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Richelle Mead

All I ever seem to do on this blog is apologise for the delay in writing a new post but as it is has been the festive period I won’t this time. Christmas and New Year are the busiest time to be working in any form of customer service and working in a nightclub just adds to this. So yes, I have been busy working and studying (*cough* relaxing *cough*).

So as the perceptive of you would have noticed, there is no book title above. Just “Richelle Mead”. No I haven’t forgotten to put one up there, I just don’t see the need to with Mead. So far I have read 20/23 of her books and I cannot give any a lesser mark than the other. If you have read my Vampire Academy review, you can see how much I gushed over that and the following series’ have been the same. You may be wondering why I haven’t just written about an author before but the answer is simple. Richelle Mead is the first author since Enid Blyton that I can honestly say I will read any of their work. I kid you not. I love Rizzoli and Isles but haven’t read any of Gerritsen’s others; Harry Potter is one of the greatest series’ ever written but I am not enthralled by Rowling’s other narratives; I could perhaps say they same thing about Stephanie Mayer later if she writes any more but only due to my love of The HostTwilight never really putting itself into the ‘must read every year’ category on my shelves.  From this we can surmise that I love characters. I will follow them to the ends of the earth and back. Their relationships, quests and challenges enthral and amuse but I often find authors to be disappointing in other areas. Take Garci and Stohl from Beautiful CreaturesTogether they have created these characters and world that mesmerises and amazes, yet separately and on separate stories, I found them uninteresting.

Back to Mead. It started with Vampire Academy which lead onto the spin off series of Bloodlines. From there I decided to give the Georgina Kincaid series a go and then The Age of X and now, finally, The Dark Swan series. I am literally devouring every one of her novels as quickly as she can produce them and have even accepted the £5+ charge for the e-book editions (something I usual avoid doing – you don’t get the physical book so why pay more than £3?) Every single one has had a developed plot line, interesting main AND support characters and twists that are sometimes completely out of the blue (I’m looking at you Dimitri from VA!) The first two mentioned are YA books but this doesn’t take away from a developed Adult writer. All Mead did was tone down the sex scenes (which are quite detailed in some of the books – when you write about a succubus who feeds off of sex that tends to happen) and take out the swear words. The essence of Mead’s work stays the same, excellent dialogue and believable stories.

In conclusion; if you are struggling for a book to read, a friend to buy for or just want to explore a new author give Richelle Mead a go. Every one of her books are easily a 10/10. Trust me, you wont be disappointed!

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy, YA

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Sorry (again) for the delay in a post! So much has happened it is untrue! Little bit of personal news. I am now a student again! A masters in publishing is in my near future and I am ecstatic that I am hopefully on my career path. So ye. That’s it for me :).

Back to what this blog is for… Reviewing. As you maybe able to tell, young adult and vampire books are my little book secret. So when I watched Vampire Academy and found it was based on a book I was very happy. The film was so-so. The storyline seemed ok but the acting was very poor. It made me want to check out the books anyway. I downloaded the kindle version and can easily say this series is far superior to the film!

Plot

Vampire Academy is split into 6 books. We start of meeting Lissa and Rose, a vampire and dhampir. Lissa isn’t like the vamps we see in other books. She can stand a little sun, is not evil and has magic. Usually vamps can influence the 4 elements; water, air, earth and fire. They all have aspects of each in their magic but tend to specialise when they get older in just one field. Sometimes a vampire doesn’t specialise but those are rare cases. Lissa is part of the Moroi bread of vampire. Another strand is a Strigoi and they are the vampires humans have in their horror books and films. These have red ringed eyes, intolerance to the sun, drink blood until they have killed the supplier and are wickedly strong. They also find Moroi blood especially delicious and that is where dhampirs come into the picture. Originally, they were a result of Moroi and humans mating. This union later ceased to exist but it was discovered dhampirs cannot reproduce with their own kind. They rely on the Moroi to keep their race alive, meaning it falls to them to protect their only chance of survival so became Guardians to the Moroi. With these skill sets, schools/academies are set up to teach Moroi how to to control their magic and dhampir to protect Moroi. Rose and Lissa are at such a school. Unusual for this world they also share a bond. Rose can hear Lissa’s thoughts and sometimes put herself into Lissa’s head to see, feel and hear everything she can.

