Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Book Review: The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence (The Red Queen's War #3)

All good stories must come to an end. With a heavy sign, I reluctantly turned to the last page in The Wheel of Osheim, waving goodbye to Jalan and Snorri, whose epic sagas, known as The Red Queen's War, have spellbound and dominated much of my spare time in the past two weeks. I do not know when a story of such excellence will come knocking at the gate to my reading world again, but I know brilliant authors of the fantasy genre are busy at work to bringing us quality novels. Meanwhile, The Red Queen's War trilogy is entering my ever-growing list of favorite fantasy series. I tell you, The Wheel of Osheim brings a sublime ending to, in my opinion, one of the best fantasy trilogies of the 21th century.


Prince Jalan slogs in a desert wasteland under a scorching sun. In his pocket Jalan carries an ancient gift from Loki, The Liar's Key, which he bore out of hell itself to be delivered as a price to his cunning and fearsome grandmother, The Red Queen. But where is Jalan's friend, the fierce viking warrior, Snorri? As the fate of the Norse warrior lies in mystery, Jalan tries to leave the nightmare of hell behind. He toils to journey north, back to the kingdom of Red March, where he can finally exchange The Liar's Key for the return of his debauched life; a life of wine, women, and wagering.

The mind of the universe, however, does not cooperate with the plans of men. Deep in the bowels of The Broken Empire sits The Wheel of Osheim, an ancient, powerful device from the time of Builders. It mounts Builders' dooming magic as its wheel spins faster and faster, threatening to crack the world and bringing an end to all things. That is, unless someone or something can stop the wheel. This is when a key that can unlock any door becomes very handy, such as Loki's strange gift. 

Just like that, the survival of the world suddenly depends on the actions (or inactions) of a craven prince and his trickster key. But how can anyone trust the fate of the world on someone as selfish and spineless as prince Jalan? Well, if the world cracks then there is nowhere to run and hide, so perhaps when push comes to shove, the certainty of doom may yet force a coward into performing deeds of wonder?

My thoughts on this book:

I wish the story of Jalan and Snorri never ends. Had The Wheel of Osheim been longer by 500 pages I would nevertheless read it gladly. This novel is marvelous, and I don't think anyone can ask for a better ending than this book. 

The Wheel of Osheim picked up the story from the cliff-hanger finish in The Liar's Key. The story is told in the first person, from the perspective of Jalan, who found himself trapped in a desert wasteland. The reason for Jalan's predicament is not given to the readers initially, but it is revealed gradually at the progression in this book. In this novel, Jalan is still a coward. He is still far from being a paragon of virtue. Jalan would still lie to save his own hide, and he would still hold a child in front of him as a shield. But in this book, I could clearly see that Jalan is not the same person from Prince of Fools - the character development is amazing! By this book, Jalan has traveled a perilous road and he has grown in wisdom if not in courage. Meanwhile, I continued to smile toothy grins at Jalan's misadventures. Despite his many flaws, Jalan's cowardly thoughts greatly amused me, and I found Jalan a relatable character because his moral compass points to a murky gray.

The story of Jalan exemplifies the genre of grimdark fantasy, because just like the real life, this story is set in a world where nothing is black and white. Its protagonists are also not as simple as good and evil. Jalan, like the rest of us, is just a human being limited by the human condition. He does what he thinks is the best under the circumstances he was given, and his choices and actions are neither good or evil. I mean, before you want to judge Jalan, you should ask yourself if you could have done better under the same circumstances. Grimdark fantasy has a realistic way to do characterization, and it is far superior to the “all or nothing” worldview painted in Tolkien and C.S Lewis novels where characters are often caricatures of real people (I mean, Odin's beard, don't get me start talking about my objection to The Chronicles of Narnia, where, through the character of Eustace, C.S Lewis grossly vilified informed skepticism. I hate those books because of it). This is also why grimdark fantasy remains the champion in my reading domain.

