Top positive review
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Turns out to be a surprisingly readable page-turner
on 21 November 2013
Somewhere around page ten I was on the verge of giving up—but I'm glad I didn't.
First, the negative. Just one, but it's usually a killer: the author is just not a very good writer. The characterisation seems at first blush to be cartoonishly one-dimensional. The prose is somewhere in the early teen-readers' style of unvaryingly linear happenings, listed one after another, and with so little depth to the writing the happenings arrive thick, fast and almost bewildering. It can't be good when the nearest thing to reflective depth is regular chunks of techie exposition. Add a core plotline of Famous Five-style "teens against evil plotters" and it's a recipe for disaster.
But, but ...
But ... it is actually, despite all that, an entertaining, even though-provoking ride. It actually does grab you and reel you in.
Unlike so much fiction, faction and fantasy based on Area 51-type conspiracy theories, the author knows enough science and technology to help us suspend our disbelief. He knows his stuff, and it's the special sauce that really helps ratchet up the interest. The pace of the plot helps to blur the landscape of clunking prose simply by whizzing past it, and regular cliff-hangers become gripping and satisfying.
This book made me realise how easy it is to be a literary snob: I am chastened, and glad that I kept turning the pages. Having nearly abandoned ship, I am pleased to report that this was a good read ... and, of course, auhtorial weaknesses notwithstanding, he is a damned sight better than Dan Brown. Give it a chance!