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Category Archives: Action Adventure

“Pacific Vortex!” – C. Cussler

This is a review of “Pacific Vortex!” by Clive Cussler, chronologically the first book in the many adventures of Dirk Pitt.

Fully armed and with all hands on board, the nuclear submarine Starbuck sailed into the calm Pacific Ocean for sea trials – and vanished. There was no trace of it until ace maritime troubleshooter Dirk Pitt finds a single, chilling clue in the shark-torn surf off Hawaii – the log of the Starbuck. A crazed journal of madness and death that locates the Starbuck’s grave hundreds of miles from her las known position. The search for the submarine plunges Dirk Pitt into his most shattering assignment to date – a whirlpool of deep-sea mystery and terror – the Pacific Vortex!

The story has very good, and very easy writing. It flows quickly and concisely, with great action sequences and exciting adventure. The ideas explored and used are firmly rooted in fact, and it is obvious that the author knows what he is talking about especially when it comes to the maritime aspects. It is a story of a more modern Indiana Jones, treasure hunting and dangers under the sea, and it works very well in deed.

The secondary characters are very well written even if they were a bit shallow. They weren’t anything truly special, nothing to really remember, and their lives and emotions were little explored apart from their place in the story. Still, they were solid and they weren’t useless even in comparison to Dirk Pitt. Al Giordino and Admiral Sandecker being foremost of these characters, and I wish they had been given more screen time.

There was also little to no over-explanation of concepts, maritime terms or other things like that which neatly helps to avoid most of the dreaded “As you know, Bob” conversations. The omniscient tone to the writing wasn’t as annoying as it could have been, which is always a bonus.

There are, however, some bad points.

Dirk Pitt became quite the Gary Stue-like character, and he acted more or less like a bastard most of the time. There wasn’t much to actually like about him even if all other male characters admired him. He keeps on eyeing women at the most inopportune moments, kissing them when underwater caves are flooding around him, and his banter with people seems a bit off and weird. He also has a weird need to keep on ignoring sound advice and logical rules.

The women in the book are rather useless. Most of them were either secretaries there to be ogled. One was a previous one-night stand who continued having a whole bevy of one-night stands, and all she was good for was getting kidnapped and rescued. And the last one, supposedly cold and detached and raised as a cold-blooded killer, fell apart and fell deeply in love with Dirk Pitt after only two meetings. Not only that, but if all the women in the story were removed, it wouldn’t change one whit. That is not good.

I am a big fan of the movie Sahara with Matthew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz, it was one of the largest reasons why I started reading this Dirk Pitt adventure. I have to admit that I like the movie better, it treated female characters better than this book did. I can only hope that Cussler’s other books are a bit better – especially the series with the husband-and-wife treasure hunter team!

Great adventure and a quick read, but not really special.

I am ambivalent about this one, though I do think I might pick up another Dirk Pitt book in the future.

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Posted by on September 1, 2018 in Action Adventure, Books

 

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“Excavation” – J. Rollins

This is a review of “Excavation” by James Rollins.

Deep in the South American jungle, Sam Conklin is leading a dig on a lost ancient city when he stumbles upon a sealed door: the portal to secrets and treasures hidden for centuries. As the excavation party descends beneath the ruins they fall victim to ingenious traps laid to ensnare the careless and unsuspecting, and protecting unimaginable wealth. But their perilous journey takes them deeper into the cold, shrouded heart of a breathtaking necropolis, and they find that they are not alone. Something is waiting for them – something ancient, wondrous and terrifying…

The book is fast paced and never boring. Because of the fast pace that simply going and going, it is easy to keep reading and reading. Full of action, adventure and traps, it reads almost like an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider action adventure movie. In fact, the book would be perfect for a movie adaptation. It is a perfect break from heavy-duty high fantasy or sci-fi books that require a lot of focus, and it is incredibly entertaining as well.

Very little time is spent on describing the surroundings, and for some it might be a bit too little. The segues while people are caught up on what happened to others are a bit too obvious and a bit too often used. There are other ways to bridge a gap without long expositions.

There is a lack of character development, but even so it isn’t a truly bad thing. The story is so short and so quick that there isn’t much time to develop anything really, and though the characters are stereotypical stock characters they are still well written and a joy to read. None of them truly annoyed me, and they occasionally even surprised me in a good way. So, in essence, there isn’t much to complain about at all.

The only bad thing about this book is the way things came together at the end. It was a bit too smooth, a bit too perfect. The shock value of the epilogue would have been far greater if more time had been spent on the monsters when the characters met them. Despite this, though, the ending was satisfactory.

At one point I think there was a mistake made with people knowing the name of a priest, but I am not even certain about this bit.

All in all, I truly do recommend this book.

I have already ordered more books by this author, and I will definitely read them!

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2018 in Action Adventure, Books

 

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