19 February 2010

Five Greatest Warriors (Matthew Reilly)

Having given him a relatively derogatory shout-out in my last review I decided Reilly deserved his own post for his latest literary offering.

Yes, I paid money for another Matthew Reilly book. This is the third in a series about Jack West, intrepid international hero and saviour of the world from the dark star, or whatever the hell he's doing in this latest instalment. I don't remember these books being that bad. A guilty pleasure of course, but a PLEASURE nonetheless. I'm an armchair action junkie- I don't ever want to find myself having to negotiate my way through a death-defying act (that one time on a trapeze in Club Med Bintan nailed that particular coffin shut) but I'm happy to eat a hobnob and read about other people doing it. Up until recently I would have put Matthew Reilly in that category. I was even a little bit excited to get Five Greatest Warriors.

Either my memory is dreadful and Reilly has always been this bad, or he has taken a significant down slide in the last couple of years. I hope it is the latter. I don't like to think there was ever a time when my reading was so lacking in taste.

This book wasn't just bad, it was horrible. It was the result of an author who isn't even attempting to cater to an audience whose demographic is anything but imbecilic. Perry Crandall would find it basic and he has an IQ of 76. (He is NOT retarded. One's IQ needs to be less than 75 to fall into that category).

It takes an especial talent to write dialogue that is so awkward I am forced several times a chapter to bury my head in my pillow and groan. Reilly is able to take seemingly innocuous words and render them ridiculous to the reader. Unfortunately, there is a restraint and sensibility to his writing as well. Reilly obviously knows his writing skills are nothing to boast about so he doesn't attempt anything fancy, thus never entering 'so bad it's good' territory.

I am not yet so old that I feel comfortable putting a book down without finishing it. As Her (Fictional) Majesty says in Alan Bennett's brilliant The Uncommon Reader- 'one was brought up to finish what one started.' Whilst I have not the blue blood of royalty running through my veins, I generally share this sentiment with Lizzie. I once worked with a gentleman who was in his 60's who said "When you get to my age you realise you don't have time to finish all the books you're not enjoying." Shudder. Depressing but true. At 24 I feel I have all the time in the world and, as is the plight of the young, I must therefore finish all the books I start.

But, dear readers, I could not finish this. Because, essentially, the distribution of this book has already squandered thousands of pages of paper and ink. Such waste. In the interest of moving towards a more prudent age, I cannot allow this book to also deplete my existing brain space.

Rating: 2/10.
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