Sunday, 12 January 2014

Review: The Last Thirteen Book Two: 12 by James Phelan

The second book in the thrilling The Last Thirteen multi-platform series by James Phelan. This book takes us to Egypt and Rome in the race against evil. The Dreamers and the heroes from the Academy are often separated so there's a lot more going on than there was in Book One. The two biggest story arcs are the protagonist, Sam, recruiting another Dreamer and Alex's being kidnapped by the Enterprise, thereby sparking a brainwashing/betrayal story arc that is sure to pay off in future books. Unlike the first book, there's a little more violence as we see some real gunfire, more danger, and even some physical altercations.

We finally get a real showdown between Sam and Solaris, but Solaris' capabilities and his story are still shrouded in mystery. We've still got eleven books to go, so I'm guessing it'll be a while before we get the really juicy stuff about Solaris' powers and his past. Too bad.

The characters are flat, with most detail being left up to the reader's imagination. With a novel that will come to include so many important main characters, I think this works for the series. Book Two is a fast-paced read with lots of destruction and mayhem.

I was surprised and a little disappointed at Alex's willingness to forgive his parents and overlook their lies and the current situation, but the book moves fast so I guess we don't have time for his hesitation. Hopefully Alex's loyalty to Enterprise will be an exciting story arc that will be developing over the series. If you're looking for a book with great characterization, this series can't offer you that.

The book opens with a one page, bulleted summary of what happened in Book One: 13, which is a great feature. The books are short (about 200 pages), and include a few hand-drawn pictures to break up the text. Book Two:12 concludes with an exciting cliffhanger that will get readers anxious to pick up the next book.

I'm not sure how great the series will be by book thirteen, let alone book ten, since the books follow the same general story like clockwork: nightmare, travel to a new city, get pursued by the Enterprise/Solaris, track a powerful artefact, darts, gunfire, nightmares, cliffhanger. Hopefully Phelan has some plot twists up his sleeves that will keep readers interested and coming back for more.

3.5 stars

The Last Thirteen Book Two: 12 will be published February 1, 2014.
The Last Thirteen Book Three: 11 will be published March 1, 2014. 
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