Snorri is the second protagonist in this sweeping saga. For a large portion of this book, however, our fierce Viking warrior is missing in action. So a reader may have questions about Snorri's whereabouts. I do not want to spoil the story, so let me just say this unstoppable Norseman, along with other characters from the earlier book, did rejoin Jalan's final adventure to stop the breaking of the world. I also believe most readers will be very satisfied with the way this book tied up the story of these characters at the end.

In my reviews for The Liar's Key and Price of Fools, I mentioned the story of Jalan is set in a post apocalyptic world, where humanity has spent centuries in recovery after a disastrous event wiped out our civilization, and mankind has once again, reached a civilization level of the medieval equivalence. Jalan's world has “magics”, and there are also traces of remnant technologies from the bygone era. In the previous books, the author did not fully reveal the history of Jalan's world, and no explanation was provided for the origin of its “magics”. The Wheel of Osheim, being the conclusion of this trilogy, provided all the missing pieces in the puzzle. Readers of this book will finally have a complete picture of what happened in Jalan's world, and where its magics are coming from. I was very impressed by the way Mark Lawrence brought together these things. Yes, setting a fantasy story in a post apocalyptic world has been done before (such as Jack Vance's timeless work, The Dying Earth), but in this book, it is a wonderful and creative transition from fantasy to science fiction, and the premise is convincing. In my opinion, Mark Lawrence has demonstrated why he is among the best fantasy novelists of our era.

The last paragraph in The Wheel of Osheim made me grin from ear to ear. It was hilarious! At the same time, I felt a bit sad at bidding Jalan and Snorri farewell. The Red Queen's War trilogy is great and I want to read it again in the future. Gentle readers, I heartily recommend this black gem to you. If you are fond of fantasy novels akin to A Song of Ice and Fire and The Farseer's trilogy, then I believe you will love The Red Queen's War.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Book Review: The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence (The Red Queen's War #2)

The Liar's Key stands proudly as the second installment in a dark epic of three parts, The Red Queen's War. This trilogy, grim in its story but humorous in its tone, features a very fascinating world, where readers follow the misadventures of two unlikely friends; a cowardly prince known as Jalan, and a fearless Viking warrior called Snorri. The journey of Jalan and Snorri opened with an excellent novel, Prince of Fools, and continued in The Liar's Key. This sequel exemplifies the modern fantasy literature, where it creates a wonderful fusion of science fiction, grim dark fantasy and Norse mythology.


In Trond, inside a tavern that stands wavering against the chill blast of the northern wind, prince Jalan rose from a warm bed to greet another wintry morning. He desires nothing more than returning to the luxurious and the decadent life of his southern palace. But the winter stands in Jalan's way, turning the land into a frozen tundra and putting all travels to the south on hold.

However, Jalan is not the only one who is burning with the desire to journey south. His friend, a Norse warrior called Snorri, is also eager to leave, to embark on a suicidal quest to challenge all of Hel, for the sake of bringing his murdered family back to the mortal world.

Snorri holds an ancient gift from Loki, The Liar's key, and it can open every door. Including the door to Hel. Jalan, on the other hand, does not like his friend's mad plan of rescue in Hel. After all, Snorri's quest may entangle them in a bagful of life threatening situations, none of it can be considered prosperous in the eyes of a craven like Jalan. But a series of unforeseen circumstances banded Jalan to Snorri, so a cowardly prince and a fearless viking once again, set out on a misadventure and becoming pawns in a game of Red Queen's war.

My thoughts on this book:

On Goodreads, I rated Prince of Fools five out of five stars. So how does one rate a sequel that is even better than its 5/5 predecessor? If I could award The Liar's Key with six out of five stars then I would do it. If you liked Prince of Fools, then you will love The Liar's Key.

