The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly–Book Review

 

Goodreads Blurb

There are 16 contestants, but only one will survive.

The last thing Jack West Jr remembers is arriving for a meeting at a top-secret military base with his family in tow. Now he awakens to find himself in a hellish scenario.
Jack has been selected to take part in the Games, a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfil an ancient ritual. If he chooses not to compete, both he and his daughter will be killed.

With the fate of the earth at stake, Jack will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight ruthless assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him to the limit. In the process he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms.

 

My Review

Rating: 5*

I cannot begin to describe my excitement over this book!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t read a good action book in a while. Maybe it’s because it feels like ages since Matthew Reilly‘s last Jack West Jnr book. Actually, it has been ages since his last Jack West Jnr book. Eight long years, to be precise. But now I’m rambling. And I’m rambling because, not only is this another adrenaline-fuelled rip-roaring yarn from one of the best action story tellers out there, it also has the mother of all spoilers that I really want to tell you about but absolutely won’t! I can’t! I mustn’t!

What I can talk about is how much I loved the premise of this book. It has a slight feel of the Hunger Games but for adults. Jack, amongst others, is kidnapped and taken to an arena in order to take part in the Hydra Games. In short, nine spheres have to be acquired from the arena—whilst also surviving what the arena throws at you—in order to save the world. The arena is creative, imaginative and utterly without mercy. The odds are definitely stacked against Jack in this one. And if you thought the Hunger Games were brutal, this is brutal squared. I don’t know how he does it but just when you think Matthew Reilly has taken Jack to the point of no return he pulls it out the bag.

One of the pluses of having waited so long for the next Jack West Jnr book is that Lily, Jack’s adopted daughter is now twenty and has a featuring role in this story. It was also cool to catch up with Stretch and Pooh Bear. I was totally absorbed by this book right from the beginning even if much of the foundation idea is somewhat unbelievable.

But that’s exactly what makes a Matthew Reilly book so engaging. You leave your disbelief at the door and hop on board the Matthew Reilly Crazy-train to Funsville.

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Widow’s Web (Elemental Assassin #7)by Jennifer Estep, Book Review

 

 

Goodreads Blurb 

I used to murder people for money, but these days it’s more of a survival technique.

Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town. 

Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back in town, she thinks he’s hers for the taking. 

Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.

 

My Review

Rating: 4.5*

Gin Blanco is still one of my favourite female protagonists, and Jennifer Estep is yet to let me down in her recounting of Gin’s adventures. Perhaps I’m just in a demanding or particularly picky frame of mind right now,(I get like that when I’m in writing mode) because, as much as I want to, I can’t give this book 5*. 

Why? I hear you ask. If you love the story and you love the writing, why not give it full marks? 

I only have one answer to that. For the first time in reading an Elemental Assassins book I felt the formula. This series, as with many ongoing series, does follow a formula, but usually with this series I don’t notice it. The story flows logically, with one or two surprises on the way, ending with Gin kicking ass. But with Widow’s Web it felt very similar to a couple of the earlier books, just with a couple of name changes. The result of that was it lacked a little of the usual Gin magic that I have become accustomed to.

That is the only criticism I have of this book. What I am enjoying is watching Gin’s development as a person, aside from her identity as The Spider. I very much like how this book focuses very heavily on Owen and his background, which I hope means we’ll be seeing more of him as the series progress. In fact, many of the characters that feature in this series are growing and changing, even Jo-Jo (g’wan, rude girl!) has a little twinkle in her eye. Thankfully, Finn has stayed exactly the same: flirtatious, materialistic, fiercely loyal, utterly loveable.

I wonder what book #8 has in store.