Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves (no, it's not a YA fantasy novel)

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves (Shane Schofield, #5)Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book reads like a James Bond story on steroids. It's basically a running battle from start to finish, rarely slowing down to ease up on the running and gunning (and driving and exploding). In that way it's fluff candy for action-adventure enthusiasts, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but there are just too many really implausible moments for me to give it an enthusiastic recommendation. I'll say this much: at least Reilly knows his firearms. This in itself made the book more readable (listenable) than it could have been. Reilly is not a bad writer, in fact it's a telling thing that I made it to the end. I liked the characters, the dialogue is believable, the situation intriguing, the tech is cool, and the pacing is good. At some point, though, I realized that I was making the same pained face I made when I first watched "Van Helsing" (the Sommers film starring Hugh Jackman). The pain was from too many cartoony moments of disbelief suspended so thin it was beginning to fray and about to snap. No, wait, it did snap. Several times.

* * * Spoilers * * *

...like when our hero is electrocuted to death and then miraculously resuscitated via defibrillator, and immediately leaps back in to action. Want more of that kind of "getting blown across the room and through a window by an explosion with no apparent injury" type of thing? Read the book. The author also needs to bone up on how and why explosive compression works underwater. If an object sinks because it's open to the sea at multiple gaping points, it's not going to collapse catastrophically due to crushing pressure...because there is no pressure because it's open to the sea. And if our hero were in a water-tight compartment in said sinking object, which then would be in danger of structural failure due to high pressure, then he'd be awfully deep to swim to the surface for several reasons. Ask a diver. Ask any grade-school kid. Seriously. This is basic science stuff. Anyway, it was fun, but kind of goofy at times.

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