The Trench – Steve Alten

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Set four years after the previous novel, we find the baby shark from  said novel is now a full grown 20+ meter long Megalodon Shark. The book does talk in imperial units,  yuck! A 20+ Meter shark in captivity, yeah that sounds like a good idea. Then we quickly find out the shark is in heat, so there is a bunch of eager great white males hanging around the aquarium. The fact that the male great white is only about 4 meters long compared to the Megalodon who is called “Angel” being at over 20 meters long, doesn’t even deter these animals.

So it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise when Angel broke out and as Jonas and gang attempt to capture her again we find out there are other forces at work with some kind of hidden agenda.

The situation gets worse when Jonas finds out his wife has gone back to the trench where this all began, plagued by nightmares it seems Jonas is about to fall apart.

Too often action stories focus solely on the physical so it was refreshing to see this story deal with the emotional impact and possible PTSD. Mental issues are too often ignored so its great to see this being dealt with in this story.

It did get a bit far fetched when they introduced a second prehistoric creature but that didnt deter the entertainment. This book was just as good as the original but with 3 more to go in the series i wonder if they can maintain realisim throughout or will the final books and up much like the final jaws movie, rubbish

Meg – Steve Alten

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So somewhere on my news feed for various social media sites, i see a brief blurb about a new shark movie coming out in 2017, featuring none other than Mr Action, Jason Statham. Intrigued, off to google i go and i find out its based on a book about the Megalodon shark. i don’t know what it is about sharks but i love stories about them, scared shitless about them at the beach and can’t stop thinking of them but i love reading and watching Documentaries about them.

Meg is a rather interesting take on the shark story, a secret navy dive in the Mariana Trench runs into some Megalodons which are living down there near the warm hydro-thermal vents. An accident causes one shark to be dragged to the surface, and then the chaos ensues.

a 25 metre shark, is a fearsome predator. However the book solely wasn’t just about the shark eating people, there was a fair bit of dialogue given over to people debating do we kill it? or is it now an endangered species and should be preserved. Which to be fair is something i had not considered.

While i note that we know more about other planets than we do about the bottoms of the oceans, it was still a stretch to try and swallow the concept of the shark living down there, with some other surprises. That aside it was a well written book, with plenty of accurate facts about sharks in it. It is also the first in a series of 5 books, so my hope is that unlike the Jaws movies that just got worse with each sequel that this book series might do ok.

The Long Cosmos – Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

The Long Cosmos – Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
There is something immensely bittersweet about the final book in a series, the fast approaching conclusion and reality of it being the last time we visit this world always makes the final book in a series a sad thing. More so this time considering the author died before this book was released
Many months back on hearing the news of his death i selfishly was concerned that the book would be unfinished or someone else would finish it and thus the writing style be different but it turns out Terry and his co author pretty much wrote all 5 books years ago. So my worries were unwarranted.
The final book in the series is set several years after the previous ones. Our main man Joshua has lost his wife and is estranged from his son. So in keeping with his character he says screw the world i’m going for a sabbatical and by sabbatical he means a journey into the many parallel worlds that make up the long Earth. I just love the concept of parallel worlds (the long earth) in the book. Such a unique spin on this scientific concept.
At the same time he leaves a startling event occurs, a message is received from space and while the message is analysed and deciphered,  Joshua runs into trouble out in the wilderness when he breaks his leg when an animal runs him over. Trapped in the middle of no where with no one around he contemplates his life right when the world at large needs him the most. The message has been deciphered and it says JOIN US.
Final books in a series always run the risk of not living up to expectations and while i loved the story, the ending left me wanting more. I should of seen it coming, each of the previous books rarely answered questions and this is the same. The book drew many parallels with the book/movie contact and just like that, this ones ending is left unresolved.
I loved this series so much, it tapped not only into the human desire to explorer but also notions that family isnt always blood and that the pursuit of knowledge for knowledges sake is a worthy adventure.
I really will miss these so very well crafted characters and with one the authors passing it really is the end. So many tv shows get canceled before they finish properly and the same can be said for book series much like the bourne series, yes someone else may pick up the reigns and continue but its just not the same. Here we were lucky to have a series of books from start to finish and such a wonderful series it was

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

Who needs to describe the plot when the massively long title does it for you. But for those of you who hadn’t already figured it out, the story is about a 100 year old man who yes climbed out a window but its a bit more complicated that. Alan (the 100 year old man) is in an old folks home, not really by choice, he was sent there for blowing up his home, but that is a long story. He has a nasty nurse who keeps taking his hidden booze off him, so when he finds out that the old folks home intend to throw a surprise 100th party for him he has had enough and wants out. Being limited in his options and mobility, he decides to climb out the window and run away albeit very slowly since he is 100.

First stop after a sloth like crawl out the window is the nearby bus station, a short walk away for most but for him it was tiring, he approaches the sales person and asks how far he can get for 500 crowns, well its set in Sweden so all the currency is theirs too. Google converter tells me its about 20 bucks. Which seems a far more reasonable amount for a senior to have on them.The money wont get him too far, guess bus travel is expensive over there. So while he waits a few minutes for the bus arrive he sits down. Then a stranger approaches him and asks if he could hold his suitcase while he goes to the bathroom, before Alan can respond the man is off running for the toilet, just as Alan’s bus arrives.

Here is where the story takes an interesting turn, Alan looks at the bus, then looks at the suitcase and pretty much thinks ahh screw it, and takes the suitcase. At the end of the bus journey Alan with the help of a new friend opens the suitcase and discovers it is filled with millions of crowns, not actual crowns of course but the currency used in Sweden, what follows is an hilarious adventure and accidental heroism that would put the Pink Panther or Mr Bean to shame.

