I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book Crash, Book Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.
Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:
- One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
- Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
- Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
- Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
- Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy
Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!
The Four Books of Etretat: Book Two of Four (Volume 2) by Matt Chatelain
I usually do not agree to read an entire series, but the sample I read of The Caves of Etretat, Book One of Four (The Sirenne Saga) made me decide to give this entire four book series a chance. Here is the description of Book Two:
THE SECRET OF IMMORTALITY REVEALED In ‘The Caves of Etretat’, Canadian bookstore owner Paul Sirenne was thrust into a quest for answers in the town of Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery hidden in the pages of ‘The Hollow Needle’, by Maurice Leblanc. Together with Leblanc’s great-granddaughter, Sirenne unearthed puzzles, codes and historical mysteries, exposing a secret war for control of a cave fortress in Etretat’s chalk cliffs. In Book Two, ‘The Four Books of Etretat’, Sirenne discovers the reason for the hidden war: the secret of immortality. The Abbey, a thousand-year old organization, dedicated to chasing the oldest immortal on earth, known as the Greyman, has given Sirenne control of the caves and its secrets, apparently preparing him for a confrontation with the Greyman. Unfortunately, the serial killer who killed Sirenne’s father, Weissmuller, has discovered this knowledge before Sirenne. Now an immortal and constantly dogging Sirenne’s steps, Weissmuller seems to be playing a game of his own. ‘THE FOUR BOOKS OF ETRETAT’ is the second in a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems. THE SAGA CONTINUES
The Caves of Etretat, Book Two of Four: The Four Books of Etretat was more exciting than book one and many of the dialogue issues I had with book one have been worked out in this book. I was also intrigued by the unfolding mystery of the caves.
I enjoyed the use of dream imagery to aid Paul Sirenne in his unraveling of the clues LeBlanc left for him to solve and I thought adding the monks and the various Watcher groups into the story added a great bit of intrigue.
Although there was plenty of action in this book, there was also still a lot of tedious information to go through.
The biggest problem I had with the mystery of locating the books was the number of specific chess references. I suppose if you enjoy, or at least understand the game of chess, these parts would be easily absorbed, but for me, someone who knows very little about the nuances of the game, I found it difficult to wade through. In fact, it threw me out of the story and made it too easy to put the book down.
I was also a bit irked by Paul Sirenne’s alternating reticence and seeming egotism. Granted, the hero has been pushed into a role he doesn’t really want, so his reticence is understandable. However, there are moments when he throws of his usual persona of working with his team and begins ordering people around like some kind of “lone cowboy.” The change was confusing because it felt like he was going against his nature.
While I’m sure it wasn’t intended, the Americans in the story made me laugh. They were more or less caricatures of every movie I’ve seen where the military decides to go in with guns blazing because their motto seems to be “Shoot first. Ask questions later.” There were no redeeming qualities to these characters, no reason to feel they were in any way justified in their thinking.
I also found the Weismuller Recollections unnecessary to the story being told. They were very interesting, but they seem to have little bearing on the present day action of the main story.
While there is a lot more action and believable dialogue, I would only recommend The Four Books of Etretat: Book Two of Four (Volume 2) by Matt Chatelain if you plan to finish the entire series because it will be necessary to understand books three and four.
- Free for Review