Thursday, January 22, 2009

Excavation by James Rollins

Wow. So, there isn't much I can say about this book that won't give too much away.

In Peru a temple of the Incas is uncovered by a professor and some students. A mummy is found as is a sealed door. Craziness ensues. There are psycho-priests, albino monsters, giant spiders, twisting caves, and lots of mayhem. I did enjoy this book. It was a good read and I'd recommend it to others. That being said, it was not my favorite of Rollins' books. In fact, so far it's my least favorite. I mean, there has to be a least favorite, right?

As usual, the characters were well developed (Norman is my favorite), the scenes vivid, the history fascinating, and the pace wonderful.

To my knowledge this leaves two already-published James Rollins novels left for me to read. Good thing he's supposedly coming out with three more this year!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Last Oracle by James Rollins

I've been fighting to finish this book for days. This was not due to it being boring or slow, but rather because having two sick children seems to cut into one's reading time. The Last Oracle was amazing. If you are already a fan of Rollins' Sigma Force books, this one will not disappoint.

What I can tell you of the book without giving too much away: Take the Oracle of Delphi, a secret Romani clan, post WWII Russian scientists with an evil goal, modern radioactivity, autistic children, and a plot to take over the world. Mix them all together, throw in the folks at Sigma and a few civilians. And voila! You have a book that you'll not want to put down.

I have nothing but good things to say about this book. The characters are well developed and interesting, the plot twists enough to keep you guessing. James Rollins is, hands down, one of my absolutely favorite authors. It's truly frightening to think that most of the elements used by Rollins in his books are factual. The crazy-scary things governments have done and condoned. The almost sci-fi weaponry.

If you like what I call History-Mysteries - think Steve Berry and Raymond Khoury (and in my sister's opinion, Clive Cussler) - you'll love Rollins' Sigma Force novels.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

I won this book from a contest on Jenn's Bookshelf late last year. The basic outline of this book is that the major Olympian deities are living together in a ramshackle house in present-day London. Their powers are waning, they're sick to death of each other, and some of them just don't know the meaning of the word restraint. Through a series of petty revenge-inspired incidents, two mortals Neil and Alice become entangled in the squabbles of the gods and are inadvertently responsible for the fate of the world (not to mention the continued existence of the gods). There isn't much else I can say about the story itself without creating major spoilers.

The tone of this book was very light and comedic. I found the story itself compelling and didn't want to put it down unless I had to. In some instances, though, the reader's disbelief must be suspended a great deal. I found it hard to believe that none of the mortals caught on to the coincidence of a houseful of strange people all named for Greek gods. A scene near the middling-end really bothered me. If you are familiar with the Harry Potter books, you'll probably read it and groan as well (though my husband thinks it may be more commonly used than I think).

In the end, I'm very glad I read this book. It was a fun diversion from the norm and I would recommend it in a heartbeat. People who read and enjoyed American Gods or Good Omens would probably also like this book.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sahara by Clive Cussler

I picked this book up quite a while ago. I'm not sure why. Maybe I recognized it from the movie, maybe on my sister's recommendation (she's addicted to Cussler's books), maybe due to the vague reference to Egypt. Who knows.

The premise of the story is that there is a strange plague-like disease spreading across the Sahara while at the same time a strange red tide is being aggravated by an unknown pollutant in the Niger River. A team of World Health Organization scientists are researching the plague while NUMA is tracking the contaminants. All of this collides with a deranged military leader and an evil French businessman and leads to a downed plane from the 1930's and a Confederate ironclad - both lost in the Sahara. It's a race to save the planet's inhabitants against impossible odds.

It took me over a month to read this book. This is almost unprecedented. I just couldn't get into the story. To me it felt like it was just dragging along. The details seemed excessive to the point of banality. I'm all for description, but I truly do not need trivial details about the danish ordered in a diner. At times the dialog seemed incredibly dry as well.

Having said all that, about two-thirds into the book I found myself really wanting to know what would happen next. Overall, it wasn't a bad book and I'll definitely give his other work a try before I write him off entirely.