Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review: The Death Relic by Chris Kuzneski

The Death Relic (Jonathon Payne & David Jones, Book #7)
by Chris Kuzneski
Release Date: January 10, 2013 (first published 2011)
2013 Putnam Adult
Hardcover Edition; 464 Pages
ISBN: 978-0399158995
ASIN: B008ON40E2 (Berkley)
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5 / 5 Stars

Little remains of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations after being vanquished by the Spanish Empire. From the ashes of their cities emerged a unified legend: their conquerors possessed a mysterious artifact so powerful—so deadly—that it was known as the Death Relic. Despite its infamy, little else is known about the object, which was lost long ago.

When archaeologist Maria Pelati’s research team disappears in the Yucat√°n Peninsula, she enlists Jonathon Payne and David Jones to find them. As they embark on their perilous mission, they realize that Maria’s research could be the key to solving one of the darkest mysteries of the New World and unearthing the secret of the Death Relic.

My Thoughts
The Death Relic is the seventh entry into the Jonathon Payne and David Jones series, and so far it is my least favourite entry of the series.  Usually, I adore Payne & Jones and look forward to their adventures and their bantering, but this one got on my nerves as the banter sounded awkward and was, at times, just downright annoying.

Those of us who have already read the books in this series are already familiar with Maria Pelati, but I will admit I liked her a lot better in Sign of the Cross.  While I understand why she is so prickly towards Jonathon as I have read Sign of the Cross, it just came across as whiny and immature rather than for reasons that were legitimate and real.  And the author also assumes that the reader is familiar with the reasons for her aloofness and her coldness; and even though I was familiar, it didn't make me sympathetic towards her character whatsoever, rather it made me dislike her.  She constantly interfered when Payne told her not to, putting what he was doing jeopardy, even if he made light of it afterwards, something that made me grit my teeth quite often.  

Sign of the Cross and The Plantation were fast-paced and more original and I enjoyed them very much.  While this novel had the same fast-paced format, it wasn't very original in nature, and was a bit formulaic.  It's not that I didn't enjoy any aspect of this novel as I did enjoy the trips to Chichen Itza and Tulum, both places I have visited so it was easy to picture the action scenes in my head.  Having just recently been there however, some of the descriptions were a bit vague and a bit off, but I can overlook that.  And I thought the plot was actually okay; it was all of the incidental little things that were bothersome.  It's just one of those books you read without thinking, just because you can.

The Death Relic is one of those novels that is good mindless fun.  It's one of those books where you hold suspension of belief, and just go along for the ride, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I enjoyed it when I read it from that aspect.  If you look at it more seriously, then the plot is predictable and formulaic, and the bantering definitely gets on one's nerves.  To be honest though, I find lately that a lot of these types of novels are pretty formulaic so that doesn't bother me too much.  What bothered me more was the way it was written as it seemed forced and tried too hard to add the action and the humour, which fell flat for me.  Will that stop me from reading another novel by this author?  No, definitely not.  The Forbidden Tomb is next on my list.