Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mini-Review: This Green Hell

I read this book back in August, and because I am Officially Old, my memory isn't what it used to be.  I have hazy recollections of this book and I know that I enjoyed it, but I didn't adore it.  Beneath the Dark Ice, which is the first in the Arcadian series, is definitely the best.  That being said, I'm excited that Greig Beck is continuing the series.  I've had an ARC of Gorgon, which is book five, on my Kindle for several months now (sorry sorry sorry!) and I just need to suck it up and buy Black Mountain so that I'm all up to date on the Arcadian's adventures.

Right.  So.  This Green Hell.




Well, it was set in the jungles of Paraguay.  To be completely honest, I don't think much about Paraguay.  I suppose when it comes to South American countries that usually have coups d'état or dictators or drug runners or what-have-you, Paraguay has flown relatively low on my news radar.

This Green Hell reunites us with Aimee Weir, petrobiologist and one-time flame of Alex Hunter.  She's sent to Paraguay after a mining operation unleashes a deadly but potentially game-changing microorganism.  Naturally, despite being tough and full of bravada, she and her teammates Get In Trouble (uh-oh).  Alex Hunter, code name Arcadian, and a team of HAWCs (like deep black spec-ops, but I've never been good with what acronyms actually stand for, so, you'll have to guess and/or read the books) sneak into Paraguay and attempt to rescue the biology team.  There are also evil mercenaries to deal with (I think, unless I'm totally confusing this with a different book which was also set in the jungle ... of which there are many (both jungles and books, yes)) and the ever-present countdown to armageddon.  However, it's a pretty tried-and-true formula, and it works quite nicely here as a quick action/sci-fi read.

My only quibble is that we don't see enough of Arcadian in this book, but we hear a lot from Aimee, who, frankly, is a bit annoying.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of Arcadian, here's the rundown: Alex Hunter took a bullet to the brain that should have killed him.  Instead, the placement of the bullet activated some long-dormant abilities in humans.  Alex can run faster, jump higher, hear better, and generally do everything way, way, way better than anyone else.  Unfortunately, this also comes with serious rage control issues and the possibility of sudden death.  And before you say, "Oh, that's so ridiculous!" let us consider Spider-Man for a moment.

I have no love for Spider-Man.  He irritates me to no end.  Let's just reason on this superhuman ability acquisition comparison for a moment.  Alex gets his abilities from a neural trigger.  Since we don't know everything our brains can do, I suppose we could know how to slow our heartbeat or increase our sense of smell, but it's just buried in there underneath the neurons that help you remember your internet passwords ... or not.  Spider-Man gets his abilities from being bitten by a radioactive spider.  The way I see it, this has three potential outcomes.

  1. Nothing happens, because people get bitten by spiders quite a bit.
  2. He's allergic to spider bites, so it gets all itchy and red and maybe a bit weepy, but nothing a bit of hydrocortisone can't fix.
  3. He eventually gets cancer from being exposed to radioactivity.
Now, obviously that last one is the outlier of the bunch.  If that seems ridiculous, how am I supposed to believe that a radioactive spider bite turns you into a human spider??? 

Oh, and one more thing: I hope Beck backs off from the whole possible-love-triangle, because there's far too much of that in books already, and I have little patience for moony-eyed issues of the heart when what I really want is a solid guns-a-blazin', conspiracy theory, end-of-the-world thriller.  Is that so much for a girl to ask?



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