Fantasy,  YA

Destiny’s Gambit (The Voyages of Jake Flynn #1) by R.J. Wood



Published: January 24th 2015


Read Date: March 24th 2018

Category: Middle Grade/ Young Adult / Science-fiction / Fantasy / Steampunk

Pages: 224

Stars: 4.5/5

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Goodreads blurb_edited

Jake Flynn’s parents disappeared when he was a baby. On his twelfth birthday, the mystery of why his parents disappeared begins to unravel when he discovers a glowing talisman with a message from his father.

Jake is directed to a derelict sailboat in a field. He watches in awe as the talisman knits ropes and sails for it out of golden energy. Awash in light, the boat sails up into space, and the voyages of Jake Flynn begin.

During the quest to find his parents, Jake encounters space pirates in tall sailing ships, channelers that can wield energy like magic, and evil cabalists led by a sinister snake-woman. Assisted by a young healer and her aged protector, a spirited cabin girl, and a salty space captain, Jake learns that he too can channel, and that he is central to stopping the cabalists from resurrecting a long-dead evil.

Puzzles, a pirate asteroid, walking the plank, fantastic magic, traps, treasure caves, multiple planets and great ship battles – Jake must experience them all on this epic sword and space adventure.

By the end, Jake will discover the truth about his destiny, realize that family can transcend blood lines, and understand that his own needs are sometimes less important than those of others.


Destiny’s Gambit is science-fiction fantasy steampunk novel that take place in outer space. It’s a story about 12-year-old Jake who was searching for answers about his parents who disappeared when he was too young. The story is about good vs bad, friendship, growing up and taking responsibility, accepting destiny and never giving up hope. This book adventurous involving Magis, pirates, ship battles and puzzles set by Jake’s parents and lot of space surfing.


Jake Flynn had fascination for ships and loved everything about them and so was a great captain when he sailed on the voyage of finding his parents. He never came to terms with his parents disappearance, he had lot of questions about them but no answers from his grandma or uncle. When he received a mysterious signal and then locket with a message from his father he left to find them to unknown world occupied by pirates and different species. I liked the way his turmoil was showed in the book with all emotions. His fears, courage and conscience was presented realistically. I liked his gradual development and the way he took decision and accepted fate.

Starla– I liked this calm nonviolence natured life Magi. Her wisdom in the book were inspiring for both characters and readers of the book. She was very supportive to Jake and I liked the way she handled tantrums of Jehn.

Jehn had seen lot worse in slavery of pirates. She was short tempered and had some problems with Starla. She was smart and had a good survival instinct.

Otto, the old Magi and captain Goldbar both were good fighter and likable characters.

What I liked_edited

World, planets, and descriptions of the places was unique, detailed, and structured creatively with all logics and justifications that a middle grade/young adult readers can easily understand. The voyage, floating of ship, magic and powers, looks of different species were imaginative. The book gave the feeling of Chronicles of Narnia. This was just the first book of the series so there was sufficient overview of the world and I have feeling as the series will progress there will be more to know about this world.

Book was third person narrative. I liked the view point of main character and voice of all other characters, they acted according their age and role which made characters reasonable. They all had their story. Oh I wish there was more mention of Jack’s grandma, she was wonderful lady.

There was right amount of suspense, adventure, and thrill with many unpredictable twists and turns. Most of the time I couldn’t guess characters’ next step. I specifically loved the explanation of characters’ power, their skills and magic in the book.

Climax was full of riddles, exploration, revelations and tense gripping battles. End was great with new friends, responsibility, and purpose; with development of characters and cliffhanger. I wonder what the mystery of Jack’s parents and powers was, where his ship will head next, and what kind of enemies are waiting out there in his next voyage. I would love to continue this series.

why not 5 stars_edited

Can’t exactly point out any negativity in book but it felt like there was something missing or I wanted something more. As it is first book in the series and I have many questions regarding world and mystery so I’m holding back the full rating for next books of the series.


Overall, Destiny’s Gambit was fast paced, enjoyable adventurous sci-fi with creative world and smooth writing that all young reader would love to explore.

You can find Destiny’s Gambit on Goodreads

You can buy Destiny’s Gambit here:
– Amazon
– Barnes & Noble
– Kobo
– Smashwords

R.J. WoodAbout the Author:

R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing.

Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building.

You can find and contact R.J. Wood here:
– Website
– Facebook
– Twitter
– Goodreads
– Amazon
– Instagram

*** Note: I received review copy of this book as a part of blitz tour organized by  Lola’s Blog Tours. Many thanks to author and Lola for giving me a chance to read the book. ***

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Have you read something similar to this before? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.


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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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