A hilarious adventure of Alan avoiding the police looking for him (our of concern) and of the gangsters looking for their money, Along the way Alan gathers new friends including an Elephant. We find out all about Alan’s past including meeting Presidents, Dictators, Secret police. We learn of his albeit almost unbelievable good luck and Alan finds out once again what it means to feel truly alive.

A fantastic read full of laughs

 

 

 

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury
Picked up the first book in this series along time ago but never read it. Didn’t even know it was part of series back then, i just saw it involved the Templars and thought it might be in a similar vane to Da Vinci code.
The Last Templar
The story in the is broken into 2 plot lines. The first set in the modern day world follows on from a heist at The Metropolitan Museum, where men on horseback dressed as Templars steal an artifact and the second plot line is set in the past first starting in 1291 and follows the Templars as they try and hide the artifact, as the city of Acre falls to invaders. Both lines do not initially discuss the nature of the artifact we find that out later.
What follows is very Da Vinci Code style hunt for treasure with Archaeologist Tess Chaykin(who was in the museum when it was robbed) and FBI Sean Reilly which leads them to a shocking discovery about the artifact. Which then leads us to the most disappointing part of the book. Tess talks about her job as an Archaeologist as uncovering the truth and how it is important to let the people decide etc, but then when she discovers what the artifact was she lets it be destroyed because it could upset some religious people, what a joke, a betrayal of her character. I just couldn’t believe this hogwash ending it just felt so wrong it almost turned me off the whole series luckily i persevered
The Templar Salvation
This book follows a similar vane with the same duo from the first book hunting down another Templar artifact. This time with a crazed Iranian hit man after them and the treasure. I never thought i would hope for a terrorist to win but after the bullshit ending in the first book i wanted the terrorist to find the artifact and reveal it to the world which was his intent.  Fortunately when the duo uncover it they too decide to share it and luckily it includes a copy of the artifact lost in the first book so their idiocy was undone
The Devil’s Elixir
I was disappointed to find that  this book goes on a different path and has nothing to do with the Templars. This one deals with figures from Sean’s past coming back to take him down and also to dispense a knew drug to the world with crazy hallucinations properties. I liked this one a lot, i thought it was going to go a bit too crazy with some of its mumbo jumbo but turned out there was a very logical basis for it. Very creative writing by the author.
Rasputin’s Shadow
My favorite book so far, the first book was the authors debut and now 8 years later with this book you can really feel how much the author has come into his own writing style and groove. This is much more structured and has the characters behaving in logical ways. Far better writing to be honest. The plot follows A Russian who is the son of a man very close to Rasputan, as he discovers a shocking secret behind Rasputan’s powers and builds a weapon following designs left by his dad. Realizing its power could be used by the wrong people he destroys it and flees to the US. Now in his last years of life he has been found and begins a race between the US n Russia to capture him and this deadly weapon before it is used
While originally i thought this was a series about Templar knights, its actually about Tess and Sean, which works since they are very like-able people and aside from some stupidity in the first book are quite fun to read. There are some issues from Seans past that are being slowly pieced together over these 4 books and looks like coming to a forefront in the next book. I’m really looking forward to it as i feel the author has come into his stride the characters make logical choices now and the plots and intrigue are just sucking me in each time. This series is very Da Vinci Code like for the first two books and then delves into a more thriller/adventure story as the themes move away from the Templars and focus more on Sean than Tess’s vocation.

Star Wars: Bloodline – Claudia Gray

Star Wars: Bloodline – Claudia Gray
Was hyped up as a huge release, yet in my mind falls short. Doesn’t have any big revelations that you would hope for due to the massive time gap between Episode 6 and 7 i need more info than this book offers. The book is set 6 years prior to Episode 7 and follows Princess Leia as she deals with threats inside and external to the Republic. First of all how is she still a Princess if her entire planet is destroyed? She is a senator and begins to suspect of a plot to destroy the Republic which leads her down a path which by the end of the book creates The Resistance, as seen in Episode 7
It seems their plan is to offer info up over a slow feed of books over the coming months. This is immensely frustrating but a i guess they see it as a good marketing ploy as it forces me to buy all their books. This just furthers my dislike of Disney as i already see them as an evil  money hungry greedy capitalist monstrosity. I really wish they would stop trying to dumb down Star Wars into some damn teenage drama, i want my violence and severed limbs back and i want the timeline of events between Episode 6 and 7 filled in , not slowly added to over 3 years #rantover

Atlantis Series – Harry Turtledove

Atlantis Series – Harry Turtledove
After the author read an article about how New Zealand broke away from Australia 85 million years ago he wondered what would happen if the same happened to the east coast of the US. The idea of Atlantis was borne, the east coast of the US from Florida all the way up into Canada and as far west as the other side of the Appalachian mountains breaks off 85  million years ago and as such develops a unique and highly different fauna and flora.
The first book is set in the 1400s where a fisherman discovers the island after trading part of his catch  for directions to rich fishing grounds and finds Atlantis, he soon leads an expedition to colonise it to escape the tyranny of kings and queens back home but trouble soon follows him
The second book set in the 1700’s begins the trend of following the history of our US with this book dealing with Atlantis war of independence of England. Here we find that the Mainland has been colonised too but here it is called Terranova
The 3rd book set in 1800’s deals with slavery but unlike the real world and the civil war, here we have a slave insurrection fighting to be treated as equals
The 4th book is a collection of short stories not all to do with Atlantis but its included because it has 2 Atlantis stories. A knockoff of Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery and another of a naturalist searching for possibly extinct birds
The entire series is well written and i thoroughly enjoyed it but really felt it needed a map to accompany the story to help add depth and to understand the locations better.