Tag: Action

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp

Posted April 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Thriller / 0 Comments

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick ThorpTitle: Nothing Lasts Forever (Goodreads)
Author: Roderick Thorp
Series: Die Hard #1
Published: Graymalkin Media, 1979
Pages: 246
Genres: Thriller
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Retired NYPD Detective Joe Leland visits his daughter in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday period with her. He meets her at her place of work, the 40-story office that houses the headquarters of the Klaxon Oil Corporation. Only to find the building been taken by a group of Cold War-era German terrorists. Lead by Anton “Little Tony” Gruber, their plans are to steal documents that will publicly expose the Klaxon Corporation. With the help of LAPD Sergeant Al Powell, Leland must fight the terrorist one by one to save the hostages, and more importantly his daughter and grandchildren.

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp was re-released in December 2012 after being out of print for 20 years and if you haven’t guessed it by now, this is the novel Die Hard is based on. My biggest issue with the book was it was very similar to the classic movie (which I’ve seen so many times), yet it was missing all the one liners and humour. Most of the most iconic scenes do come from the book, including crawling around the elevator shafts, C4 down the elevator shaft, jumping off the roof with a fire hose and the gun tapped to his back. I’m surprised just how faithful to the book the movie does seem but then when you expect him to say “Now I have a machine gun, Ho Ho Ho” or something similar Leland says something similar but different and it just doesn’t feel right.

The similarities seem to be so numerous that it is almost pointless to read the book, especially if you know the movie back to front. The major differences between the book and the movie (not including names and slight character changes) include that Terrorist were really out to expose the company rather than  robbing them and the ending was less Hollywood in the end. I feel this is one of the rare cases where the movie outshines the book, even if it is similar overall the movie was amazing and the book was fading away into obscurity (up till the rerelease). McClane is a far better character than Leland but interesting enough the book seems to focus a lot more on the complexity of the protagonist’s mind in regards to family, guilt and his alcoholism but I felt it didn’t work too well.

The book does feel like it’s aged too much, the political views on terrorism seem so dated, but if you read this book as just an action novel you probably can overlook this and even forgive it. I never was able to do this, I just felt like their responses to the hostile takeover felt wrong and somewhat amateurish. This is obviously to make sure Leland had to remain the single man that can save the 72 hostages but part of me was a little annoyed by that. One man taking on the world makes for a great story but I’m always bothered by that and while it’s entertaining in a book I feel like I question it more than I would with a movie.

Nothing Lasts Forever is a little darker than Die Hard but there is no real competition when comparing the two. Die Hard is a classic action film and spawned some great (and terrible) sequels. The book was interesting to explore but really there are more books out there that deserve the time; stick to the film. Interestingly enough, Nothing Lasts Forever was intended as a sequel to the 1966 film The Detective starring Frank Sinatra, then as a follow up to Commando (1985) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both actors declined the role; after being rewritten, the script turned into a standalone film which has become one of the greatest Action movies of all time.

Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

Posted April 18, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Fantasy / 0 Comments

Ex-Heroes by Peter ClinesTitle: Ex-Heroes (Goodreads)
Author: Peter Clines
Series: Ex-Heroes #1
Published: Broadway, 2012
Pages: 274
Genres: Fantasy
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

There are not more no super villains for these Crusaders for justice but a zombie apocalypse has given them a new challenge. Hulled up in a film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount, these heroes do their best just to survive in a world overwhelmed but these hungry corpses. While the ex-humans walk the streets night and day these superheroes can no longer call themselves heroes, they are fighting to survive like everyone else; they are Ex-Heroes.

This book has been a little bit of a success story as of late, Peter Clines published the first two books of this trilogy with a tiny little publisher known as Permuted Press. But it was not until one of the editors of Ready Player One got sick of Goodreads recommending him this series did things change. After finally caving and reading Ex-Heroes this editor loved the book so much that he went out and acquired the series for Crown Publishing group. Now this book seems to pop up everywhere, and the new buzz has really brought new life into this book.

I really like the concept of superheroes in a zombie apocalypse; they are no longer heroes, they have to fight for survival just like everyone else. Yet there is a part of them that wants to still protect the innocent and they do try. There is this whole inner turmoil coming out in these ex-heroes that I love, this is the end of the world and while they want to be heroes again they need to think about their own lives as well. The conflict within themselves is what drew me to this novel the most.