Prince of Fools gave readers an initial impression that Jalan and Snorri lived in a pseudo, medieval European world, one that is typical in the fantasy genre. As the story unfolded, however, readers gradually came to realize the story is actually set in a post apocalyptic world, our world. Where a thousand years has passed since an apocalyptic event destroyed our civilization, and mankind has once again climbed to a phase equivalent to the medieval era after spending centuries in recovery. Meanwhile, we were also told that people in Jalan's world use magic. So how does the magic work, and where did the magic come from? This is where the story of Jalan takes a twist and blends fantasy with science fiction. Prince of Fools gave off some hints and clues about the origin of this “magic”, but it did not fully reveal its history. In The Liar's Key, its author provided further clues to solve this puzzle, where he introduced readers to an extinct group of people known as the builders, an apocalyptic event called The Day of Thousand Suns, and a “magical” place known as The Wheel of Osheim.

With a bit of imagination and deduction, most readers should be able to figure out those terms are referring to us, and our technology. A reader comes to realize, a pre-scientific civilization would use those terms to describe the inventions from a world of advanced technology (for example, imagine in a pre-scientific culture, if a group of desert nomads encounter a spacecraft then how will they describe it? A chariot of fire, perhaps?). Having said this, while The Liar's Key did provide further clues for piecing together the history of Jalan's world, but it did not reveal everything. Instead, the author cleverly shrouded the origin of its magic in further mystery, giving his readers a glimpse of what really happened in the past. Meanwhile, we get a sense that everything in this book is paving the way to a grand finale, and the answer to this puzzle will play a major role at deciding the fate of Jalan's world. This book added suspense to Jalan's story, and by the end of it, I was very eager to read the sequel.

Other than mounting suspense, The Liar's Key also excelled in its character development. As its predecessor, the story here continues its narration in the first person – that is, Jalan is telling the story. The first person narration takes readers into Jalan's head, witnessing his thoughts and feeling. This narrative worked especially well here because we are following the story of a coward on a dark adventure. Yes, in this book Jalan is still his cowardly self. He is still the kind of person who would hold out a child as a shield. While Jalan is not the most despicable protagonist in the fantasy genre (Stephen Donaldson's creation, Thomas Covenent, holds that title), but he is definitely not a paragon of virtue. Far from it. However, Jalan's flaws and cowardice also made him a very relatable character. I mean, how many adult readers can relate to a flawless and mighty hero such as Aragorn? In The Liar's Key, Jalan didn't become more heroic, he became wiser. Jalan also matured and he begins to see things differently, sometimes even selflessly. It is amusing to see that Jalan felt disturbed at finding himself developing a conscience. In the first book, Jalan was the prince of fools. Is he is still a prince of fools in this book? I leave my gentle readers to decide for themselves, after they spend sometime with our dear prince. But it suffices to say, Jalan's misadventure often tickled my funny bone.

Aside from Jalan, The Liar's Key also cast Snorri as the second protagonist. In this book, our fearless viking takes on a role of a support character, albeit an important one. Snorri continues to surprise me, as the story revealed this unstoppable viking is not just a barbarian warrior of the fantasy archetype. This novel also introduced two new characters, Kara and Henan, both of them played major roles in the story. These two characters developed a dynamic friendship with both Jalan and Snorri. Together, this band of mismatched adventurers set out on a remarkable journey, and this book told their story in a perfect pace, not too fast, and not too slow.

It is very rare, when the quality for a middle book in a trilogy surpasses the first one. The Liar's Key is bigger and better than Prince of Fools in every way. This book not only expanded all the good things from the first book, but it also paved the way to a promising finale, titled, The Wheel of Osheim. If you like fantasy novels but you haven't read The Red Queen's War trilogy, then I really think you are doing your reading world a disservice. Meanwhile, if you have already read Prince of Fools, then you MUST, I repeat, must, read The Liar's Key.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Book Review: Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence (The Red Queen's War #1)

Last week, I flipped to the first page in Prince of Fools, and read:

I’m a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play, or bravery.”

Hurrah! I instantly fell in love with this novel. At last, I have discovered another black gem, emitting the grimness and the darkness of those tales from the age of 'heroes”.

