Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Horrible tunnels

And once again, I have another reason for not falling for the hype. Tunnels, the first in a trilogy written by Brian Williams and Roderick Gordon, is just plain awful. What were some people thinking when they've described this young adult novel as the "next Harry Potter"? Were they high?

First, the premise is something we've come across several times already: a boy searches for his father in a secret underground civilization. The elements that keep the narrative going are so predictable that you can skip several pages at a time and still find your place. You're much better off reading Du Prau's wonderful young adult novel, The City of Ember. Or better yet, re-read your copy of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Aside from the unoriginal plot, the writing is terrible. Williams and Gordon just love those adverbs. Well, I love adverbs too. (Heck, they are essential parts of speech.) But I don't make it a point to insert one after every 5 words or so.
Will said quietly...
Rebecca said triumphantly...
Sweating and breathing heavily in the confined space, he began feverishly clawing at the dirt...
It was badly warped in the frame, but on the third attempt it suddenly gave...

I didn't even bother to finish Tunnels, although I did make it three-fourths of the way. It got me to thinking that, perhaps, having two authors doesn't help make the novel an excellent one. If anything, you get a highly uneven narrative. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan is so derivative of other vampire novels. The Pendergast novels of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are a hit-and-miss thing.

9 comments:

Charlie said...

Thanks for the warning, Peter. It makes me wonder how junk like this ever makes it into print.

As far as The Strain, del Toro has said the book is a forerunner to the movie he's going to direct . . .

Think "Money, money, money" by ABBA.

Peter S. said...

Hi Charlie! I actually reviewed The Strain. I didn't like it either.

Patrick said...

Haven't heard of this book before but yeah, thanks for the warning. Your review just reminded me of my reaction while I was reading this YA novel called The Alchemyst. For some reason, it's got good reviews at Amazon.com. And it's also dubbed as the next Harry Potter that's why I bought it. I finished it though there were several moments in my reading where I felt like I really wanted to give it up.

sumthinblue said...

I've always wondered how people co-write fiction, haha.

Thanks for the heads up on this book, I was curious about it because the title reminded me of Louis Sachar's Holes...

Have you tried the Bartimaeus trilogy? Of all the 'next Harry Potter' books, I liked that series. Oh, and Cirque du Freak also.

Peter S. said...

Hi Blooey! I haven't read that series yet. I'll definitely check it out!

Vivienne said...

Oh no! Is it really that bad? I have this one and the second one, but I haven't got around to reading them, maybe I won't now.

Patrick said...

@Peter: Listen to blue! Bartimaeus rocks! ^_^

weirdzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
weirdzz said...

Ayoko din ng tunnels. I hate it when they start comparing books as the next Harry Potter. I said the same thing after I've read it. I also love Bartimaeus great book. Du Prau's wonderful young adult novel, The City of Ember is one of my favorite book.