The first half of this book starts out slow, confusing and frustrating.  I liked the first scenes and they drew me right into the book, but then I sort of slogged through until about 50-60% of the way, which was when it really started kicking in.

A lot of the story was pretty predictable (even many of the twists).  There was one thing I never saw coming, only really figured out what they had planned as it was happening and then I was thinking, "Oh shit, he's doing that?  We're screwed!"  And by "we," I mean the good guys.  I really liked that part.  It was probably my favorite part of the book.

One interesting aspect of the book is that, like with many ancient myths, there isn't a whole lot of happy endings.  Things just get really messy, really bloody, and while things work out in the end, it's sort of a conditional good ending.  I guess, really, that's a good and bad thing in the book.  I got pretty invested in some of the characters only to see them go through great pain and/or die.

Other than how slow the first half of the book was (I trudged through it and only because I promised to review it), I was a little frustrated with him constantly using terms without explaining them.  I know more about Islam and Muslim culture than the average American and I was constantly stumped by words he used.  He also frequently used spellings I'd never seem before (or rarely seen).  For example, though I have seen Ra spelled Re, I have never seen Set spell Seth (even though it is an alternate spelling and that's probably just my ignorance).  Didn't realize they were one and the same until I looked them up, and I used to be fascinated with Egyptian culture.  Even at one time learned to write using hieroglyphs.  I'm not sure if his writing Najjal for the Islamic "anti-christ" was a typo or just a mistake since it is actually Dajjal.

I also had a hard time reconciling true myths and roles various gods played in them to the myths in the book, though I largely attributed that to artistic license.  For example, Seth is not evil.  He doesn't even represent evil.  He represents chaos and I think the story would have been much more interesting if the author capitalized on that distinction.  Also, Seth is responsible for sending the dead onto the afterlife, which made it weird that, in the book, he required sacrifices that prevented people from entering the afterlife.  Sobek, associated with Seth in the book, was actually companion to all in the Egyptian myths.  He didn't choose sides but aided Seth, Isis, Horus, and Ra.  He was actually closer associated with Horus than Seth (who was his father in some myths).  Just some interesting little tidbits.  I'm no expert.

The last scene is the only time in the entire book that I laughed.  In closing, the story was dark, complex, and with engaging characters.  Some might not have had as much trouble with the first half that I did.  I might have just been in a mood.  Who knows.  If you're a stickler for Egyptian mythology, I'd say stay very, very far away.  Other than that, it's a decent book.  The second half was spectacular and will have you emotionally involved with the events and characters.  Lots of action, intrigue, and mystery.

Book Description

Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.

Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.

To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.

When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.

“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.

“'24 Bones' is a winning debut. It's well-written and well-plotted, studded with drama, action, history and mythology. There's even a little romance. The conclusion is thrilling with the final outcome of the battle between good and evil held over until the very end...leaving you guessing until that very last page.” SF Crowsnest.

about the author

After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

4/14/2013 10:20:27 pm

Thanks for the review, Danielle, and I mean that sincerely! If you or anyone has any questions, I'm happy to answer them. :)

Danielle Forrest
4/15/2013 11:11:04 am

You're quite welcome. It's always refreshing to give reviews to authors that truly appreciate them.


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