Newest Review: ... hunters offering nearly $19 million for each confirmed kill. One of the names on the list is Shane Schofield, the "Scarecrow&quo... more
If This Only Had a Brain
Scarecrow - Matthew Reilly
Member Name: samueltyler
Scarecrow - Matthew Reilly
Advantages: Fun, silly, action packed
Disadvantages: Poorly written, ham fisted
I wonder when L Frank Baum created 'Oz' whether he knew the impact the work would have. Did he realise that one of the greatest musicals of all time would be adapted from his books? Did he know the influence that the books and film would have on popular culture would cause waves for decades? I cannot imagine that he did. The simple idea of having a Tin Man needing a heart, a Lion needing courage and a Scarecrow needing a brain has been in countless homage from horror films to concept albums. The idea is that although these creatures thought they lacked something important it turned out that they possessed the thing all the time within. It's a shame that Matthew Reilly did not learn from Baum's lesson and give his book 'Scarecrow' any brains at all, either on the surface or deep within.
Shane' Scarecrow' Schofield returns in his latest adventure. Having already thought in the frozen wastelands and in the desert 'Scarecrow' will prove his most arduous adventure yet as it spans the globe. It seems that a group of uber rich men have created a list of some of the top military men in the world from the UK and US all the way to al Qaeda. Scarecrow is not sure what all these men have in common except for the fact that they are being chased by several groups of bounty hunters. If the bounty hunters catch you they have been offered $18 million for every head. Can Scarecrow keep one step ahead of one of the richest manhunts ever?
Having read the earlier 'Area 7' by Reilly I knew that 'Scarecrow' was never going to be the most intelligent of fiction. It seems that Reilly specialises in brainless action fiction for people going on summer holidays. His writing style is similar to that seen in a book for 12 year olds, just with added violence and sex. I am no snob when it comes to writing and although it was poor, I did not think it ruined the book. I got some perverse pleasure in some of the more poorly written portions of the book. Reilly has a habit of adding sound effects e.g. "and then the grenades hit the wall. BOOM!" This is frankly ridiculous, but not as bad as his repeating some sentences e.g. "What came out of the water? A shark! That's right, a shark!" To me that is awful writing to the point where it is amusing to read. Reilly writes like an excited child with all the intellect you would expect from someone of that age.
Another issue that Reilly suffered from in 'Scarecrow' was the structure. The earlier 'Area 7' was set in one giant building. It seems that for his new book Reilly wanted to set it in a more open world. Therefore, this book sees us going from America, to Europe and the Middle East. There are none stop action set pieces that have the Scarecrow and company spanning the globe whilst still fighting. I actually found it a fun read that caught my attention, but the constant chase dynamic did become pretty tiresome by halfway and samey. I think that Reilly would have been better off adding some moments of quiet as a way of making the most of the intense sections.
If you leave your brain at home (likes Dorothy's friend the Scarecrow) you may just have some great fun with this book. The character of Shane Schofield is a no nonsense hero and he is joined by some amusing sidekicks. The book is very much black and white with enemies and heroes. Every now and again I like to read a simple book like this just to see some hard justice! What added some spice was Reilly's willingness to harm/kill characters. Although Scarecrow himself seems almost superhuman there is tension around the rest of the cast who could meet their maker at any time.
The only award that 'Scarecrow' may win would be for worst written novel. The characters are one dimensional, the story ham fisted and the writing itself almost acts to make you stupider as you read. However, despite this you know that with a book like this the goal is not to intellectualise, but have fun - and its fun! There are some great action set pieces that are completely fantastical, but this adds to the charm. I like to read about things blowing up and for this reason I enjoyed the book. It's a shame that it was written so amateurishly.
Author: Matthew Reilly
Price: amazon uk - £5.49
Summary: 50% daft. 50% fun.