Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Thoughts - The Fire by Katherine Neville

The Fire by Katherine Neville
published 2008
451 pages

Synopsis -

2003, Colorado: Alexandra Solarin is summoned home to her family's ancestral Rocky Mountain hideaway for her mother's birthday. Thirty years ago, her parents, Cat Velis and Alexander Solarin, believed that they had scattered the pieces of the Montglane Service around the world, burying with them the secrets of the power that comes with possessing it. But Alexandra arrives to find that her mother is missing and that a series of strategically placed clues, followed swiftly by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious assortment of houseguests, indicates that something sinister is afoot.

 1822, Albania: Thirty years after the French Revolution, when the chess service was unearthed, all of Europe hovers on the brink of the War of Greek Independence. Ali Pasha, the most powerful ruler in the Ottoman Empire, has angered the sultan and is about to be attacked by Turkish forces. Now he sends the only person he can rely upon-his young daughter, Haidee--on a dangerous mission to smuggle a valuable relic out of Albania, through the mountains and over the sea, to the hands of the one man who might be able to save it.

My thoughts -

Well, this was a disappointment. Actually, it kinda wasn't, given that I'd seen a whole list of reviews telling me this book just did not live up to its predecessor. Sadly, I agree.

I've seen several reviews that say the novel started strong, and then lost steam in the middle. I disagree. I feel like this novel was a convoluted mess from the very beginning. "Mystery" characters that weren't very mysterious, "secret" conversations that (surprise, surprise) weren't very secret, and an entire secondary plot that was basically abandoned halfway through the book.

It just seems like Neville didn't have enough to say - like she needed a 500 page novel, but she really only had enough story for a 300 page novel, so she just added a bunch of poorly wrought confusion and hoped the reader wouldn't notice. Interestingly, there are places where the novel is genuinely intriguing and even a bit thrilling - it just isn't sustained nearly long enough to be an overall enjoyable reading experience.

My advice - pretend this one never even happened. The Eight is still a fantastic novel, and stands on it's own quite nicely. Just let it be the end of the story. You won't regret it.

Finished - 2/20/16
Source - my shelves, #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks
MPAA rating - PG-13 for some violence and scary situations
My rating - 2/5


Kailana said...

There is something really intriguing about that cover.... Too bad the book didn't live up to it!

Aarti said...

Oh, no! From glorious to meh is a steep decline. At least The Eight was good. Sequels can be hard :-)

I feel like Katherine Neville sounds like such a familiar name, but I've not heard of either of these books. Maybe it's just because the name Katherine is so popular and Neville is from Harry Potter, so I am putting those two together...