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Rona M.

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The Alchemist's Secret (Ben Hope, Book 1)
The Alchemist's Secret (Ben Hope, Book 1)
Price: £1.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Dan Brown and SAS cliches - don't bother., 23 Oct 2014
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Oh dear. I wish I'd paid more attention to the 1-star reviews. Too much telling in this book, long expositions on the Cathars and papal conspiracies, and the usual cliched cryptic puzzles leading to a sacred hunt for the Holy Grail-type-mystery. I kept expecting Dan Brown to pop up and wave a flag. And there were all the usual genre tick-boxes: the protaganist with the tortured past, the psychological angst, the SAS background. The author even got the motto of the SAS incorrect. Not going to bother with anymore in the series.


King of Swords: (Assassin Series #1)
King of Swords: (Assassin Series #1)
Price: £2.37

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Returned for refund, 18 Jan 2014
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Agree with the rest of the 1-star reviews. Hard to feel anything for the characters. And I discovered I wasn't interested in the Mexican drug cartels this book is based on. So maybe it's just a matter of taste. Too much dark and not enough light. Loads of violence if you like that sort of thing. After awhile you get desensitised and it's like watching the news. No different from extreme books of the same genre, I suppose, and probably reflective of reality. But I had high expectations of Russell Blake based on the reviews of this and Jet. Also returned Jet for refund. I think Russell Blake is a fine writer, although he tends to get a bit pompous at times: I think he used "post-prandial" to describe an after-lunch snack - that's just a bit too pedantic for me. Not enough in the story to keep me hooked. I'm going back to Scot Harvath, flaws and all - at least there's a character that's likeable and makes you laugh and smile.


Hidden Order (Scot Harvath Book 12)
Hidden Order (Scot Harvath Book 12)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not one of Mr Thor's best, 17 Jan 2014
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I bought this book because I'd read my way through the list, and was suffering from Harvath-withdrawal. So I paid £10.99 for the Kindle version and I don't know if it's worth £10.99 really.

With each book, Mr Thor tries to stretch himself by pushing the boundaries of the thriller genre - that is the hallmark of a writer who wants to improve. However, I don't know if he quite pulls it off in this novel. This novel is a thriller-cum-police-procedural. I found the police bits dragged the action down. And the historical lectures on Boston left me yawning [sorry, Bostonians!]. And the ending twist re. the villain was reminiscent of a Lincoln Rhyme.

My question is: where is the Dwarf? Why has he suddenly vanished from this novel? I really liked him as a character, and his Ovcharkas. Please, Mr Thor, bring him and the dogs back!

SPOILER:
In previous Harvath novels, as soon as he gets the girl ... ka-boom - she gets blown up. The good news is that finally ... (touch wood) he meets a girlfriend who at the end of the novel is still alive!


The Apostle (Scot Harvath Book 8)
The Apostle (Scot Harvath Book 8)
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Brad Thor is a star find, 17 Jan 2014
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I stumbled across Brad Thor in another author's review. I checked him out and was in two minds about reading his books because of the relatively low number of reviews. I'm so glad I took the plunge.

Apart from a cringeworthy howler (The Athena Project and the Athena team who are really Charlie's Angels rehashed) and some novels which are OTT on the terrorist conspiracies [is there any part of the US that hasn't been bombed in the Harvath universe?], Mr Thor is a great storyteller. Even when his characters are extreme (e.g. The Dwarf), he makes them believable, and likeable.

This is one of the best books I've read on black ops and PSCs in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan people and politics. I love the buddy banter and witty exchanges - that's what gives the Scot Harvath books such realism. Light moments balanced against the dark.

I think what Mr Thor is trying to do is stretch himself with each book, by going all out, asking the question: "what if the worse were to happen", extrapolating the worse-case scenarios, writing his protagonist into tough spots, and getting him out. Mr Thor also pushes himself to explore controversial topics. And I admire that because it shows that he doesn't want to get stuck in a rut, but it can lead to books that are less than believable.


