Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Last Oracle by James Rollins

Amanda’s So-called Review: The Last Oracle was a (and no surprise here, right?) DNF for me. 

But I’ll tell you why I didn’t finish it. It wasn’t that the book was bad. I just – from the very start – could tell something was missing. The narrator was talking as if certain things should already be familiar to me. I’m all for narrators not treating me like a complete idiot (unless I’m not supposed to like the narrator) but this feeling was different. So, I did some research online (more like looked it up on Wikipedia) and found that this is a book in a series – and it wasn’t the first book.

Boy did I feel dumb. This was a book from my list! I had no clue it was part of a series. I just liked the cover blurb and what the author had said about Emily Dickenson in his Author’s note-thing.  

Wikipedia also said that James Rollins did some work on an Indiana Jones script, and I can really tell. The Last Oracle really feels like a mix between The Da Vinci Code and a Jones movie.

Needless to say, it’s not that it was a terrible book and that’s why I put it down. It’s just that I really want to start out on the right path with something if I’m going to really invest in it.

The concept was really interesting to me – gypsies and oracles and the Christian mythos. At the very least, I’d watch the movies (when/if they come out).

Hel Speak:

I actually finished this book, and I have to say - it sucked balls. No, that would be too generous. It sucked butt holes.

I didn't feel like the book talked as if I should already know things. After Panda told me it wasn't the first book in the series, I could tell that the author was explaining things in a way that felt a bit contrived, like doing a "on the last episode of..." blurb. So i felt like you could easily read this book without any of the others. It really stands a lone. The only thing that really mattered was that Monk, one of the main characters, had gone missing in the last book and was presumed dead. It probably would have had more of an impact on me if I had already known Monk in the past.

I agree that this was a mix of Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci code. Except not good. For several reasons.

First, I felt like there were several main plots. The main MAIN one was Russia's attempt to take over the world, but I felt that their means of doing so were weak and unrealistic, unworthy of a book.

Second, it was written like an action movie. Like the author expected it to be made into a movie, or was writing a detailed script. The action scenes were ridiculous, as was the "witty" banter. Let me give you a glimpse into one of my favorite (note the sarcasm) scenes:

"Nicolas lowered his outstretched arms - and revealed what was hidden behind the pile of I-beams. The man's hand had been out of view until now.

A second pistol.

It pointed at Gray's belly and fired.

Gray managed to twist sideways, but the bullet still burned a line of fire across his stomach....

...(Gray was) Out of bullets.

The same could not be sad for Nicolas.

The Russian drew a dead bead upon Gray.

As a consequence of his concentration, Nicolas moved the movement along the roof..."

Do I even need to point out the faults here? DODGING BULLETS? My favorite part, of course, is the line "as a consequence of his concentration". Really, you couldn't have worded this any different??? Not to mention that Gray is supposed to be "the best of the best of the best, SIR". So why the hell did it not occur to him that maybe Nicolas was hiding a gun in the hand he was hiding behind an I-BEAM???


Moving on.

Thirdly, it's clear that Rollins did his history. He knows everything about everything. And he wants to show us that he does. Any time there is even the smallest opportunity for a character to lecture, they start speaking in a forced, textbook manner. It's ostentatious. Just shut up.

Fourth, this book had pictures. Yes, PICTURES.

'Nuff said. Don't read it. Just watch the movie.

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