April 19, 2009

The Amber Room by Steve Berry

I could have sworn I'd reviewed The Romanov Prophecy by Berry, but it doesn't come up in the search tool.

"But Marie," you may be asking, "why on earth are you reading Steve Berry's books? You thought The Templar Legacy sucked!"

Yes I did. And I still do. Some of you may remember I even wrote a spoof of this type of novel on my blog. But I am a sucker for History, and while Berry may be a bad novelist, his History lessons are pretty good, if not a tad biased and misguided as we saw in The Templar Legacy.

I picked up The Romanov Prophecy a couple months ago because I have a weakness for anything Romanov. It was good, much better than The Templar Legacy, actually almost believable. In fact I'd give it five stars. And I found out when I read The Last Tsarina by Carolly Erickson that his research was just about flawless. So when I saw The Amber Room, another Romanov-related piece, I grabbed it.


Turns out The Amber Room was Berry's first novel, and it shows. It would be a great book for someone who just wants the thrill of an adventure novel with car chases and shoot-outs and heroes dangling from precipices, but I'm really not into all that stuff. I want good research, a compelling story, believable characters, and intrigue. The only one of these that exists in this novel is the research.

All of Berry's female characters in this book are identical. Same woman, different hair color and a name change. They're all aggressive bombshell Bond Girls that treat men the way men usually treat women in these books. And Berry's men like it. The men are more varied, but they're all a bunch of cold fish, with the exception of bad guy Christian Knoll. He's the only character I managed to like. I got the idea that Berry liked him too, and that while he worked really hard to make Knoll appear bad, he couldn't help but pour all of his energy into developing that one character.

One thing Berry did in this book that was simply unbearable was to constantly repeat himself. There are three or four different sets of people looking for the same thing, and they each come across the same things at different times, and each time they do he must explain the thing all over again. It's like visiting a senile relative that can't remember that they already told you last time about the night nurse stealing their memory foam slippers. And the time before that. And the time before that.

But the worst crime Berry committed in this book is that he somehow made the story of an epic missing treasure boring. I was fascinated by the Amber Room before I read this book, now the very name makes me yawn.

But if you just want some good old fashioned Thomas Crown art action, you may love this book.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...