CELL: STEPHEN KING
Stephen King's Cell starts with promise...
- good characters,
-you feel bad when characters die
- very two dimensional bad guy,
-sadly characters in the book kind of play it off when others die
I started reading this and was very happy with the opening detailing what happens after the Pulse, in which everyone goes crazy from using their cell phones. It was fifty or so pages of descriptive power not seen in many books anymore. The narrative continued and it was very good. New characters are introduced along the way, all very human and very good company.
There is, of course, a bad guy, but one of the problems with him is he is just a shadow, even when in front of the characters. He isn't menacing or really evil, he just is there to hold the story together it seems.
I won't spoil the ending, but this is what really killed it for me. The bad guy is defeated in a very anti-climactic and very unexciting finale. It makes you feel bad when reading 450 pages to get to the apex of the narrative and then see a flatlined ending. Everything up to the point was exciting and the end just kills everything. Which is sad because with a better ending, the book would probably get another star from me.
The very end does not answer all the questions you probably have, but it doesn't bother me in the least. Imagination is a powerful thing friends.
I can say that it wasn't terrible, but it was just average fair from an author who can do so much better. Lately he has had a problem with satisfying endings and all of his latest books have had weak endings. Under the Dome was the same way.
Overall, you might enjoy it a bit more than me, but my motto in reading a book is "An explosive finale leaves the reader remembering the book for a long time, a boring one just makes it another book on the shelf and all its good parts are forgettable". A three out of five.
THE AGE OF ZEUS: JAMES LOVEGROVE
Starts With Promise; Ends In Disaster
-fairly indistinct characters,
-too many sexual jokes thrown in for no reason,
-explanation of gods ruins whole book
Solaris is a terrible publisher for anyone not in the know. They published the God-awful Combat-K novels by Andy Remic, that I would not suggest to anyone. I decided to give them another chance because the thought of the Greek gods battling against a group with modern weapons was a very appealing prospect for me.Let alone power armored people with advanced weaponry blowing the pantheon to pieces in gory fashion.
Going into it I found it to be good. The story was slow to get started, but once the action started kicking up near page 100 it was unrelenting. Then the problems started...
First of all, Solaris books are known for their hefty amount of action scenes. This book does not disappoint, but unlike the Combat-K books, there is enough of it that it is not overbearing.
That's kind of where the similarities end between the two and I start to see problems.
First of all, the comedy is something you would expect from a five year old. At the idea of placing sexual organs on a beast and being able to disgustingly describe the size or anything else, the author apparently gets a major kick because for no reason whatsoever he does these things. It becomes repetitive, disgusting, and pointless. You groan at every point he mentions something sexually provocative.
The middle of the book punches us in the face. We suddenly get a scientific reason for the Greek pantheon roaming the Earth and it's utterly ridiculous and stupid. Then the God's, after explaining their scientific properties and such, give a perfectly basic explanation to why they are on Earth that has nothing to do with science and being real humans in a genome project. This is where the book falls apart at the seams. This is as bad as the midi-chlorians of Star Wars. Have people not realized that the prospect of mysticism and magic around characters is more attractive than stupid scientific reasoning behind a seemingly impossible event?
The end was a completely pointless event. It was the penultimate groan. The author had to go there. It is completely pointless I swear, almost like the author will now go to the bar with buddies and say "Hey, I did this in the book at the end, hahahaha, it's because I am not very mature". And the author does not come across as very mature in this novel.
Now to the editing. Solaris sucks at editing. Every chapter had some sort of problem whether unnecessary words showing up or just nonsensical sentences or run-on sentences. And while all publishers do have problems with editing, this book seemed to be the first editing of a new editor.
Ultimately, I would really skip this book. I read through the whole thing because it had the appeal of some decent action, but it's ending was bad, and everything else about it was pretty bad too. The author has potential, but it just is not at all shown off in this novel.