The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well, I wanted to like this as much as the other ones, but it kinda devolved into a Buck Rogers scenario full of Lensman tropes and Galaxy-colliding proportions. Not that this kind of thing can't be fun if done right, and I was perfectly prepared to roll with it, but Jack West Jr. gets kidnapped ten years after the previous books to perform for insane royals who style themselves Hades? For the SAKE of being the grand hero that saves the universe?
Trials of Hercules? With a 30's SF bent? With... you guessed it... pit fighting AND traps? TRAPS? Do these ever feature strongly in these books? NO WAY!
I don't mind it if I go into a book series that stretches credulity. I didn't mind sun spots boiling the earth and being saved by the missing capstone of the Giza pyramid. No problem. I didn't mind the G.I. Joe plot of racing toward getting the mystical stones to rule the world in the second and third novels.
But self-styled gods sacrificing legendary heroes throughout history for... oh gosh... pick your conspiracy reason? Credulity officially broken. :) I like being pulled along for delicious rides and the previous ones were delicious, but this one felt old and spread too thin like too little butter over a piece of toast.
Not to say that the pacing wasn't good, because it was. And there was enough action for any Die Hard fan. Plenty of pathos, too. But it requires a major suspension of belief, and I *THOUGHT* I had that in spades! Don't I enjoy all the UF? All the Fantasy? All the SF? Well of course there's exceptions to everything, but for the most part, I'm fully on board... but this one wasn't even *really* SF and yet it was flying way out beyond the far reaches of cuckoo land. :)
Yeah, you see that galaxy shaped like the original swastika, not the one the nazis used? The galaxy traveling ten times faster than light on a gravity wave? Yeah. You see Jack West Jr, ten years older and a bit flabbier? Okay, Huntsman, Save Us.
*ducks and runs from his friends who swear by the series*
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