“ Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: James Rollins / Kindle Edition / 48 Pages / Book is published 2011-12-01 by Orion „
James Rollins is one of my favourite authors and enjoy both his stand alone novels and his Sigma series of books. The sigma series has grown to become one of my all-time favourite series of books and I always look forward to a new coming out.
Whilst browsing Amazon I noticed a book that I hadn't read called 'The Skeleton Key' and after clicking on the page I discovered it was a short story featuring my favourite character from the Sigma books and exclusive to kindle readers. As it was only 99 pence I snapped it up and had it delivered to my kindle instantly. I decided to read it straight away and have to say that I wasn't particularly impressed by the story or the length of it.
~~~~~ Plot ~~~~~~
The plot of the short story concerns Seichen who has been a constant presence in the main books. Seichen is a gorgeous (is there any other kind in these types of books) assassin that originally started off on the opposite side to Sigma but slowly started helping them. In The Skeleton Key Seichen wakes up in a hotel room in Paris where she has been investigating the Guild for Sigma. She has been drugged and there is an electronic collar round her neck. Finding a young Scottish man in her hotel bathroom who is also in the same predicament as herself the pair soon realise that there is a reason that they have been brought together and that they are going to have to work together to get out it alive.
They receive a phone call from a Guild operative saying that he was the one who arranged it and that he needs the help of the pair of them to help save his son who has been recruited by a doomsday cult. To rescue him Seichen and Renny must travel down into the Paris Catacombs and save not only him but potentially the whole of Paris from imminent danger. Oh and they only have two hours in which to do it before their collars explode.
~~~~~ My opinion ~~~~~
I was really looking forward to getting my teeth into this story and finding out a little bit more about the enigmatic Seichen who has always been the most interesting character to me in the Sigma books. Unfortunately there was almost zero character development in this short story. The story line is quite good and I enjoyed what was there but it all takes place over 48 pages and I had it read in 10 minutes and just think that it was too short to offer much resolve in either the story or the development of Seichens character.
It really started off well in the hotel room which I thought was a good premise for the story and although I am sure I have read this plot point before I still found it intriguing and was curious as to why Seichen and Renny two completely different people would be thrown together like this.
I also really enjoyed the middle of the story which was set in the underground catacombs and found it to be quite atmospheric and like most James Rollins books was littered with interesting little facts about the catacombs which I liked as they have always fascinated me.
The ending of the story was the most disappointing as it just sort of petered out towards the end. It felt rushed and just wasn't satisfying in the slightest. I was actually quite annoyed that I had paid 99p for this short story as I felt with how little story there actually was and the fact that only 32% of what was downloaded to my kindle was actual story whilst the rest was basically promotion for the newest Sigma novel it should have been free.
The writing is fast paced and the story moves along at break neck speed which I normally enjoy but with something this short it just meant that there wasn't enough time to actually get into the story and enjoy it.
Other little things which annoyed me about the story were that the character of Renny just didn't read right to me. He is supposed to be Scottish and other than the stereotypical ginger hair it seems little in the way of how the Scottish actually speak was researched. There were a few ayes in his dialogue and he did call someone a bampot at one point in the story but then he would also call a torch a flashlight and his character just didn't seem real to me.
The story is set between books five and six of the Sigma series but someone new to them could easily read this though I am unsure they would want to as it only really holds interest to fans of the series. I was disappointed to realise that this story gave absolutely nothing new to the overall story arc of the series and the only thing was that Seichen received something in the end that shows up in book six but as I have already read that it offered absolutely nothing new which I do think is a shame for loyal fans of the series.
I know that this is only a short story but it did leave a slightly bad taste in my mouth as after reading it I couldn't shake the feeling this was just a blatant way to squeeze some more money out of the fans of the series especially when the promotion of the more expensive main book takes up more pages than the short story. If this had been a free story like many authors give their fans through kindle then I would have been much more inclined to recommend it but because I do feel like it was just a way to make more money without offering anything new then I would probably say save your money as you aren't missing anything new and the story is so short there is nothing to get your teeth into.
If like me you are a big fan of Mr Rollins and the Sigma books then nothing I say will stop you from buying it but just be prepared for how short this story actually is and just how little effort seems to have been put into making a satisfying short story which is a shame as all the elements are right there on the page for making what could have been a fun thrilling little story.