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Customer Review

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst book ever written!!!!!!!!!, 4 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Seven Ancient Wonders (Hardcover)
An open letter to Matthew Reilly (I've just noticed you can't use italics here, which is a shame as I used a lot)

I can honestly say that 'Seven Ancient Wonders' is the worst book I have ever read. Actually that's slightly misleading as in reality I only lasted to page 25 because I couldn't take any more of the half-dimensional characters you wrote running up the inside of a mountain with oil gushing everywhere, crocodiles dropping out of the ceiling and bullets wobbling about. If only I were exaggerating.

Perhaps I'm doing you a disservice Matthew and your books are aimed at people who can't actually read? You seem to supply a remarkable number of diagrams and you are incredibly generous with your use of italics so we can't mistake when something 'exciting' is happening. This is particularly thoughtful for non-readers as they will be able to work out what's happening from the pictures and impress friends and family by pointing at the exciting bits in the text.

If I didn't know better I would have assumed you were a friendless 13 year old who still had trouble writing their own name but it turns out you are actually an Australian lawyer. And that would have been my second choice.

Anyway Matt I thought it might be helpful if I offered up some pointers to make your books more ... er ... readable. Or just readable. Or even better, just make you stop.

1. Italics. Rule no. 1 - Don't use them. Rule 2 - if you have to use them use them sparingly. Italics don't make things any more exciting in the same way that people who constantly describe themselves as 'zany' aren't necessarily zany. Rule 3 - when you use an italic at least check you are putting it on an exciting word. I can only assume you have accidentally set your 'italics randomiser' to 'on'. Please switch it off.

2. More is not necessarily more exciting. Being charged by an enraged bull is exciting . Being charged by 12 bulls is not 12 times more exciting. Being charged by 12 bulls ridden by mutant crocodiles is even less exciting. It's just silly.

3. More is not necessarily more exciting. No, I'm not repeating myself. Your characters managed to break into an impregnable mountain; invent an anti-bullet device; solve several ancient mysteries; avoid millions of booby-traps; and outwit 2 international gangs all in the space of a page and a half! Some lesser authors could have taken just one of those elements and made an entire well-written gripping novel out of it - but not you. I think the motto for your writing style would be 'if in doubt add another thousand booby-trapped holes spewing oil and crocodiles'. It takes a special mind to realise that there is only one thing scarier than crocodiles dropping out of holes and that's oily crocodiles dropping out of holes. Masterly.

4. Characterisation. This is advanced stuff that possibly hasn't reached Australia yet so let me enlighten you. Giving someone a vaguely cool name and telling us that he's ranked the 4th best soldier in the world (oh, please!) doesn't count as fleshing out a character. No doubt I'll later find out he has a sexy scar and he 's the strong silent type - now I really do care if he lives or dies. (the italics indicate sarcasm not excitement in case you are confused).

5. Inventions. We all love cool gadgets and I was no exception - until I read your book. Let's be clear about this, there are gadgets and there are gadgets (Wow, these italics really can become quite addictive). As soon as you start straying into the territory of the 'Anti-Shark Bat Spray' from the sixties Batman TV series you know you've gone too far. Within pages you had already produced your 'Anti-Bullet - I'm Beginning To Lose The Will To Read Any More Of This Drivel Device'. I have no doubt that several more inventions will make an appearance during the course of the adventure and no doubt each one will be more far fetched and ridiculous than the last. I'm sure I would have particularly enjoyed the 'Anti-Tank Turn It into A Potted Plant Ray' and the 'Most Awful Book I've Ever Come Across I Think I Will Gouge My Own Eyes Out Device'.

This list could go on and on but I have to stop now for my own sanity. In an unexpected move I have produced an homage to you and your book. I couldn't hope to replicate your singular writing style as I did actually learn English at school but I've done my best. You are welcome to cut and paste this into your next book.

CHAPTER 6: Pachydermal Nightmare

The six men and the little girl in the Hover Wheelchair tumbled out of the gaping maw of the Giant Statue's mouth just as several enormous explosions shook the ground beneath their feet making them all fall to the floor.

'Get up and run,' roared Captain Jack Mayhem. He scooped up the small slim figure of the girl whose terrified huge blue eyes desperately searched for him. 'Come on Princess', he said with sudden tenderness 'back in your flying machine.' She only had a moment to touch the ugly but still beautiful scar that slashed down one side of his face before she was whisked back into her Hover Wheelchair and the group began sprinting across the jungle clearing.