We meet Rose and Lissa outside of the academy where they have been on the run for 2 years. Rose was informed by a semi-insane teacher to run and hide Lissa. Rose has spent her life protecting her best friend and follows this strange advice. However, she never expected Dimitri to be sent after them. Regarded as a god in guardian circles, Dimitri is a young dhampir who is given Lissa as his Moroi to protect, depending on if he can find her. Taken back to school, Rose finds she is severly behind in classes and realises that to really be able to protect Lissa she needs to get her training back on track and be vigilant over her friend to avoid the danger she had been forwarned of. Dimitri becomes her tutor to catch her up on the 2 years she missed in hand to hand combat. With Lissa’s mental health deteriorating, Rose and Dimitri’s growing attraction and a danger lurking in the school as well as the usual high school drama, Vampire Academy has it all.

Opinion

I haven’t really given the plot to the other 5 books of this series as I don’t want to spoil it for those who want to read the series but I will be reviewing the whole series.

One word for this series. Wow. Just wow. It is rare to find a world and characters that you miss when you finish the last book but, like Rowling, Mead had me hooked for 2704 pages. The world is totally believable, characters loveable and writing sublime. English grads may argue my last point but at no time did I have to re read paragraphs to understand it nor did the writing bring me out of the story once. Like all great books, you forget you are reading and just see the story.

Rose is a fantastic character and her romance with Dimitri is believable and heartbreaking. Her sarcastic wit is never forced or contrite and the bravery shown makes you swell with pride. Lissa is a complicated character and your feelings for her are too. Their relationships with each other and everyone else are expertly shown.

Downsides are a few and far between but some of my main gripes are; why didn’t Lissa notice her best friend was in love yet her worst enemy knew and used it against Rose? Did anyone ever tell Dimitri’s family what happened? Read could have stopped the constant book repeat. If she wanted to fill people in on the last books then maybe a chapter telling people what happened not mid action sequence! And most annoyingly, what happens after the last book finished? I want back onto this world. I want back into the lives of these characters.

Mead has created a series everyone can enjoy young and old alike. The twists are sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising and I never guessed the culprit in the last book. Characters barely mentioned in book 1 play important roles later and I love this.

All in all a fantastic book. The pros far out-way the cons. For this I give this series a 10/10 Read it and don’t judge Mead’s sublime story by the sub par acting of the film!

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Filed under Book Review, kindle, Richelle Mead, Young Adult

Bonkers: My Life in Laughs – Jennifer Saunders

I have always loved Jennifer Saunders. I blame my mother for this. She introduced me to Absolutely Fabulous, Vicar of Dibley, French and Saunders and on my own I discovered Jam and Jerusalem. Saunders’ guest spot on Friends has to be one of my favourites. She basically plays Eddie from AbFab. The joint effort of French and Saunders is sublime and their solo work is as good. I have already read Dear Fatty by Dawn French (Fatty being Saunders’ nickname) and loved it. So when Kindle biography showed me that Saunders had a biography I had to read it. I don’t like biographies as a rule. I have to really like the person they are about and even then that isn’t fool proof. My favourite comedian is Peter Kay and his biography was a very dull read. Michael McIntyre’s however was excellent! As was Dawn French’s. So with this all in mind it was with slight apprehension that I started this book.

Plot

I am not entirely sure how to do a plot section for a biography. This book is about Saunders’ life. There we go. One plot!

Opinion

I am pleased to say I was not disappointed by this book. With Saunders being a comic writer this book had a lot to live up to. It wasn’t as good as it could have been but not as disappointing as Peter Kays. My main gripe was the timeline or lack of timeline. Saunders would be writing about 1985 then all of a sudden it was 1993 then back to the original story she was telling and back again. I was getting into one story then lost track of it by the time it was eventually finished.

Her book also seems to be better read alongside Dear Fatty. I felt that a lot of interesting things from her start up with French should have been put in. It would be nice to have seen the same stories but from a different point of view. At one point Saunders even says for more into this period of her life check out her other half’s book. This just seemed lazy to me.

I never knew she had cancer until I read this book. Maybe because I was a student when she had it so didn’t pay attention to newspapers or reports I do not know but thought her frankness about it was very refreshing. Yes she had cancer, no she didn’t want a sob story and yes it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and she is now ‘cured’. The people who respond to her phrasing of her remission in a negative way shouldn’t. This is her experience of cancer, her views on her remission so how people can belittle her on this I do not know. Even those with Cancer can’t really comment as again, it is HER EXPERIENCE! Rant over!

