Thursday, May 27, 2010

Julie's Review: Black Rain

Summary: Mayan myth, including the much-ballyhooed 2012 doomsday theory, forms the backbone of this action-packed debut. Danielle Laidlaw, an investigator for a covert branch of the National Research Institute, sets off into the Amazon with a small group of mercenaries, renegades, rogues, and scholars to uncover the source of mysterious radioactive crystals, hoping to find an ancient Mayan city and a possible source for clean energy. Ruthless billionaire Richard Kaufman has his own plans for the technology and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means killing Danielle and her team. There are other dangers lurking in the rain forests, including a cartoonishly savage tribe of natives called the Chollokwan and a mysterious man-eating creature. A few sections seem unnecessarily padded, but the fast pace and nonstop violence will keep readers forging ahead.

Review: When I read the synopsis for Black Rain, I immediately thought of my favorite show, ALIAS, and that it could have been ripped from a plot. Well, now that I'm done that is both a yes and no answer. What the NRI (National Research Institute) is after could have been a Rambaldi artifact but the history surrounding the story, is definitely not ALIAS. I'm not into the study of Mayan culture so this book was highly educational for me, if not a bit confusing. Mr. Brown sure does know how to weave an action packed adventure. He also knows how to create some freaky beasts.

NRI Agent, Danielle Laidlaw has been saddled with quite a task; find the source of some crystals that were originally found in the Amazon in 1926. Um, good luck? So, she has to assemble a team of both mercenaries and civilians to find these crystals. She also can't tell them the truth of what they are looking for in the jungle. She knows this will put their lives in danger but she's willing to take that risk; it's her job.

Mr. Brown has a way of making you feel like you are in the thick of it. He describes everything in such a way that when they were on the boat, I felt like I was there floating along with the team. A great deal of the story is based on Mayan legend/folklore, which he does a great job with tying it up at the end. It also makes you think that sometimes the thing you fear most might end being the thing that saves you. I really can't go more into that because well I'd ruin the book for you.

The cast of characters are well developed and intriguing. Besides Danielle, I think my 2 favorite characters were Hawker and McCarter, for different reasons. Hawker was the brawn and McCarter was the brain. That being said, they both had a bit of the others characteristics in them as well. The Amazon itself, as you can imagine, is one big character. I'm sure it's beautiful but I'd probably get lost and come upon some unknown spider species and die of fright.

I will say, the very end wasn't my favorite. I'm not into doomsday prophecies and I felt that the ending definitely played into that hype of recent years. If he had left out a bit at the end I would have been wholly satisfied. I know why he did it but it doesn't mean I have to be fond of it.

That being said, I will read Black Sunwhen it comes out August 2010. I'm anxious to see what happens to the gang of characters and if all of them reappear.

Final Take: 3.75/5



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