Sunday, April 25, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils by Rob MacGregor

I first heard about this book when reading The Lost City of Z. It was what inspired me to search this title out. Had it not been for my oldest son, I would have bought this one from the garage sale and left the rest. Boy am I glad I didn't. This particular Indy book was so very disappointing.

Indy and Deirdre set off to the Amazon to find Colonel P.H. Fawcett and perhaps prove that the ancient Druids established a tribe in South America. Sounds good, right? It could have been. It really could have. One of the great things about the Indiana Jones movies was that an element of mysticism was always present - but not over done. That is, until they brought the aliens into it. But you don't want me to go there.

In this book they took the fantastical and blew it so far out of proportion that my disbelief could not be suspended any more. Fawcett was also less than realistic. Perhaps if I hadn't recently read a book about him it wouldn't have bothered me so much. He just wasn't true to type. In some instances he was convincing. In others, he was this completely different person.

Here's hoping the next book is better.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants by Rob MacGregor

My seven-year-old and I found this (and all the other Indy books I own) at a garage sale. We're both big fans of the movies and thought it would be fun to read the prequels, too.

This book was everything I thought it would be. I was looking for a quick read with some action and very little need for active thought on my part. It delivered on all these fronts. I suspect that none of these books will live up to the movies, but it's unrealistic to expect them to.

Indiana Jones has his first teaching job at the University of London. There he falls for his boss's daughter, accompanies his boss (and her daughter) on a dig, is repeatedly attacked, captured by crazy druids, and (of course) saves the day. Oh. And he gets the girl - for the most part.

It was fun. It was quick. It wasn't too much for my very pregnant brain to deal with. In those regards, it was perfect. I have some issues with the way Indy is portrayed. But he is supposed to be younger in the books - so it's probably me with the problem, not the writing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Sand Dragon by Michael F. Stewart

This newest novel by Michael Stewart brings a fresh, new (to me, at any rate) angle to the popular dragons and vampires. An uncovered skeleton, presumed to be a dinosaur, sparks a series of traumatic events in a small town. Madness, disease, and terror run rampant as townsfolk are "infected" by an unknown malady. A small group of people remain to save the day, and perhaps the world.

I found the beginning of this book a little jumpy. I often felt like I was missing paragraphs here and there, if not whole pages. Scenes would spontaneously switch and I'd spend a few minutes backtracking, trying to figure it out. At first, I also found the mining lingo confusing - having no prior knowledge of it at all. But that was easily overcome as the story picked up. The characters were real and believable - a rarity in horror novels for me. Kim seems to be the main character throughout the book and I really started to feel attached to her. Jaime was another favorite. His trasformation - both literally and figuratively - was amazing to witness. His fiance, Alice, irked me in many ways but I rather think she was supposed to.

The mythos and legends in this book were lots of fun. They reminded me of the brilliant blending of belief systems in Stewart's previous book 24 Bones. I've read a lot of vampire novels, and this one was definitely unique. The concept of their creation and purpose as well as their evolution was just amazing. The dragons, as well, were taken portayed in a way I've never encountered before.

If you're looking for a new take on some old favorites, I highly recommend this book. It's quick to read, action packed, and ever-so-slightly spooky. I think I'll be haunted by thoughts of the power generator at Kim's mother's house for many days to come.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Fall of The Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman

Having read the other two books set in this world, I simply couldn't resist this one. Of course, I did somehow manage to put off reading it for a couple years. That's what happens when your "to be read shelf" becomes a "to be read bookcase" instead.

I cannot summarize this story for you. It's simply too complicated. Suffice it to say that it is a story about magic, love, madness, treason, and family. The characters are amazing - as expected. The plot was thrilling and kept me interested even when I wasn't reading. It had such amazing potential. And then, the ending came. It was so disappointing. It felt like the authors got bored and just ended the book as quickly as they could. Essentially, someone swooped in and saved the day. It was just.. so disappointing.

Even with that complaint, I'd still recommend the book to anyone who ejoyed the others.

And I realize this review is less than stellar. But as hugely pregnant as I am (and with my two little monsters at home, to boot), it's the best I could do.