Overall, a good read. I learnt things about her I didn’t know before and followed a legends life. My verdict is 7/10. If you like Jennifer Saunders a highly recommended read!

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

I mentioned in my Jane Eyre review that my first foray into classic literature was with Pride and Prejudice. Today I have decided to review this book.

Plot

We meet the Bennet family. A family with money but on the verge of having to work for a living. They have an excellent house and 5 daughters as well as a silly mother and steadfast father. Elizabeth Bennet is our heroine and seems to be the most put together of the sisters and is their father’s favourite. The town becomes the new stately home of Mr. Bingley who is known to make £5000 a year. He arrives with his sisters, brother in law and best friend, Mr. Darcy. Bingley takes a liking to Elizabeth’s older sister, Jane and begins to court her. Everyone believes that they are to be wed but Mr. Darcy is found to have told Bingley not to marry below his station.

Mr. Collins arrives to the Bennet household and he proposes to Elizabeth who turns him down (hilariously). Mrs. Bennet is in an outrage over this, wanting to get her daughters married off as quickly as possible, whilst making good connections. Elizabeth’s best friend marries Mr. Collins due to her panic of getting too old to find a husband.

Mr. Whickham arrives with the cavalry and woos Elizabeth. However, it is with her youngest sister that he runs off with and marries. This is not before he informs Elizabeth of how horrible and pompous Mr. Darcy is.

Surprisingly, Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth. However, his proposal is truley awful, claiming her to be below his status and that she should feel lucky he is even allowing himself to be degraded by acknowledging her and her family. Obviously Elizabeth says no.

Elizabeth goes to visit the new Mrs. Collins and due to the position of Mr. Collins as pastor for the venerable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, learns more about Mr. Darcy and finds his previous nature towards her and her family to be of an anomaly.

Whilst on holiday with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth ends up visiting Mr. Darcy’s grand estate and ends up seeing him there. Here she finds that he is not quite so prideful and much more open and joyous to be around. Perhaps her own pride got in the way of their union?

Lady Catherine de Bourgh hears about a possible union between Mr. Darcy (her nephew) and Elizabeth and storms over to the Bennet’s house to find out whether her nephew had made a proposition to Elizabeth. Elizabeth says no but if he were to make one in the future she would not reject it.

Mr. Bingley returns and asks for Jane’s hand and then Mr. Darcy returns with him and once again asks for Elizabeth’s. Obviously, they both say yes and the pride and prejudices that were keeping them apart have now been vanquished.

Opinion

I love this book. The BBC adaptation is also excellent. Elizabeth Bennet is a truly delightful character. Her wit, intelligence and sarcastic mouth transcend the 201 years from first publication to now. The family interactions are often done with great amusement and Elizabeth’s rejection of two of her marriage proposals are excellently executed. The one to Mr. Collins is hilarious. Her attitude is very modern as she waits until the man she loves asks her, never agreeing to marriage for status or money (obviously she gets both with her marriage but it takes 2 attempts from Mr. Darcy before she says yes). The marriage between Mr. Collins and Charlotte is shown to be the ‘proper’ way for an unmarried twenty-something to act as even though Charlotte does not love Mr. Collins, she feels she needs to get married soon as she is ‘past’ the desirable age.

Mr. Bennet is also quite a modern man. He only wants what is best for his daughters (particularly Jane and Elizabeth) and finds his wife’s constant moaning and badgering to be rather tiresome. However, he does what he can to make his daughter’s union to a ‘higher class’ by calling to see the new resident of Mr. Bingley. He is every girl’s dream father and before accepting Mr. Darcy’s request of marriage to Elizabeth he checks with her first to see if she is willing.

Obviously being called Pride and Prejudice, both these themes run throughout the books and every character (bar Jane) has these flaws. Even Elizabeth lets hers get the better of her and we see how far she has to go to allow them to be beaten to accept Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal. However, how he expected any girl to agree to his first offer is beyond me. Tip for you guys: never say that the girl is below you in status and that her family are idiotic whilst stopping her sister from marrying your best friend for the same reasons!

All in all one of my favourite books. My verdict 9.5/10. Again, the same as with Jane Eyre maybe if I had been reviewing in the 19th century, this would have been a 10 but obviously the writing is convoluted and difficult to get into meaning you have to be in the right frame of mind to read this or any classic novel.

