I bet you when Matthew Reilly sits down to write a new book he probably thinks about how to make it more explosive than the last one. Matthew's latest book, The Three Secret Cities, is his most explosive and action-packed book up to date.
The Three Secret Cities is the 5th installment in the adventures of Jack West Jr, who, alongside Scarecrow, are Matthew's most enduring creations. The Jack West Jr. series, a hybrid of Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible, is among my favorite action thrillers of all time.
I have met Mathew in person while attending his book signing events. Matthew is a good bloke, and I once asked him if Hollywood has any plans to adapt his books into movies. He answered that the current focus of Hollywood is superhero movies, and since his books are big-scaled action thrillers so there is nothing on the horizon yet. But man oh man, if a studio ever decides to adapt one of these Jack West Jr. books into a movie, then it will be a visual spectacle to behold!
What is in the latest Jack West Jr. book? Without teetering into the spoiler territory let me just say this book follows the aftermath of The Four Legendary Kingdoms. This time, Jack and his trusty friends are on a hunt for three relics and three ancient cities of legendary proportion. Only with the relics in hand can they stop the Omega Event – an apocalypse to end all lives in the universe.
The Three Secret Cities made numerous references to ancient mythologies, and I liked how Matthew gave these old stories and legends a new spin so they have connections to the modern world. As with his previous books, Matthew's writings were pulsing with a cinematic quality. I could visualize everything he wrote as if I was watching an action movie playing out on the silver screen. Meanwhile the book's explosive plotline, moving at a neck-breaking pace, transported me to a world of treasure hunting, blazing guns and exploding aeroplanes (and tanks) and I loved every page of it!
Ok, you probably noticed my recurring use of words such as "explode" and "explosive", and you might have even developed the impression the book is like a Michael Bay production, with fiery infernos and loud booms thundering across the land and sea. Well, while this book is explosive, but the quality of the story is much better than most action movies of the similar type. The book has a fair share of actane-driven actions, but Matthew also dedicated his considerable talents to build great characters and a compelling plot. The characters in this book are surprisingly deep and I cared about them. In this book Matthew did not hesitate at casting his characters at harm's way, and as a result there was a genuine sense of danger in this book. People die in this book and some chapters had moments that shocked me, while others had me biting my nails and paging through the chapter furiously to find out what fate had in store for these beloved characters.
I flew through this 430 page book in 3 sittings because I could not put it down. This is action thriller at its finest. There are very few authors in the world who can pull off this sort of spectacle and Matthew is one of them. The chart for best-selling thrillers is dominated by US or UK authors such as Lee Child, James Rollins, Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, so on and so forth, this is why I am very happy to see one Australian author standing proudly among these giants. A week ago I entered a reading slump, but The Three Secret Cities rekindled my appetite for reading and now I am eager to resume my bookish adventures.
Sometimes you just need forget your troubles and hop on a fun and thrilling adventure like this one. The Three Secret Cities is a damn good thriller. Get it, read it, and have fun!