Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review: The First Rule, by Robert Crais

When my package arrived in the mail a week and a half ago, I was excited and slightly nervous. After I randomly posted a review for French Women Don’t Get Fat on my blog, I’d been asked (again, randomly I suppose) to review a similar book in my spare time.
I’d been excited about that one’s arrival too. Then it came, and I was stuck on page 7 for a month. Page 8 took me three weeks to get through, and so on.

The book was horrible.

So bad, in fact, that I’m not mentioning it, or its author, because I don’t think anything is worse (not to mention classless) than to smear somebody on my blog. That said, I won’t lie either, so I was left in a quandary.

I literally COULD NOT read more than a page of the book without sighing in disgust. Seriously? I thought. So I sent an email asking what to do. “Sorry about your quandary!”, I received in a reply, “Can we send you another? Just to make it up? No pressure!”

Of course I accepted, and a weekish later, The First Rule arrived. I don’t ordinarily read this sort of a book. It’s a thriller, with an ex-mercenary hunting down folks who killed a friend of his. There are fight scenes, and prostitution rings, and a warehouse full of Chinese rifles, not to mention a stolen baby. Lots of drama. And who’d’ve thunk someone could write an exciting fight scene?


The book started out slow. I couldn’t quite work up a liking for the main character, named Pike (very warm and fuzzy), for quite a while. He was dry and a little cheesy, like the book. But not in a way that put me off, rather in a way that made me chuckle. That particular kind of cheesiness is par for the genre, and it reminded me what I was reading.

So for a couple of days, I picked up the book here and there and finished a chapter or two at each sitting. I like short chapters. They make the already fast pace zoom by even more quickly, and give a feeling of matter-of-factness that fits nicely with the gritty subject matter.

By my third or fourth day reading it (being about 1/3 of the way finished), I decided yesterday morning to just finish the darned thing. Why not? I had some time to kill, it was Sunday, and I may as well be able to right the review, no? Oh, and one other reason. I COULDN’T PUT THE FREAKING THING DOWN.

As I said, I don’t normally read this type of book. And the reviews on the back cover called it both fast-paced, and slow building. How can a book be both? I still don’t know if I could figure the answer out enough to put it in a bulleted list, but I can say that Crais definitely knows how to merge the two aspects into a fun and exciting book.

There were some twists in the second half that I didn’t expect, and maybe I had to read a couple of paragraphs over again because of the tangled plot, but I don’t consider that a bad thing. I like dense story lines.

So, the big question. Should you read this book? Well, if you want something life-changing and inspirational, then no. But, if you want a nice escape and a fun read, absolutely! I may just have to pick up another book or two from this series…

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