Category Archives: action/adventure

#Review: Lexicon by @MaxBarry – Word salad punctures impenetrable walls? (3.5 stars)

Lexicon
Lexicon by Max Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My emotions while reading this book ran the gamut from engrossed to utterly confused to painfully bored and back to engrossed. I spent most of the time somewhere solidly in the middle, and thus rate Lexicon somewhere between 3 and 4 stars.

I’ve not read anything by Max Barry before reading Lexicon, but I was honestly impressed by the readability of this book. The subject matter would not have been something I’d have been interested in by itself, but this writing held my attention (for the most part). I am interested in other books he’s written, hoping that maybe the subject matter is a bit more in line with my interests.

The basic story here is about a group of lyrical gangstas in our midst. They train together and work together, seek out new recruits to further their lineage, and educate them to the best of their ability. Language, they believe, has the ability to pierce the filters and walls of the human psyche. Every person alive is vulnerable to a specific subset of these “magical” words, depending on their personality “segment”. This segment must be identified by the poet, or the linguist expert who’ll be doing the compromising, and the education to do so is acquired at a special & secret Academy. Invitation-only.

In Lexicon, the focus shifts so much from character to character that you’ll find yourself a wee bit whiplash-ed in deciding who you’re rooting for. Emily? Wil? Eliot? Harry? You wouldn’t believe it, but Bronte, too. Never Yates, though.

My biggest complaint about the book is the timeline. The two timelines in the book jump around quite a lot, with the endpoint being their convergence. I found myself believing that the converging had already taken place a couple of times only to realize that we were still in the past. It was at that point the “boredom” piece of this puzzle clicked in. If I was misunderstanding the time, then I was completely misunderstanding the events that just took place. I checked out for a bit, mentally.

But I returned. I completed.

The book ends with a bit of an eye roller about the depth of love and the vulnerability it brings. By this point I was D-U-N with the book and a bit relieved it was over. I wished that the love story had been a bit more developed, or the characters a bit more human. A couple of tangents about a brain tumor and delegates threw me for a loop, but overall this book is an engaging read written very well and worth the investment of time.

Maybe keep a piece of paper handy to keep the timeline written in visual form so that it’s easier to follow.

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The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins

eye of god

I like all of James Rollins’ novels. After first discovering his books last year I did a “Complete Alternate Reality Immersion” (CARI) and read everything he had published in about 3 weeks. That was 16 books. And I enjoyed every second of it.

Rollins is known for creating amazing quazi-historical, semi-real places… and then completely obliterating them. If you have read his work you know what I mean. You’ll be reading along thinking “wow, what an amazing temple/forest/cave” only to check yourself and almost immediately  think “how is Rollins going to blow it up?”

So it was with excitement and a wee bit of trepidation that I picked up “The Eye of God” last night.

Rollins delivered – again.

The Sigma Force team finds themselves trying to avert the end of the world. Literally the end of the world. And as in most of his books science and faith both play a large part.

On the faith side Monsignor Vigor Verona and his niece Rachel are back in the thick of it after receiving a strange package from another priest.

On the science side we meet a super smart astrophysicist with some complex theories on dark energy and a new SIGMA member with multiple science degrees and kick-ass combat skills.

While there is not nearly as much Painter as I would like (you can never have enough Painter) we do get to spend some quality time with Seichan and Grayson. Kowalski and Monk are back as well.

The huge blurry gray line that lies between science and faith is at the heart of this book. And Rollins does an excellent job of balancing the two. One of the themes running through not only his SIGMA Force novels, but many of his stand alone books and his YA series as well, is that not only are science and faith not mutually exclusive, they are actually incredibly intertwined.

One is used to explain and prove the other. This should end up seeming a lot less plausible than it ends up being. That is what Rollins does really well. Making Dark energy and quantum theory pair perfectly with St. Thomas and Genghis Khan = brilliant!

He also creates diverse and interesting characters who the reader is able to develop a connection to over the course of the series.

He also treats these characters as real people- meaning he sometimes kills them. And you curse outloud when he does it.

But if you like intelligent action stories liberally peppered with historical, religious and scientific awesomeness you need to read this.

 

Now… for some spoilers…. So if you haven’t read the book, stop now and come back when you have to read the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not kidding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok – I’m assuming you are here by choice, so here goes.

He didn’t blow it up!!!!! I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that the golden room in the awesome ice cave is all in 1 piece.

I love it – don’t get me wrong- but it is surprising to say the least.

But Rachel and Vigor are both dead. Talk about a double whammy. I really thought somehow Rachel was going to survive in our reality (not just the alternate one). Rollins prepped us for Vigor’s death,it still sucked, but we were ready for it. Rachel some out of the blue though. A real gut punch.

Seichan’s story  seems a little played out to be honest. I like her as a character, but I either want her to actually join the team or go away. To be clear – I think she would make an excellent team member.

I’d like to see Tucker Wayne back in the mix – I missed him.