Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Dark River

I don't remember anything about the first book in this trilogy, but I don't feel like I missed anything since the back story is well-explained at the beginning of this second book. The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks is not, though, a stand-alone novel, as it ends with a cliff-hanger. The author writes under a pen name and actively avoids publicity. There were several things I did not like:
  • some parts felt preachy -like he had a point to make here
  • the characters talked to themselves to fill the reader in
  • I thought the writing was episodic and choppy.
from the book jacket:
In The Traveler, John Twelve Hawks introduced readers to a dangerous world inspired by the modern technology that monitors our lives. Under constant surveillance of the ‘Vast Machine,’ a sophisticated computer network run by a ruthless group, society is mostly unaware of its own imprisonment. Gabriel and Michael Corrigan, brothers who were raised “off the grid,” have recently learned they are Travelers like their long-lost father— part of a centuries-old line of prophets able to journey to different realms of consciousness and enlighten the world to resist being controlled. But power affects the brothers differently. As The Traveler ends, Gabriel hesitates under the weight of responsibility. Michael seizes the opportunity—and joins the enemy.

THE DARK RIVER opens in New York City with a stunning piece of news. Gabriel’s father, who has been missing for nearly twenty years, may still be alive and trapped somewhere in Europe. Gabriel and his Harlequin protector, Maya, immediately mobilize to escape New York and find the long-lost Traveler. Simultaneously, Michael orders the Brethren—the ruthless group that has been hunting Gabriel—into a full-scale search. Gabriel yearns to find his father to protect him; Michael aims to destroy the man whose existence threatens his newfound power. The race moves from the underground tunnels of New York and London to ruins hidden beneath Rome and Berlin, to a remote region of Africa that is rumored to harbor one of history’s greatest treasures. And as the story moves toward its chilling conclusion, Maya must decide if she will trade everything to rescue Gabriel.

A mesmerizing return to the places and people so richly portrayed in The Traveler, THE DARK RIVER is propelled by edge-of-the-seat suspense and haunted by a vision of a world where both hope and freedom are about to disappear.

January Magazine calls it "uneven," says,
The Dark River can’t escape a certain episodic sameness, the cuts from scene to scene contrived rather than coming as part of the story’s flow...
sometimes reads like the novelization of a film, descriptions written in a shorthand that stands in for vivid, living prose....
much of it is derivative, not subversive, a mishmash of competing ideas and philosophies
and raises an eyebrow at the author's anonymity: "the author’s backstory rings with a certain contrived inauthenticity... The marketing ploy has worked well enough that the topic is popular on certain Web discussion boards." The New York Times doesn't like it nearly as much as the first in the series: "“The Dark River” deals in cherry-picked religious constructs and slightly enhanced versions of existing wonky phenomena." SFFWorld likes it. SFSignal gives it a good review, praising the prose style, of all things.

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