The Devil's Waters (A USAF Pararescue Thriller Book 1)
The Devil's Waters (A USAF Pararescue Thriller Book 1)
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched, but dull - returned Kindle book for refund!, 17 Jan 2014
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The author has done a lot of research about Somalian pirates, and the political situation and the Seals. But the resulting book felt like a cut-and-paste of the research. And his Seal protagonist comes across as very serious and dull. All the Special Forces books I've read have always had buddy banter, which is part of soldiering. This book takes itself too seriously - it's too intense, and there are not enough light patches to give relief.

After about three chapters I'd had enough and returned it to Amazon Kindle for a refund.


The Last Man (Mitch Rapp Book 13)
The Last Man (Mitch Rapp Book 13)
Price: £3.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, don't know what the fuss is, 17 Jan 2014
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Sorry, don't know what the fuss is about this book.

I bought it to wean myself off Brad Thor's Scot Harvath series after reading favourable reviews made by reviewers of the Scot Harvath books.

Yes, it's a very good analysis of the situation in Afghanistan, and the in-fighting and politics amongst the various US government factions. But it was just so serious. I could not warm to Mitch Rapp at all. He came across as a robotic killer, featureless and humourless.

Very disappointed as it was my first Mitch Rapp and I chose this because it had the best reviews.

I have returned the book to Amazon Kindle for a refund.


JET
JET
Price: £2.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Returned book for refund, 17 Jan 2014
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This review is from: JET (Kindle Edition)
I bought this to wean myself off Brad Thor's Scot Harvath series, thinking that the product sell of "non-stop action" was just what I needed. Yes, non-stop action, but after awhile, after the umpteenth perfect kill, desensitisation sets in, and it's like watching a console game. It was a case of too much, too quickly. The protagonist, Jet/Maya, is cobbled from Lara Croft, Tara Chace and other kick-ass female operatives in black ops. I felt no sympathy for her despite the fact that she had one of those troubled childhoods. This book has made-for-movie all over it - 2-D characters and stereotype villains.

I made the rare decision of returning the Kindle version for a refund!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2014 12:43 PM BST


Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0)
Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0)
Price: £0.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ender's Game disguised, 17 Jan 2014
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Just started reading it, and the only way I got through the opening chapter was by skimming it - it was supposed to be a battle sequence, but it was dull and there was no hook. When the denouement came - that it was a simulation, I groaned: oh no, a variant on Ender's Game, but without the cute kids or memorable personalities. If it hadn't been a free download I would have returned it for a refund. Sorry - I know it takes a lot to write a novel, and praise to the author for finishing, but one only hopes the sequels are improvements.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2014 2:09 PM GMT


Full Black (Scot Harvath Book 10)
Full Black (Scot Harvath Book 10)
Price: £5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Another girlfriend dies, 10 Jan 2014
SPOILER:

Every time Scot Harvard gets a girlfriend ... ka-boom! Who would want to be his girlfriend? I question this plot device - does it represent something darker in the author's subconscious?

And more on the hidden-organisation-pulling-the-strings of the world plot, plus a bit preachy on the technology.

Not one of his better books, but still readable.


The Athena Project: A Thriller
The Athena Project: A Thriller
Price: £2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Charlie's Angels in disguise, 10 Jan 2014
Just started reading Brad Thor - read 8 of his books non-stop past midnight. They're heavy on escapism and terrorist-plot paranoia and hidden-organisation conspiracy theories, but I swallowed them because Mr Thor is a good storyteller and keeps the plots going, and his tradecraft seems spot-on.

The Athena Project is the only one which made me wince - I only kept going in the hope that the novel would improve. This is Charlie's Angels in disguise and has made-for-movie all over it. The "gals" are painted as sex-crazy operatives. There's buddy banter, but it's all about picking up guys, and and I quickly tired of the wise-cracking. Plus the plot is verging on the edge of incredulous - it's sci-fantasy plus Charlie's Angels. The worse and most unbelievable of the books so far. Very sad I read it because it dragged the average standard of the books down.

SPOILER:
BTW - re. his other books. Everytime Scot Harvard gets a girlfriend ... ka-boom! Who would want to be his girlfriend? I question this plot device - does it represent something darker in the author's subconscious?


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