Prince of Fools, written by Mark Lawrence, a renowned fantasy novelist, is the first installment in a trilogy called The Red Queen's War. Who is Mark Lawrence? How can you not know Mark Lawrence? All right, if you are not a reader of the fantasy literatures then we can forgive you for not reading Mark Lawrence's works. But if you enjoy reading books from authors such as Joe Abercrombie, George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobbs, or Steven Erikson, then you are committing a capital offense against your reading world by not reading his books. If you belong to the later category, make haste to a bookstore or a library, and pick up a trilogy called The Broken Empire (A.K.A, the thorn guy. Come on, George R.R. Martin have also read the books about this thorn guy).

A few years ago, with The Broken Empire trilogy, Mark Lawrence made a debut in the literary world. It was an instant hit. Following the trilogy's conclusion, Dr. Lawrence set himself on a quest to weave another trilogy, and Prince of Fools was born.


Prince Jalan Kendeth of the Red March stands gloriously on the cobble-stoned street of Vermillion. His handsome face, beaming with a radiant smile, lends grace to a powerful frame 6 foot tall, and casting the very picture of an ideal royalty. Aside from his good looks, Jalan has a reputation for valor too. “The hero of Aral pass”, they said, when our young prince fended off an invading army all by himself!

All right, all right. I can sense my fellow readers are about to cry, “cheesy” and “cliched”. So let me tell you the truth about Jalan instead. After all, everyone loves the truth behind a twist in the story, heh?

The truth - our dashing, romantic prince Jalan is a gambler, a drinker, and a seducer of women. Jalan has never acquired a proficiency in a useful skill, but he is very good at being a coward and it lends him some sort of invincibility.

Jalan's decadent life ended, on a night when he attended an opera in the city. By a freakish accident, Jalan became magically entangled with a fierce Norse warrior. Together, this duo, one a cowardly prince who is not afraid of being spineless, another a valiant warrior who is afraid of being craven, set out on a misadventure to undo the malicious spell that binds them. Along their journey, Jalan uncovered a reality; his heroic peer and his cowardly self are pieces in a game of war, controlled by his fearsome grandmother, the Red Queen.

My thoughts on this book:

I love reading and I read books from many genres, but fantasy literatures will always be the champion in my reading domain. I cannot pinpoint the reasons that attract me to the fantasy genre. Perhaps one day I will sit down, and pen an article to discussing the virtues of the fantasy literatures. But for now, it suffices to say I adore fantasy novels because: 1) Fantasy books are (usually) well written, 2) Fantasy books usually have good characterizations, 3) Fantasy stories are usually set in creatively and wonderfully imagined worlds, and 4) Fantasy stories somehow reach us in a way that facts cannot.

Prince of Fools ticks all 4 items on this brief checklist.

Firstly, let me quickly discuss its writings. Mark Lawrence wrote fluidically and powerfully in this book. The author captured the characters and the scenes in fine details without bogging down the story's pace. Every scene in Prince of Fools, from a buzzing crowd in a big city, a slog on the country road, to a perilous battle on a frozen tundra, were depicted picturesquely, aiding its readers to envision and immerse themselves in the story's world. This book used the first-person narrative. That is, the story is narrated by the protagonist, and from his view only. While this narrating method may limit our explorations into the minds of other characters in the book, but a first-person narrative worked exceedingly well in Prince of Fools.

Why? Remember, we are following the journey of Jalan, a cowardly prince and a detestable character whose moral compass points to a murky gray. Especially when it comes to matters about saving his own hide. In this case, a first-person narrative takes readers into the head of Jalan, settling us at the front seat and bore witness to the inner struggles and the thoughts of a craven man. Let me just say Jalan's thoughts are hilarious, enough to warrant a laughter-induced coma, but it also disturbed me because I could relate to him. Jalan's narratives will reveal why he is the price of fools, but before you pass down a judgment on Jalan consider this; if a 7 foot troll, or a flesh eating zombie is chasing you, can you honestly say you will behave more valiantly than Jalan? And I think this the major strength for this book; readers will come to a disturbing awareness that its protagonist, a detestable character according to all our standards, is also a person who we can easily resonate with.