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Filed under Book Review, Classic, Jane Austen

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

My first experience with classic literature was brought to me via High School exams. My English Literature class required me to examine Mr. Collins’ proposal to Elizabeth Bennet. Our fabulous English teacher decided that instead of reading the book, which she knew would be tiresome to most in my class (and up to this point even me) decided that watching Pride and Prejudice in class would be much more productive. The BBC’s 1990’s version is excellent and a young Colin Firth is a very desirable Mr. Darcy. All told, this was an excellent way to bring a 19th century novel into the minds of 15 year olds. Due to this, I ended up reading the whole of Pride and Prejudice through my own volition and loved it. It is this that has brought Jane Eyre to my attention and allowed me to be open enough to give the very convoluted writing a go.

Plot

We enter into the life of Jane Eyre. An orphan who has been left with her irksome Aunt and horrible cousins. Her life is simply awful and the promise of boarding school is welcomed with open arms, even after the disgrace she is put through via the pastor who financially runs the school. Her life takes a turn for the better and after school she is kept on as a teacher. After two years of employment and a total of 8 years at the school, Jane seeks employment elsewhere and is given the opportunity to be a governess for a young girl in Thornfield Hall. No geographical names are given within this story but we assume this place to be around Yorkshire.

Here Jane enters into the servitude of Mr. Edward Rochester and tutors his ward, Adèle. Luckily, Jane learnt French from a Frenchwoman so is able to keep up with the excitable little French girl. Through the coming months, we see nothing of the master of the house and Jane begins to see how gloomy the old mansion is. Add to this the odd sounds and strange happenings that occur whenever a mysterious maid is around (Grace Poole) and we have the beginnings of a ghostly past.

The following weeks bring Mr. Rochester back to his estate and we see the start of a friendship between master and governess. He stays longer than normal in Thornfield Hall and eventually entertains some guests. Through some deception on Mr. Rochester’s behalf, he surmises Jane’s growing affection for him and later proposes to her which she says yes.

During their wedding we learn that Rochester is already married, to a crazy lady who keeps escaping her nurse/maid, Grace Poole and attempting to either kill or maim the residents of Thornfield Hall. Jane leaves, heartbroken and eventually falls on her feet as the headmistresses of a new school. After coming into some money, finding some cousins and a new proposal, Jane returns to Thornfield Hall to find it burnt to the ground… But what of the residents?

Opinion

I always find the classics hard to get into a first. The language is always convoluted and obviously old. To add to this, Jane Eyre also has 19th century French to contend with too. Luckily for me, I have spent the past 2 years in France so have a little understanding of the language but it still made me take longer than usual to read this. Women in the 1800’s who could read must also read French and perhaps German (due to the odd lines found within these pages).

Jane Eyre is quite a modern take on life for women of the time. Clearly this is a theme of classic women heroines as Jane Austen creates quite feminist women too. They only marry men they love, status is not really a question for them if they love them and they wont take anything less in life than what they feel they deserve. All very modern ideas. However, whilst our heroine’s don’t seem to follow the 19th century archetype, the supporting cast do. Mr. St. John doesn’t love Jane but asks her to marry him so that he may have an intellectual woman with him in India and it would not be right to take his cousin as his cousin or even as his sister. The supposed union between Miss. Ingram and Mr. Rochester is shown to be the ‘proper’ union until we see she is just a gold digging, status hungry wench. These little things all add to the ‘traditional’ of Charlotte Brontë’s era.

The writing is excellent. Brontë paints some excellent scenes and her transition from child Jane through adolescence and womanhood are beautifully portrayed. Her growing love for Rochester is not forced and her acknowledgement of both his and her flaws is true for all 19 year olds. The questioning of her age is still viable today. Anyone would regard a 20 year age gap with some distaste in either era.

My verdict for this book is 7/10. I think if it wasn’t for the random bouts of French and if I was reviewing this when it came out it would have been higher but still, for a book 167 years old, this is an excellent score and well worth a read.

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Legend Trilogy – Marie Lu

As you do when you have a blog, you look at other people’s blogs. I stumbled upon The Infinite Power in 26 Letters. This blog is quite interesting. A book review blog and more. I stumbled across one of the posts and it was recommending YA fiction series’. From the previous reviews on here, you should be able to surmise that I am a big YA fan. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Beautiful Creatures, Twilight, Harry Potter are all great YA novels. So when I saw this post I decided to follow it’s advice and read some of its suggestions. One if these was the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu. Brilliant suggestion. Read all three in two days!

