27 January, 2012

Review - The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

I have to admit, the cover got me. The cool looking sword, the hazy Big Ben in the background, the shades of blue, it's just a great cover. I'm sorry to say the rest of the book didn't quite live up to it.

For some reason I thought The Thirteen Hallows [US] [UK] [Kindle] would be YA, but that's far from the truth. It's probably because Scott wrote The Alchemyst series (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel). Lots of bloody rituals, sex, and more bloody rituals.

Thirteen people, the keepers, charged with watching over the thirteen hallows, powerful objects that when brought together, well, that's just a bad idea. Evil and bad with a touch of scary happens.

The thirteen keepers are charged with keeping their respective hallow safe and never to bring them together. Judith Walker is a keeper and she's noticed that, while the police and media aren't acknowledging it, the keepers are being killed one by one and she's number four...wait, sorry, wrong book.

Did I mention Judith Walker is 77? So, we start out with a 77 year old protagonist, and while I felt bad about it, I had a hard time with a 77 year old running around trying to solve a mystery. It just breaks all kinds of tension. It could have also been the fact that I was picturing a nonexistent walker. That really never helps.

Luckily, there are more people who get involved and Judith doesn't remain the main protag for very long.

So, why didn't I like The Thirteen Hallows?

It's pretty simple. The characters are pretty shoddy. They are stale and boring to be honest. There's nothing that makes you want to hang out with the leads, buy them a drink. They aren't even sympathetic. Sarah Miller is in her 20s and repressed by her parents, so she stays and continues to take it? No, I have no sympathy. Grow a pair.

And then the antagonists are just evil for evil's sake. They're killing children brutally (luckily we're saved from that description for the most part) and they revel in it, have sex in it. It was pretty disgusting actually. There's some attempt at explaining why they're that way, but I wasn't ever convinced.

I ended up sticking it out to the end, so The Thirteen Hallows wasn't terrible, it just wasn't good. Okay is really the best way to describe it. I really can't recommend wasting your time, there's too much out there that's really good.

2 out of 5 Stars (Just Okay)

Ps. If you were wondering, yes, The Thirteen Hallows does mention Harry Potter. Thought you were wondering. :)

Pps. No, it's not the same Michael Scott as you're thinking.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher


Bibliotropic said...

You know, I thought that it was going to be YA when I first heard of it, too. I was kind of pleased that it wasn't, because even though the story had flaws, it wouldn't have had nearly the same impact if it had been a YA novel, I think.

I had some more sympathy for Sarah, though. Maybe it comes from having been trodden upon by my parents for a good deal of my life, I don't know. My situation wasn't as bad as hers, but I could relate to her situation in more than a few ways.

But I definitely agree with you about the "evil for evil's sake" villains. They were a complex couple, in their way, and their relationship was twisted to the point where it practically hurts to contemplate it. But I've never been overly fond of antagonists who know they're bad and revel in it. Lust for power often helps put a person in that position, which we see in the novel, but Ahriman was effed up from a very early stage of his life.

Besides, I also find it difficult to think that someone who weaves complex plots the way he did wouldn't think that maybe, just maybe, there's some serious personal danger in attempting to release a bunch of demons! Protective circle or no protective circle!

Bryce L. said...

@Bibliotropic - I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking YA. :) That's pretty funny. I wondered if it was just me who wasn't a huge fan of Sarah, probably the case.

[spoiler] I thought the same thing! Didn't he realize letting in a ton of demons could be a really bad idea? Is he deliberately being blind?