Other than Jalan, a second major character also played a centre role in the story. His name is Snorri, a fierce Norse warrior. Upon the first glance, Snorri appeared to be a stereotypical barbarian warrior. But as the story unfolds, readers will discover this fearless Norsemen is not without fear (I won't spoil the story). Furthermore, while Snorri contrasted Jalan in every way, but his character is also far more complex than meets the eye. I think it suffices to say, by the end of the story, I became very fond of both Jalan and Snorri despite their many flaws.

The trademark of the fantasy genre is a story setting in a creatively imagined world. The worldbuilding in Prince of Fools ranks very high on the scale of creativity. Initially, the story appeared to be set in a typical fantasy world, of pseudo medieval European culture, swords and magics. But as the story unraveled, I discovered the story of Jalan is set in a post-apocalyptic world - Our world. Jalan's story belongs to a time, hundreds of years after an apocalyptic event wiped out our civilization, and humanity has once again reached a level equivalent to the medieval era. But this book also has magics, so where are the magics stemming from? Without spoiling the story, let me just say Jalan's world has a VERY interesting “magic” system. This is where Prince of Fools traversed from fantasy into the realm of Sci-fi (I will quickly mention Mark Lawrence is a research scientist in artificial intelligence, and he deployed some knowledge from his trade in this book. But saying more will be providing too many spoilers).

I adore Prince of Fools. I can probably heap even more praises on this book and discuss its virtues endlessly. However, I believe my brief review already placed enough information into the hands of my fellow readers, those who have never heard of, and those considering to read this novel. My verdict, Prince of Fools is definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoy fantasy novels telling grim and dark stories colored in the shade of moral gray. As for me, it is high time for sailing into the next adventure of Jalan's, a book titled, The Liar's Key.

Until the next time, happy reading!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Book Review: The Mountain by David Lynn Golemon (Event Group Thrillers)

The biblical story about the great flood and Noah's ark is a topic causing heated debates. Archeological evidence does not support the case for an enormous flood described in the Bible. But The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian mythology predating the book of Genesis by more than a thousand years, told a similar story, almost identical in structure but different in theology, about a colossal flood and a mighty ark.

This discovery begs a question; did the bible copy the flood story from mythologies of ancient near east?

Historical context can shed light into this mystery. Modern scholars are rapidly reaching a common agreement. The flood story was very popular in the culture of ancient near east, and it exalted a pagan religion that also dominated the society at the time. During their exile, the ancient Israelites most likely encountered the flood narratives, then borrowed it, turned its theology upside down into a story exalting the god of Abrahamic religion instead. The “retelling” of the flood narratives would have served the polemic function for the nation of ancient Israel - a theological fight against their neighboring, pagan super powers, as well as provided an origin story for the Israelites.

I agree with the assessments from modern scholars. Their explanation not only fits the evidence at hand, but it also takes into account, the historical contexts, the motives, and the culture of the ancient near east. Furthermore, it would hardly come as a surprise for religious teachers to smuggle their own religion into a pagan culture, by borrowing a story about pagan gods and turning it into a story exalting their own religion instead. In fact, one can observe similar occurrences elsewhere in the history of Christianity. For example, during the Christianization of Scandinavia, in order to infiltrate and evangelize the pagan culture of Norsemen, Christian monks rewrote and retold, the Skaldic poems and the Eddas, turning stories exalting Norse gods into stories exalting Christianity instead!

These modern discoveries are raising good questions; or food for thoughts, if you like, regarding the claim that the Bible is the words from the creator of the universe. I leave my fellow readers to pondering on these fascinating questions. While the biblical story about the great flood and the prodigious ark are undergoing a reality check, but if this story is true and archeologists can unearth the remains of Noah's ark, then a mere glimpse of its glory would be enough to make a person dropping his jaw to the floor. An expedition to unearth the remains of Noah's ark may be an unattainable goal, but it certainly makes excellent materials for a thriller novel. At this point, I assure you that my introduction is relevant to the novel being reviewed today, and I hope you found the above information interesting.