Plot

We start off with Legend where we meet Day and June. The most wanted boy in the Republic of America and she, the golden girl of the Republic. It seems there is a plague affecting the poorer sectors of Los Angeles. Obviously not  very good, especially as we see Day’s home being marked as a home of the plague. Day decides to try and save his brother from the plague so breaks into the local hospital to steal some of the  plague medicine. However, here we run onto trouble. Whilst escaping, a guard follows him and Day throws his knife into his shoulder and makes his escape. This turns out to be a catalyst for the rest of the series. This man happens to be June’s brother and it seems Day’s throwing ability is off. Metias is now dead and a grieving June is taken from school and given the task of tracking down Day and bringing him to the authorities.

Prodigy starts us off where Legend left. June and Day are now on the run with Day’s brother held in captivity and being tested on. They run to the rebellious group of the Patriots, apparently funded by the Colonies. Here, in Las Vegas, they agree to help the Patriots in return for fixing Day’s leg which became injured during their flight from LA. June’s mission is to return to the Republic and try and befriend the new leader and Day is to rally the citizens and ultimately kill the new leader. However, June realises that the Patriots are wrong and her and Day turn on the rebels and again are fleeing for their lives. June catches some unknown disease and Day saves her by taking her to the Colonies. Whilst staying there, they realise that the Colonies are just another form of  a suppressed people and would be no better a rule than the republic. June and Day make it their destiny to help change the republic for the better and to do this they must return and throw all their support behind the leader.

In Champion we have June as the golden girl once again. She is now an advisor of the Elector and Day is trying to find a cure for his terminal illness. The Colonies decide to try and invade the Republic whilst it is still relatively weak with a new Elector and rebellious citizens. This calls for June to ask Day for permission to use his brother against a new plague that the Colonies seem to have and blame the Republic for. Of course, due to his own history of being a lab rat and the more recent experiments on his brother, he denies this request but does promise to help in anyway he can, despite his failing health. June discovers this medical ailment and realises it is the reason behind his sudden departure from her life. She also realies that Day can never truly forgive her for her part in the murder of his mother and older brother and it kills him to be in love with her. Day sacrifices himself to save the Republic against the Colonies and ends up with memory loss. He remembers certain people but not June. Should she stay with him and help him remember her? Or leave and takeaway the pain of loving someone who helped to kill your family?

Opinion

I really liked these books. Like I said above, I read all three in two days. It is a dystopian reality with a love story at its core. Similar to The Hunger Games it is a scarily realistic future that could happen to us. With the melting ice caps, the world would change indefinitely and who is to say that this future is not a possibility?

The connection between all the characters is fantastic and you believe them all. I was shocked by one of them as I didn’t see that relationship revelation at all. Maybe I am just naive. Or it was excellent writing. The writing throughout is flawless and really brings you into the story. Having said that, I’m unsure as to whether I like the ending. I think I do. It is definitely better than The Hunger Games ending which if you have read my post on that then you shall know my thoughts on its disappointing finale. So it is good but just not what I thought would happen.

All in all a great read. It made me regret my speed in reading as this meant I had finished them too quickly. My verdict: 9/10. Give it a go!

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Filed under Book Review, kindle, Marie Lu, Young Adult

Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

Goodnight Mister Tom is a classic. It has been adapted to screen and theatre and is one of my favourite books of all time. Ever. I first came across this book in the late 90’s whilst in year 4/5 when Mr O’Neil, my headmaster and year teacher read us Goodnight Mister Tom as our afternoon book. I was enthralled then and I still am somewhat 14 years later. It’s a story about love. A love of an old man and young boy who, both bereft of love, find it in their new-found Father Son relationship.

Plot

We first see both Will Beach and Tom Oakley on Tom’s doorstep. Will has been evacuated from London to a sleepy little village, Little Weirwold. Will has been mentally and physically abused by his mother and later we surmise by his father, when he still had one, for most of his life. Tom lost his wife and new born son many many years ago and since shut his heart to anyone, so it is with great regret that the lady for the homing of evacuees disturbs Toms quite and grumpy life.

