“ Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Matthew Reilly / Edition: MP3 / Audio CD / Book is published 2005-07-30 by Bolinda Publishing „
Icestation by Matthew Reilly
== Plot ==
This is the first book in the Shane Scofield / Scarecrow series. The story revolves around an American underground research station in Antarctica called Wilks ice station. At the start of the book, two divers are undertaking a routine dive when they lose radio contact with the station. More divers are sent down after them, but they discover what appears to be a spaceship buried deep underneath the research station. They are then attacked by unknown creatures.
The remaining crew in the station send out a distress message on all radio frequencies which is picked up by both friends and enemies alike.
Lieutenant Shane Scofield call sign Scarecrow is sent along with the rest of his 11-man unit of Marine Recons to the station to secure the spaceship and provide assistance. (The Marine Recons are part of US Special Forces.)
By the time they reach the research station, the weather conditions have deteriorated and a solar flare disrupts all radio communication, meaning they are cut off from the outside world.
This all happens in the first part of the novel and is just the intro. There's lots of non-stop action for the rest of the story as they fend off enemies from all sides who want the spaceship for themselves . . .
== My review ==
When I initially read the prolog, I was thinking this would have a lot of sci-fi type stuff going on, with the mention of the spaceship, but fortunately, there aren't many sci-fi elements in the main part of the book.
This is one of the few novels I have reread several times over the past few years. I enjoyed it immensely. In most of the novels I read, there'll only be 1 or 2 set piece action sequences somewhere near the end. However, once it starts, there is non-stop action in this. It reminded me of the cheesy 80's action movies I used to watch. Some people may find it over the top but I didn't think it was. I thought it was well planned out and choreographed. Various weapons are used including machine guns, crossbows, grappling hooks and grenades, which keeps the action fresh. The author explains each weapon in basic terms, so you know what damage it can do without going into the technical details. The body count in this is close to over a hundred deaths. There is quite a bit of swearing, especially the f*** and s*** words, once the shooting starts, but I think it is used appropriately, and I didn't find it vulgar. I found it funny rather than anything else.
I thought it had a fun, light hearted tone. The plot is well crafted and intricate. It is believable in comparison to the latter books in this series where the action overtakes the story. There are enough twists throughout to keep you hooked. There's also a conspiracy related subplot that was well written and weaved into the narrative. It gripped my attention all the way through as there was something new happening every few seconds. Also, I've read books by other authors who are supposed to write action novels like Andy McNab and compared to that this is way better. Normally, you only have 1 or two villains at most but here there are multiple, sprinkled throughout the book.
The author writes in a simple easy to read style. Some parts of it read like a movie in particular, the action sequences. Every time I reread it, I pick up on something I missed the last time, as there is so much going on. The third person narrative style that this is written in also helps. He has a habit of frequently using phrases like 'his eyes opened wide' and 'suddenly', along with cliff-hangers, so in one scene a character may fall off a 50ft ledge and you think uh oh. But, then in the next section they usually manage to survive through good luck or by using one of their weapons. It is not something I have come across before in many books, and it works well to build tension and to make you want the characters to survive.
My favourite character has to be Shane Scofield aka Scarecrow. He is the hero and the leader of the Marine Recon force. He reminded me a bit of the Terminator. He always wears tinted sunglasses, plus no matter how much he gets flung around, he still comes back for more.
The other characters are also well sketched out and colourful.
== Audio Narration ==
The audio book I listened to was narrated by Sean Mangan. I am not a big fan of his. He has a deep voice and his line delivery was quite wooden. He doesn't change his tone of voice much throughout the book. I think his voice is suited to the action sequences where the toneless quality helps to make it more entertaining. When doing dialog or any emotional parts, he performs poorly in my opinion.
The approximate runtime of this is just over 15 hours. It sounds long but when listening to the book, it flys by.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I am giving this 5 stars. Even though I thought the audio narration could have been better, I found the novel itself extremely enjoyable. If you are fans of Ian Flemming and Robert Ludlan or cheesy action movies like Commando and Die Hard then you'll like this. It has some strong language and violence so I'd say it was suitable for teenagers and older.
It has all the ingredients I like in a novel - large amounts of action, a dollop of conspiracy, drama and a pinch of comedy. It was fun and entertaining and it kept me gripped all the way through.