Vostok – By Steve Alten

Vostok is the sequel to the loch, which in turn was a spin off from the Meg series. This book is a crossover story with the characters from the Loch returning but also involving the main characters from the Meg series as well. This book is also a prequel to the 5th book in the Meg series.

The sad reality is this book was so bad I think i’ll be breaking my mantra of always finishing a series I start. It was so bad I cant even bring myself to keep it on my bookshelf. The book starts off not too bad and based on the real world. Follows on from the discovery of a lake underneath Antarctica (lake Vostok is actually real) The main character from the Loch is called in to go down and explore this lake and see what is down there. Everything continues on much like any adventure novel but then halfway its like the author had a stroke and everything changes.

We go from exploring a underground lake to dealing with aliens and time travel abilities, like what?  I can only image the author went on an acid trip halfway through writing this. Nothing can explain the so sudden and abrupt change in story, the pace, theme and concept is just thrown out the window so the author can go on a conspiracy nut job wet dream exposition of secret governments and aliens in collusion with them.  Even now as I sit here writing this I cant even understand how his publisher agreed to print this. Its was so bad, and not like a “B” grade movie, where they are so bad its good, this was so bad its bad. If there could be a surgery where I can remove the memories of me reading this book I would do it in a heart beat. I just cant explain enough just how crazy and messed up this book was. If anyone out there even considers buying this book all i can suggest is rip it in half, the first half is good,  The second half can be used as toilet paper.
All I wanted was a nice “scary sea monster” read. I most certainly did not in any way want the acid trip of  gobbledegook that this book turned into

Steve Alten you are now barred from my bookshelves, please don’t write any more books until you get checked out by a doctor

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.

Temple – Matthew Reilly

Temple – Matthew Reilly

What i have come to love about Matthew Reilly novels is the pace. Its just non stop action. This story even more so than his previous works, as we have 2 story lines. Both pumping at breakneck speeds. Firstly we have the story of a Spanish monk during the conquest of the Incas. He gets caught up with an Incan prince trying to evade capture and hide a priceless relic from the Spaniards and then in modern times we have the story of William Race, racing against time to find the final resting place of the relic as it can be used as power-source for a special nuke.

The hidden treasure part of this story really reminds me of some Clive Cussler novels. For the most part I love the backstory put into this story bar one exception. The author states the distant planetary system the meteor that the relic is made from came from. How could he possibly know this? I understand if the meteor is spotted in the sky to some extent we can calculate its trajectory but this meteor crashed hundreds of years ago how could they know where it came from? this concept just doesn’t sit well with me
Bar this over sight its another great read by Matthew and quite a lengthy one at that.

Ascendance – John Birmingham

Ascendance – John Birmingham

Since i found out the author wrote these books at the same time, it stands to reason i should read them at the same time. The story flows from one book directly into the next. i was initially worried that this book would wrap up the series and that would be the end. which would be a shame as i have really enjoyed this story. As funny as it seems i really like the main character Dave, Don’t get me wrong he is a womanizing lowlife who should treat his wife better.but i think its something about how he isn’t the perfect hero, he is just an ordinary man with ordinary problems and suddenly becoming a superhero doesn’t wash them away

Dave screws up big time and allows a high level Government agent to get captured, The Hunn (they are pretty much orcs) then use his knowledge to launch an attack on civilian populations around the world. In New York Dave finds another like him a Russian spy who’s magical weapon is a samurai sword. As the Hunn’s tactics get smarter Dave begins to understand their goal. Realizing his family is in trouble he heads off to save them with his superhero friend in tow

The battle that follows as he tries to save his family has quite a surprising conclusion and it really leaves the door open for more Dave Hooper books well at least i hope so!

Resistance – John Birmingham

Resistance – John Birmingham

Just couldn’t put down the previous book in this series, so i thought there was no point mucking around and dived right into the next one. The story picks up pretty much right after the previous one with Dave still coming to terms with his new superhero status. Monsters and orcs are nothing compared to his next foe….. a divorce lawyer. With the world under attack with multiple sites of Orc attacking cities, his wife still finds time to get a divorce lawyer. i guess thats a priority for some people. but before Dave can deal with that situation he is called upon to help break a siege

The orcs are camped outside of Omaha but aren’t attacking they wish to negotiate? Military commanders just want to decimate the group of orcs just sitting out in the open, but their leaders are curious as to what the orcs want. On a separate note these military commanders aren’t as gung-ho as i thought they would be. they seem quite rational. and on a separate even more puzzling note it is mentioned that China asked the US to nuke a city under attack by Orcs. Doesn’t china have nukes? why would they get the US to do it. No surprise the US is happy to abligde

Everything is complicated further when Dragons start popping up. well not really dragons they have some other name but essentially a dragon. they even take down the Vice presidents plane. Its another great read with lots of humour no thanks to Dave’s new lawyer who not only deals with the divorce issue, but smashes out movie deals and and arranges dinner with brad pit to discuss the role.

Going to jump straight into the next one for sure

Emergence – John Birmingham

Emergence – John Birmingham
I picked this up not just because of the cool cover but because i’m a fan of some of the authors other works. However i found out quite quickly this book inst quite in the same vein as his others
Here we have a story of Dave an alcoholic, womanizing, almost divorcee who works on an oil rig. Dealing with a major hangover he is being flown back to the rig after enjoying some time off.
When he gets to the rig he finds it under attack by orcs ( for the lack of a better word). They are actually called the Hunn but the description pretty much matches any fantasy story’s Orc. And in the process of killing his first orc which turns out to be the leader he somehow gets that’s orcs memories and gets turned into a super hero.
Don’t laugh, i’m not joking that’s what happens. Now he is thrust into the spotlight due to his powers gaining quite a media spotlight but when the orcs come back for more what will Dave do.
As weird as it sounds its actually a great read. Quite different from his other works but still worth it. In fact it’s the start of a series so i have already bought the next 2

Scarecrow returns – Matthew Reilly

Scarecrow returns – Matthew Reilly
Another story following the adventures of our hero Shane (scarecrow) Schofield. After his previous adventures the French  have a rather large bounty on his head and after several failed attempts on his life the marines decide to assign him to a nice remote location out of harms way. The Arctic Circle. We find Scarecrow with a few marines and some scientists testing new cold weather gear.
Nearby on an old Russian base all hell breaks loose. A resupply run finds the base over run with terrorists. Whats worse is the base holds a Russian doomsday weapon. This weapon spews forth a highly combustible gas into the atmosphere which spreads via the jet stream. Once it has spread far enough  a specially designed missile is fired  into the gas cloud to ignite it . Essentially causing the atmosphere to be set on fire. And we find out the terrorists have been sending forth the gas for many weeks now.
With only hours remaining till missile launch scarecrow rally’s his group and goes to the rescue. What follows is a pretty  high paced action story due to the time restraint. I don’t know whether its because the author is Aussie, and so we have the same sense of humour but i literally found myself smiling or laughing out loud at allot of the jokes or one liners. This normally doesn’t happen in books as most American authors  use rather lame or “dad jokes” i guess this really highlights cultural differences.  I wonder what the Americans think of our sense of humor.
Anyway being the 5th outing for this character we spend  i little time getting to know the new team and whats has happened since the last book. But then its straight  on action packed  till the end.
Great twist and interesting resolution  to the story. Even know this is the 5th book in the series it is a great stand alone story as well. Hopefully he writes some more adventures for our hero but i think ill start on his other books. Really liking  his writing style and occasional humour. And the author owns a DeLorean how cool is that. He seems to be a big scifi geek at heart.