We see Will blossom under the gruff care of Tom and in turn see Tom open up under the influence of a sickly little boy. Will learns to read and write from Tom, makes friends for the first time and discovers he has a natural gift for drawing. Tom enters back into the social
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Killer Swell – Jeff Shelby

As some of you may know, this blog has it own Twitter account. From this, tweets appear of new posts and people can tweet if they want a book reviewing or just to generally say hi. So I received a friend request from Jeff Shelby. He is an american writer and was this blogs first follower on Twitter. So, after reading his profile and finding he was a writer I thought I’d thank him for the follow through a review of his first novel, Killer Swell. If the book had been bad, it wouldn’t have been a good thank-you, I know but he was able to publish another two in the series so something must have gone right!

Plot

We start with meeting Noah Braddock, a PI from San Diego. He is meeting up with his first ever girlfriend’s mum whom he believed split the two of them up. 11 years later, it is she who needs his help to find her missing daughter (Kate) and believes that his history with her daughter will convince him to take the job. Braddock still remembers his first sweetheart and it is with his memory of her that we find out about the missing girl. She was rich, popular, daddy’s girl and number one sister and student. Braddock starts his search with her husband, a sleazeball of a man who from Noah’s memories of  Kate, it is surprising she would date, let alone marry a man like him. Braddock finds Kate, but not really how he would have wished and her father then employs him to look further into the case, not trusting that the police will keep them informed, or that they will look for the culprit.

During the investigation, we meet Carter and Liz, a best friend and another ex girlfriend. Both went to the same high school as Noah and Kate and both are trying to find the solution to the mystery. Drugs, gangs, FBI, violence, sex, guns and guilt all play a part of this PI book and brings you round to conclusion which you part expect and part are surprised at.

Opinion

Now, I am not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting that much from this book. It wasn’t available from Amazon UK and I did get it relatively cheap from America (their postage is so cheap!). However, I was pleasantly surprised. I finished it in one night. It reminded me of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mystery PI series and as I’ve just begun to start the series off and love them, that’s quite a compliment. Noah Braddock is a loveable good guy and his best friend is a hoot. I love Liz as well even though she is portrayed as a tight arse at the start but we see her softer side towards the end. The character interactions were well thought out and executed swiftly. The plot was ok and made sense and I liked the slight twist at the end, making it a little more unexpected and I thought the best point was that even though Kate seemed to have made some very wrong choices, we always see Braddock’s Kate, meaning we feel empathy for her. A key point when she is the catalyst to all the guilt and pain Braddock goes through in this book.

Overall, a good book and has made me want to read the others in the Noah Braddock series so a very solid 8/10.


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The Templar’s Quest – C.M. Palov

For those of you that have read any previous posts on books will know that I seem to be relatively kind in my grading. I have never given below a 6 and even that was due to needing room to improve my score for the following in the series. This dear readers, is because of one simple fact. Non of the books so far I have recently read. Yes I have read them within the past year, and yes I did remember them quite well. However, the cause for my good memory was the fact that the books were good. I couldn’t put them down. They intoxicated me. The need to read the next one and then the next one for books such as Harry Potter, Eragon, Women’s Murder Club, Rizzoli and Isles and the Wolf Brother Saga, to name but a few, have seriously dented mine and my parents bank balances. Without the next installment, I seem at a loss and to read the books and finally have an ending in the last book gives you closure on characters and a sense of bereavement at the same time.

From the paragraph above you may think of me as a bit of a book slag. I am. Though not quite to the extent of my father, who has easily read double the amount I have, and probably by the time he was my age too. So when I come across a book that takes my fancy I find it hard not to buy it. Anything by P.J.Tracy, Cecelia Ahern and any books with a saga, I find extremely difficult to walk away from it. So when I spotted the Templar’s Quest on the shelves at Tesco for a discounted price I was torn. I had never heard of the author before but that didn’t mean it would be bad. Yes the author’s name was not bigger than the title of the book, meaning they weren’t that famous/popular an author. Though again, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be bad. I was pulled by the title, “Templar’s Quest”. As a history geek and a book geek, fictional books surrounding an historical event are my little poison. I loved Dan Brown’s “The Da Vini Code” (though did literally find it as a story, not a conspiracy theory around God, Jesus, faith) and Chris Kuzneski’s “The Lost Throne” equally enthralled me. So that was it. I bought it. And my dear readers, unlike my previous book reviews, I shall be reviewing this book a mere 1 hour after I read it.

