Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review by JD: Seven Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reilly

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  • 7 Deadly Wonders
  • by Matthew Reilly
  • ISBN: 978-0-7432-7053-3
  • Pages: 392, hardback
  • Simon & Schuster, 2006
  • Genre: Sci Fi “ish”, Action

John’s Thoughts:

It’s personal challenge time – I have to try and review this book without mentioning a certain best-selling author whose initials are D.B. Here goes.

4,500 years ago those clever ancient Egyptians placed a golden capstone on top of the Great Pyramid at Giza, which mystically helped avert a disaster caused by a rare solar event. The trouble is that the superhot sunspot aligns itself with Earth on a regular cycle and it’s about to happen again. Catastrophic flooding and scorching will ensue unless someone can find the lost capstone and replace it on the pyramid. The legend also says that the country whose people successfully carry out that feat will be all powerful for a thousand years. Consequently, various factions are trying to locate the golden capstone.

It turns out that the capstone is actually made up of seven pieces, and they disappeared over two thousand years ago. Each piece is somehow associated with one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and in order to collect the pieces someone has to locate those seven wonders, or the resting place of their remnants. But the people who hid them did not intend for them to be found. Seekers have to first unlock a series of devilishly difficult clues in order to find the locations, and then navigate loads of fiendish and deadly traps intended to kill anyone trying to find or remove the pieces. So begins a quest, and we follow a team made up from a handful of small countries, as they compete against superpowers and dark forces that are pitted against them.

As you now imagine that small team racing against the clock to decipher ancient clues, perhaps you can see why I have to try really hard not to mention that other author’s name. 

There were many things about this book that I did like. It is fast paced and pulls you along, and it’s an easy read. There are a lot of little maps and illustrations to help portray the locations, layouts and traps for each scene, which is pretty neat. The story is, of course, fantastic, but I was expecting that. It is well-constructed and well-written. What I had a hard time with was the action scenes - they are just so over the top and so unbelievable that I found them a bit silly. They make an Indianan Jones movie seem like a stroll in the park. And there are a lot of action scenes.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fast-paced action stories and mysterious quests. It didn’t quite hit the mark for me; I’d rate the book two and a half stars.

*********************************************************************************

This books was borrowed from the local library.

For more information about the book, author, the other two books in the series, and purchasing links, please see the giveaway/preview post for the trilogy.

As always comments are encouraged and welcome and will be addressed by JD.

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

15 comments:

Cherry said...

Sorry that it did not do it for you. I enjoyed Seven Ancient Wonders so much, I gave it a 4 out of 5 rating. I forgave those fantastical action feats because I wanted to believe in a Tartarus magic for a few hours :)

My review is here: http://www.cherrymischievous.com/2009/12/seven-ancient-wonders.html

John D said...

Hi Cherry,

Thanks for the comment. I did enjoy the mystery and fantasy side of the story; I just found the constant action elements overwhelmed them.

Nice blog by the way.

dkm1981 said...

It's a shame it didn't quite do it for you, but a great review.

~Jennifer~ said...

I just picked this up yesterday. The concept sounded promising and I hope I enjoy it a bit more than you did. Hope your next book is better for you.

John D said...

Hi dkm,
Thanks for the nice words. I like to try some books even though I'm not sure they'll do it for me - you never know what you might find!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Comment wouldn't post so I am going to cut and paste it here...sorry folks

~Jennifer~ has left a new comment on your post "Review by JD: Seven Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reil...":

I just picked this up yesterday. The concept sounded promising and I hope I enjoy it a bit more than you did. Hope your next book is better for you.

John D said...

Hi Jennifer,
Well, I didn't not enjoy it; it just didn't blow my socks off. I hope you like it. I'm in the middle of reading something very different now - very humourous in an English sort of a way.

Charlie said...

As I read your review, JD, I kept thinking, "Video game, this will make an excellent video game!"

I don't play them, mind you (I had a helluva time with Pac-Man), but the nerd guys should love it.

Nice review, but I think I'll pass--too much in the TBR pile.

John D said...

Hi Charlie - I never thought about the video game angle but you just hit the nail on the head. The scenes, challenges and traps were exactly like a video game.

Though like you I'm not exactly an expert in that field. I didnt even get to Pac-Man. I just couldn't get the hang of space invaders, so I gave up early and took to drinking my beer while my buddies ploughed money into those games in the pub.

DCMetroreader said...

OK I'll bite who is DB? Sorry I don't read much action stuff.

John D said...

Hi DCM - that would be Mr. Dan Brown, and his cast of characters following impossibly complex and implausible clues. Though judging by book sales and movie audience figures, there are an awful lot of people who like that stuff.

P.S. And I like some of it.

Charlie said...

Compared to Code, The Lost Symbol was a flash in the pan. It's already out of sight and out of mind.

If he's smart (which I'm not convinced he is), he should switch gears and write something he knows about--the first rule of writing.

ELIZABETH said...

I tried some of the early ones and passed on this one.
I thought it was a case of trying too hard and thought they read like video game or action movie scripts.

John D said...

Charlie: I really enjoyed reading the Da Vinci Code (though the movie was weak). I went back and tried Angels & Demons and didn't like it nearly as much. I didn't even have any inclination to give The Lost Symbol a go.

Elizabeth: I think "tryng too hard" is exactly right. He just crammed a bunch of things in which didn't help. It would have been nice to see a bit more space and character development.

DCMetroreader said...

Dan Brown -- of course -- thanks for the info!

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