Sure, there are other wonderful zombie apocalypse elements within the book, it is jammed pack with action and yet there is a story arc  that feels very much like a super villain’s rise to power which I think will develop over the next few books too. Also you will find a heap of nerd references in Ex-Heroes; not really to the same extent to Ready Player One but they are there and for a nerd like me they are always fun to discover.

Ex-Heroes feels like an attempt to try something new in the Zombie Apocalypse genre. Blending his love for Superheroes and Zombies, Peter Clines has produced this wonderful action-packed adventure that is worth checking out. I’m interested to see where the next couple of books take us and wish Clines best of luck for the future success of this series.

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Posted March 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Science Fiction / 0 Comments

Retribution Falls by Chris WoodingTitle: Retribution Falls (Goodreads)
Author: Chris Wooding
Series: Ketty Jay #1
Published: Gollancz, 2009
Pages: 384
Genres: Science Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

While sky piracy is not what Darian Frey wants, fate has not been kind to the captain of the Ketty Jay. Along with his crew, Frey finds himself involved in an attack that goes horribly wrong resulting in them being on the run. Hunted by the elite Century Knights and bounty hunters, the airship goes into hiding in the hidden legendary pirate town Retribution Falls but only to discover just how deep this conspiracy runs.

Most of the people would compare this book to the cult classic TV show Firefly; a band on misfits on the wrong side of the law struggling to make things right. Sure there are some similarities and that was the main reason I picked up this book but it really isn’t the same. Firefly has these great complex characters that somehow gel together really well, but in this book while they do seem to mesh well, the complexity of the characters is missed. There are some characters like Jez and Malvery who have the complexity to make great characters but I feel like the author Chris Wooding showed his hand way too early by revealing big secrets that tell the reader just who they are. I’m sure there are other secrets to these characters but with such a big reveals, it’s lost something and now the characters are just two dimensional.

Retribution Falls is a fast paced adventure story but without anything special about the characters, it just becomes an entertaining book with no surprises. Captain Frey is the most annoying, scared character I’ve met in an adventure story; I really don’t know how you can lead a group of pirates if all you want to do is run and hide. This really destroyed the book for me; while there was a hint at complex characters (up until half way through), the coward of a captain really didn’t work for me, especially in the situation they have gotten themselves into.

Adventure trying to be a conspiracy of world domination worked in parts but it wasn’t as strong as it needed to be to make this book special. The narrative and plotting was so basic that most things felt predictable and empty threats. This story continues onto two more books in the series and while entertaining there is nothing holding my interest.

A homage to Firefly that fell flat on its face, this book is a good example of what not to do; never reveal to much of the characters and don’t try to be complex in such a short period of time; it doesn’t work. I won’t be continuing the series unless I hear good reports about it. While I did enjoy reading this book, it really lacked in so many ways. The target audience wasn’t even for young adults so I’m not sure what Chris Wooding was trying to do with this book, but for me it didn’t work.

Literary Bête Noires: Villains

Posted September 15, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Bête Noires / 0 Comments

I’ve felt like my blog is starting to be overrun by book reviews and there is less to do with random book banter than I would like. So I plan to rectify this with introducing some more regular segments. In this one, I want to look at thinks that I find in books that either annoy or don’t sit right with me. Everyone has pet peeves with literature, it can be topics that have been overdone, cliches or just the way people seem to write. So I wanted to go though some of my literary bête noires as a therapeutical way to vent and maybe generate some interesting conversations in the comments.

The first literary gripe I want to look at has to do with villains. If you are writing a book and the villains are Russians, Chinese, or Middle Eastern then you have pretty much lost me already. There are other countries that annoy me to a lesser extent. But it’s not really the country that is the problem, all the writer is doing is generalising the people by making it sound like that the entire nation is full of villains; that is just plain lazy.

Alright it’s understandable if you are setting it in a war but when writing a thriller how about mixing it up a bit try something original, that’s all I’m asking. This formulaic approach to villains are one of my biggest problems with action or thriller novels. As soon as you enter into overdone territory with villains you’ve lost me.

There are more elements I find annoying with villains in literature but I mainly wanted to focus on nationality for this one. Please let me know your thoughts on villain nationality or villains in general and if you have any other insights on the topic that I’ve missed.