn’t going to make anything easy on him.

Without spoiling anything, Question goes from chasing rent money to fighting for his life at high speeds and from a very powerful enemy. Cole displayed a strong talent in making each chapter up the ante on excitement and engagement with his world and characters. I felt for him as his relationship hit rockbottom, then rooted for him to make the right choices in game and out. Cole explores life in the future when society in Question’s city is separated from high rises and slums below and what Question will do when given the opportunity to live in the high rises.

I think this story will really entertain gamers, but even just people who like military and role playing strategy with a hint of future technology to day dream about what could be. There were some parts where I wished the games were virtual reality so that he could actually feel what was happening, and then I was surprised by parts that did. Nice touch. And then we reached the climax and the out of game threat blended with the in game threat to an incredible breath taking chapter. Question makes and loses some friends and I hope to get another book with him so that we can explore relationships and himself on a deeper level. This isn’t exactly that kind of series, though. Question is not the kind of guy to go too deep into his relationship problems, and so neither did the story. Most of the focus was on action and gamer scenarios. While I enjoyed those, I guess I wanted more character relationship conflict. Regardless, great story by a very talented writer in Nick Cole. Highly recommended.

*Listen to our podcast with Nick about Soda Pop Soldier this Thursday.

*My story, Scavenger, is free on Kindle today thru Wednesday. Click the cover below to get yours.
Timothy C. Ward
Executive Producer

ScavengerTimothy C. Ward has been podcasting since 2010, first as AudioTim, and now with AISFP. His newest story, Scavenger: A Sand Diver Tale, is available on Kindle for $.99. His novel in progress, Order After Dark, is a Post-apocalyptic Fantasy set in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for AISFP. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America's buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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