Just to let you know in advance, it isn’t as good as any of the books I mentioned before. It’s only redeemable quality was the fact it was readable. That’s a lie. I enjoyed  2 characters and was only readable because of these two characters. So two redeemable qualities. I shall warn you, I do reveal far more spoilers in this review than usual so if you do like this author/would like to read the book and don’t want the surprise to be ruined, I would advise to stop reading.

Plot

We start of in Nazi owned Europe, in 1940. We see the secret band of the SS, known as the Seven, enter into a tomb and discover an artefact that can change the course of History. The book quickly changes to modern-day and a different war zone. This time Syria. We meet our hero for the book, Master Sargent Finn McGuire. He is in an old building looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction, instead he finds a gold medallion with some funky design. Outraged that he has been sent under false pretenses, he swipes the medallion to try to oust the culprit of such a dastardly trick. In the process of leaving Syria, he gets his trigger finger blown away, ultimately finishing his soldier career.

We next find Finn working at the Pentagon a few months later, when he is interviewed by two CID agents (Criminal Investigations Department). They seem to be trying to find a reason to arrest him for the murders of two of his previous soldier buddies. During the mini interrogation, Finn receives an email from the French Embassy to evade the two CIDs and come to the French Embassy. As an Englishwoman, this just exemplifies what us English have known for 1000’s of years, you can’t trust the French! On his escape from the Pentagon to the Embassy he uses Kate Bauer as transport. Of course this means we now have our leading lady and suffice to say she is pulled into the lunacy of the plot.

Following the talk at the embassy and many suicides, car chases and arguments, we find ourselves in the French Capital, Gay Paree. On this quest, we find ourselves a new ally in the form of former MI5 operative and Kate’s ex Oxford beau, Caedmon Aisquith.

Again, after more fights, car chasing, theoretical physics later, Caedmon goes off to the south of France to find the ‘Holy Grail’ (where have we heard this one before?) and Fin and Kate consummate their budding romance.

We finally get to the ending fight, and discover that the bad guys are trying to open a space-time continuum to send a message to the original Seven of the Nazi SS to try to help Hitler win the 2nd World War.

Opinion

As you have surmised from above, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I found the language to be confusing and using mathematical and theoretical physics to  explain something as Sci-Fi as Star Trek just didn’t work. I got the general gist of the plot but the explanation was far-fetched. Kate was an anthropologist who just happened to have an astrophysicist as a father, once bedded a Egyptologist/Templar symbolism expert who worked for MI5 and now lives in Paris and happened to be the one person driving past the Pentagon at the time of Finn’s escape. I know books and films have always tested the realm of possibility and coincidence but this was too much. Plus Finn was meant to be the regular Joe character in terms of smarts, yet the mathematical connections and knowledge of Einstein’s physics theories doesn’t ring true when just randomly blurted out by him.

This book seems to be trying to be too Dan Brown like. Many books of this type are often Dan Brown rip offs (In deed the Da Vinci Code was arguably a rip off of other ‘Holy Grail’ conspiracy theory books), yet this seems to take 70% of its story line from Dan Brown. The Louvre, pyramids, Holy Grail, France, Egypt, Faith, Templars are all used and this is too similar. If Palov pulled this off better than Brown, I could forgive him but it is sub par. 

The characters weren’t the best either. Finn and Kate were my two favourite characters but it didn’t take much. Caedmon just annoyed me and I wasn’t really that bothered if he lived or died. His adventure on his own bored me, and although it was pivotal in the story it wasn’t in my interested range. The bad guys seemed to be all talk and Finn outmaneuvered them most of the time. Even his biggest rival was undone not by him but a gorilla of a brute who seemed to have the IQ of a chipmunk (I apologise to the Chipmunk!)

One of my biggest annoyances of this book though was when Caedmon had been shot in the arm, had a bullet graze along his head, had been manhandled to open the stitches, blood was pouring out of him, unable to draw on a blackboard, unable to sit unaided yet at the end he could outrun Kate, who had very little wrong with her in terms of physical damage. Ludicrous.

All in all, not a great read. Took the Far Fetched and invited it to a tea party with Ridiculous and Improbable. My verdict is 3/10. It wasn’t unreadable and Kate and Finn were ok characters but the story was just a poor man’s attempt at Dan Brown with a bit of Star Trek added for good measure.

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Filed under Book Review, C.M. Palov