SubterraneanI finished another novel today. I read Subterranean by James Rollins. Hopefully, someday, somehow, the computer (aka: hate machine) will magically be fixed. Otherwise, I will soon run out of books to read. Seriously. And I have a lot of books.

According to the author’s site, this is his first novel, published in 1999. The synopsis is:  Beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth is a magnificent subterranean labyrinth, a place of breathtaking wonders – and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists led by archaeologist Ashley Carter has been hand-picked to explore this secret place and to uncover the riches it holds. But they are not the first to venture here – and those they follow did not return. There are mysteries here older than time, and revelations that could change the world. But there are also things that should not be disturbed – and a devastating truth that could doom Ashley and the expedition: they are not alone.

Well, I was not thrilled with the book because the “bad guy” is the Egyptian Muslim dude. He’s a terrorist. Shock. And he has no qualms about killing a Navy SEAL, a young boy, or womenfolk. This stereotypical characterization is annoying.  Anyway, the other major problem that I had with the book was a mystical device. One of the main characters has an undeveloped innate ability to communicate telepathically with a species of natives in the underground world.  Its straight out of Darth Vader-meets-Spock. And, basically, while I can suspend a lot of skepticism, this was too much. For this story, anyway. There was plenty going on without having to bring in more “stuff.”

As far as the setting – the scenery and the descriptions are vivid, but I couldn’t get a mental image of anything. I felt like anytime the characters were in a tight claustrophobic place, I had mistook it for a wide open canyon. And vice versa. It was hard to negotiate the subterranean world – although I suspect the author had the place all laid out nicely in his imagination. There were some minor storyline problems…. the main character, Ashley, falls in love with the other main character. They only really know each other for a short time before they are madly in love with each other. And frankly, with them being lost, stranded, and embattled deep underground, I really doubt this is a valid plot device. Its understandable, but it does make the reader go: “oh c’mon!”

Finally, my last complaint is that it sort of just ended. There was a page and a half of “epilogue” which is way too hasty. I guess, there were a bunch of obvious questions that were not answered (e.g. is Ashley pregnant?)  Still, for a first novel, this wasn’t too bad. It just had some things that I wasn’t prepared to swallow hook-line-and-sinker.

3 stars

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