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Search for the Buried Bomber (Dark Prospects Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I was really keen to read this - as I enjoy mystery stories - and I could not imagine why (or how) the bomber found its way so far underground.
But the story struggled - there was no real explanation of what or why - we followed the expedition (mostly of poor conscripted Chinese soldiers), who had to find their way through a maze of tunnels that might (or might not) have been built by the Japanese during the war.
And they get to the end... and things happen... but I have no idea what, and the story ends without explaining what is going on. Perhaps I got only half the book, and the remaining chapters were just missing?
very frustrating read, and the translation is a bit clunky.
Since the previous reviewer has covered the main highlights of the book, it would be redundant to revisit them here. Basically I found the reasons developed for a large Japanese bomber being underground somewhat implausible, so that much of the detail regarding the underground Japanese base is also questionable. Given what follows from the somewhat laboured rationale for the presence of the bomber, it would have made more sense, both from the Japanese military and logistical perspective and therefore that of the novel, if a powered dirigible had been used for exploratory purposes, rather than the bomber.The search party not only find the bomber, but also a great deal of infrastructure, involving a dam, massive power generation facilities and amongst other things, what can only be descibed as a cyclopean refrigeration plant, none of whose purpose is ever adequately explained. Taken together with the fact that there is no final denouement, I can only conclude that all will be revealed in a follow-up volume. I found this a somewhat turgid and unconvincing read, despite the underlying idea showing great promise; for me that promise was not realised.
At some point the sense of action and fear is lost in translation. Xu Lei has created a fun romp, but it feels at times that translator Gabriel Ascher took the literal meaning of the words, rather than the spirit they were intended. The book is also not helped by the fact that it is too open ended. You invest in the story, only for it to feel like part one of a larger story. This is not always an issue in a series of books, but some resolution must be given in each act if people are not going to feel cheated. As it is `Bomber' is an interesting, but strange book that is mostly worth reading for the unusual setting.
The plot is interesting and gripping (though a bit heavy going sometimes, which I attribute to the fact that it has been translated from Chinese - not an easy task, especially where subtleties are concerned).
The problem is the ending - or lack of it.
I am guessing that it is the first book in a series, and that questions will be answered later - as was the case with the Dust, Wool, Shift trilogy.
The difference, for me, is that the Wool trilogy had enough story/character/ending in each book to make it work as a stand-alone. This one doesn't. It feels like a great disappointment at the end, to the point where you actually ask yourself if some pages are missing.
Interesting to read, but ultimately fatally flawed.
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