Indeed, in The Mountain, the 10th installment belonging to a series called Event Group Thrillers, novelist David Lynn Golemon weaved an electrifying, paranormal thriller about the unearthing of the world's most legendary ark at the onset of the American civil war.


In 1863, the American Civil war moved towards a closure. War leaders from both the North and the South gathered to forge a secret alliance. This arrangement would charge a group of military elites, the best and the bravest soldiers from both Union and Confederate, on a secret expedition to unearth the truth behind history's greatest mystery. The expedition and its secret alliance would never enter any American history book. Nevertheless, should the expedition succeeded in its goal, the discovery alone would heal the war-torn nation.

As president Abraham Lincoln and general Robert E. Lee shake hands and sealed their secret alliance, Event Group was born. Under the leadership of Colonel John Henry Thomas, for the first time since 1861, the Northern Blue and the Southern Gray would stand alongside each other, shoulder to shoulder, and embarking on a perilous quest far away in the heart of the Ottoman empire, to unearth the fabled ark of Noah.

In the distant land, mount Ararat stood proud under the radiant sun. Its frozen peak concealed a secret, millennia old, and guarded by a dark, murderous entity who awaited for a time to unleash its horror on the planet. Would Colonel Thomas and his men uncover the ark? Or would they wake a chthonic terror and dooming mankind?

My thoughts on this book:

The world of thriller fictions is filled with tons of stories about treasure hunts. If the premise for The Mountain sounds familiar to you, then you are not alone in this. When I picked up this book from the library, I was expecting it to be another treasure hunt story too. As I buried myself into the bowels of the story, however, I soon discovered my original expectation was off centred.

I find it difficult to describe The Mountain. This book did employ the tropes from the thriller genre; the story revolves around a mysterious artifact, a pending global disaster, and a group of heroes racing against the clock to prevent the catastrophe from taking place. Yet, what The Mountain did exceptionally well is its in-depth, vivid characterization. I mean, words such as “fast-pace”, and “page-turner” usually accompany the selling points for most thriller novels on the market. The Mountain, however, vastly differs from many thriller novels because it is a character-driven thriller.

Set in the American Civil war, the author cast a handful of characters in this yarn. Some characters were Union soldiers, while the others were Confederates. These characters were forced into an uneasy alliance by their superiors, and charged with a mission to unearth Noah's ark. But tensions were strung tight in this “band of brothers”, because fighting in years of civil war had drilled too much hate and grief into both sides. Here the author depicted, so lively and wonderfully, the conflicting and dynamic relationship between these characters; how they started off as enemies but the perilous expedition gradually changed and united them. In this book, David Lynn Golemon showcased his masterful skills at character building and development.

This also means, in comparison to most books in this genre, The Mountain moved at a slower pace because the story takes its time to establish and explore the characters. It was almost if the treasure hunt was only a plot device to move the story along, but the real story was about the characters and their journey from rivalry to comradeship. This book is a slow burner, yes, but it is an unforgettable journey. This is a thriller that rewards a patient reader. On my way to return this book to the library, these characters were still lingering on my mind because I became very fond of them. If I have to describe this book in a few words, then I would say The Mountain is a unique mix between The Dirty Dozen and Indiana Jones, but set in the time period of the American Civil War.

The 10th installment in Event Group Thrillers did not disappoint me. I think The Mountain is an excellent addition to the series. This book is a prequel, and this is highly unusual considering 9 preceding installments were telling stories set in the modern day. However, I think The Mountain should be an excellent entry point to this series, because it narrates a stand alone story with no loose end at its conclusion. I would recommend The Mountain to readers with a keen interest in the thriller genre, especially thriller novels of a paranormal persuasion.   