The ground still rumbled under their feet but now they could hear a new sound. A sound increasing in volume and coming up rapidly behind them. Still running the group turned as one to see stampeding out of the same mouth they had only just left - elephants! Twenty! No, thirty! No, fifty elephants!

Mayhem's second-in-command, 'Tigershark' Adams, caught his captain's eye made a flicking motion by the side of his head and shouted 'We're not going to make it to the trees in time!'.

Mayhem had come to the same conclusion and he knew what Tigershark had been indicating - the elephants were armed with laser gun head sets. They were doomed!

The captain stopped and faced the charging elephants and the rest of the band turned with him. A tall scarecrow like figure known as 'Scarecrow' stood panting next to him. He quickly pulled open the battered leather briefcase he always carried around with him.

'If you're not wearing sunglasses , look away', he bellowed. The elephants were barely 20 yards away now their laser sights automatically homing in on the small band of warriors. Scarecrow lifted up a torch like device with round glass bulb at the end. He flicked a switch and an eerie burst of mauve light shot out of it in all directions.

The effect was immediate as the elephants trumpeted in panic and swerved wildly away. It was carnage as the central section of the charging elephants cannoned into each, several were bundled to the floor and were trampled by those behind. The noise and panic rose as the elephants desperately tried to get away and in the maelstrom the small group could see the flash of out-of-control lasers.

Mayhem stood transfixed until he felt a small tug on his shirt, he looked down to see the princess.
'Captain Jack, I want to go now please. I don't want to look at the elephants any more.'

He squeezed her hand and called to the others and they headed back towards the trees and possible safety.

'... it's something I invented that affects the brain cortex through the optic nerve. It makes the brain flood itself with every nightmare image it possesses all at the same time. Simple device really.'

Scarecrow was being modest but it didn't stop a huge satisfied smile covering his face. It really did look like they were going to make it.

A hail of machine gun bullets suddenly ripped up the ground down one side of their flank and they all flung themselves to the floor.

'Helicopter gunships!' Shouted Jinks pointing up. 'About 37 of them.' More bullets spat around them. 'And that's not all, they seem to have something strapped underneath them.'

Mayhem narrowed his eyes as he identified what they were. More elephants! Only these were the elite Black Ops elephants. They were packing parachutes and even more worryingly they were wearing sun glasses!

........................................ ad nauseam
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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jan 2011 17:29:41 GMT
Outstanding review, thank you. I was laughing out loud as your sample chapter unfolded.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2011 10:19:38 GMT
Really pleased you liked it and admire your patience reading it all.

I really couldn't believe how untterly inane that book was and I was getting more and more exasperated with it. What really pushed me over the edge was a question and answer session at the back of the book where Matthew Reilly explained his creative progress and told us mere mortals how many film deals he had in progress. I'm afraid that was when I snapped and initially sent him my response as an email. I doubt he ever saw it and so my daughter suggested I put it on Amazon instead.

You'll be pleased to know i have no intention of turning my homage to Mr Reilly into a proper book because I think he's causing enough distress without me adding to it.


Posted on 6 Apr 2011 09:34:23 BDT
A. Steel says:
Brilliant review!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2011 09:50:06 BDT
Thank you.

Posted on 9 Jun 2011 20:36:31 BDT
kenpat says:
I said something similar in a review of one of his other books but without the wit and humour of yours. Great review.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2011 09:40:12 BDT
Thank you. The 'wit and humour' were my only substitute for not acually being able to physically shake him.

Posted on 4 Jul 2011 19:30:50 BDT
AlphaZulu says:
Point/rule number 4 made me laugh so much, it's so true, it's just enlightening, and your prose at the end was brilliant, thanks for sharing! I haven't finished the book, but I can pretty much know what'll happen next: Firefight, gushing oil, chase scene, blah blah blah.
Funny thing is I really liked Icestation, but the books after that just fell so flat that dissapointment didn't quite cover it,
Thanks Vic Whaleskin,

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jul 2011 10:11:26 BDT
If you are still reading it you are a braver person than me.

Thanks for feedback.

Posted on 9 Jul 2011 21:34:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jul 2011 22:08:39 BDT
Managed to get to page .... oh there are no page numbers ...well chapter ...oh there are no chapter numbers ...... oh well ....... not even a 10th of the way through the book and it's been thrown across the room .... unbelievable, badly written, Mathew Reilly may I suggest you go back to Law! Excellent review!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2011 08:05:01 BDT
Thanks. Nice to hear from a fellow sufferer.
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