Sunday, April 11, 2010
Book 24 - Altar of Eden
Not only is Altar of Eden a lightening quick, beautifully-crafted thriller, somehow, James makes me want to know more about genetics, and science, and animals, and especially lost islands named Eden.
Pulling his veterinary training into play (finally...woot!), Altar of Eden embodies similar awe-inspiring genetic science as Jurassic Park, except the reader isn't quite transported back to prehistoric times and instead of dinosaurs, we are introduced to a different race of animals altogether.
Sabre-toothed jaguars with creepy, advanced hunting skills. Parrots that can recite the full numeric sequence of Pi. Clusters of creatures who problem solve together - mind rattling hive intelligence.
And of course, a female scientist - and everyone around her - in grave danger. Over the years, I've heard time again James' philosophy on creating sympathetic characters - and he's employed several of his tactics in this book. Lorna and Jack make a compelling team, and their mysterious connection of the past creates a believable chemistry.
As always, the dialogue is vivid, the description enough to create realistic visuals, and the sensory detail...outstanding. On my checklist of the five senses, James nails them in almost every chapter. An impressive feat.
I've been known to discard a book or two based on the first chapter. No fear of that happening here. The prologue is powerful, if not downright chilling. And when I started the book, I read almost a third just to give me something other than the last line of the prologue to think about.
I know it isn't smart to judge a book by its cover, but it's worth noting that the cover art on Altar of Eden is exquisite. Much like the text inside.