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Book Review: Ripper by David Lynn Golemon (Event Group Thrillers #7)

 Who was Jack the Ripper?

A century has gone by since this ghastly murderer traversed the streets of Whitechapel, but the identify of Jack the Ripper remains shrouded in mystery. Speculations have flooded non-fiction books and documentaries, attempting to offer us clues as to who the Ripper could be. Meanwhile, the story of the Ripper has become something of a legend, touching our imaginations and inspiring a generation of movies, TV shows, and novels.

Good old Jack have appeared in a lot of yarns. So how about throwing Dr. Jackal and Mr. Hyde into the mix? Indeed, David Lynn Golemon, the author for Event Group Thrillers, brings us a heart pounding, claustrophobic adventure. It is a novel featuring two iconic characters of nightmare from the 19th century. It is called Ripper, and this book is not some penny dreadful thriving on cheap scares.


Blood and gore painted a dimly lit room into crimson red; its horror and stench drove the London policemen to the border of sanity.

It was 1888, and Jack the Ripper has struck again.

Ripper's last victim, whose body was hacked and slashed into a gob of flesh, bore little resemblance to a shell of a mortal kind. Ripper's latest kill, was the also the most vicious one up to date, instilling a lurking fear into the city's tormented soul.

Ripper's reign of terror, however, was about to end that night. London police and a secret organization unveiled the Ripper's identity. They confronted the monstrous killer in his lair. After a night of mortal combat, Ripper disappeared from the foggy streets of Whitechapel, leaving behind a haunting legend.

In 2012, Colonel Jack Collins and Event Group are on a desperate mission in Mexico, to wrench one of their own from the claws of a drug lord. Collins and his men clashed against the Mexican drug cartel, and together they resurrected, by accident, a sleeping monster from the past.

Jack the Ripper, is about to reborn into this world.

My thoughts on this book:

Two weeks ago, I picked out Ripper from a shelf in my local library and bore it home. I expected this book to be a detective/crime thriller tinged with a flavor of science fiction. Yet, when the time came to sinking my teeth into the meat of this novel, Ripper defied my expectation. I had expected a detective adventure, but this book turned out to be more like an episode from Resident Evil. That is not to say Ripper is a bad book. No, the 7th installment in Event Group Thrillers narrated an entertaining story that also moved at a fast pace. I had a great time reading Ripper, but this book paled in comparison to its predecessor.

My previous outing with Event Group Thriller was a novel called Leviathan, a mesmerizing book that captivated my imagination with a thrilling story and its cast of memorable characters. Ripper, on the other hand, delivered a story equally as energetic as Leviathan, but lacked the compelling characterization that made Leviathan so good. In this novel, the antagonists were stereotypical and wooden. Meanwhile, the main characters, such as Colonel Jack Collins and his team, were portrayed as typical action heroes, the type of action men who shoot and blast their way to a triumphant victory against the villains. It suffices to say, Ripper's characterization did not impress me. The heroes and villains in this book were uninteresting and flat.

Despite a shallow characterization, Ripper did succeed at telling a thrilling story and its suspense will make you biting at your nails. As I mentioned earlier, Ripper reminded me of a Resident Evil movie. This book told a survival horror story, and it was an atmospheric adventure where claustrophobia and tension would clutch you by the throat, compelling you to keep turning the pages until the end of the book. Meanwhile, Ripper also profited from David Lynn Golemon's incredible power of imagination. He weaved together the fabrics from Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jackal and Mr. Hyde, and created an engrossing tale both fascinating and macabre.

Ripper is the kind of book to read when you just want to curl up on a couch with a cup of tea in your hand. The book's characters may be dull and two dimensional, but one can easily forget these flaws and be entertained by Ripper, especially when its story began to unleash legendary monsters and shadowy nightmares upon your imagination. If you enjoy movies such as I am Legend and Resident Evil, then you will probably like this book too. I would recommend Ripper to those who are fond of sci-fi, survival horror type of books.