Monday, January 18, 2010

Book 55: The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks

Title: The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks

Pages: 368

How it was obtained: I either bought it at a bookstore, or perhaps my parents gave it to us as a gift. I think the latter.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 2 ½ years.

Days spent reading it: 2 days.

Why I read it: This book is the second book in the Fourth Realm Trilogy which starts with The Traveler. I loved The Traveler, this was a no-brainer to pick up and read.

Brief review: Take a dash of 1984, a hint of The Da Vinci Code, and add a sprinkle of spirituality and you have The Fourth Realm Trilogy. I fell in love with the story that began in The Traveler. It was fun, unique, and blew me away. The gist is that a group of bad guys known as the Tabula want to create a Big Brother kind of society. Technology is one way to oversee every part of a person's life. There is no privacy for anyone. The Tabula is resisted by a group of fighters called Harlequins. They live "off the grid." They avoid security cameras, refuse to be processed by "The Vast Machine."  They value complete freedom and privacy above everything else. But the real prophets of the cause are people called "Travelers." They are protected by the Harlequins.  Their task is to go to other realms and come back with ideas that always shake the institutions of the day.  This pits them against the Tabula's institutions at every turn.

John Twelve Hawks traces themes of freedom vs. security, institutions vs. free thought, love vs. reason, spirituality vs. science. Hawks is definitely paranoid of what governments are doing with technology, and he causes me to pause and think about what might really be happening. But some of his ideas are plain wacky. At one point in the book he states plainly the exact location of the Ark of the Covenant. A character just comes out and says where it is, like it is common knowledge.

But in the midst of these themes Hawks weaves a fun story. It is action packed. There is hardly a lull in the plot. And his characters, while a little one-dimensional, are also good contributions to pop lit. If you love girl power, you will love the main character, Maya. She is a beastly fighter who I would never want to meet in a dark alley.

I would definitely recommend picking up this series. It is a quick read, but it has a unique perspective on what is going on around us. And in the end, you might be a little more paranoid about being on the grid than you were when you first began. I look forward to reading the last book in the trilogy, it has been a good ride so far.

Favorite quote: "The Bronx Tabernacle of the Divine Church was an impressive-sounding name for two rented rooms above the Happy Chicken restaurant."

Stars: 4 out of 5.

Final Word: Paranoia?

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