Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jars of Unnecessary Exposition

I'm reading this book right now called Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe. He was one of the dudes from Jars of Clay. I didn't pick up the book because I'm a Jars of Clay fan (what with me being a soul-sucking godless freak destined to spend eternity frying in hell - I also use this excuse for my dislike of The Dave Matthew's Band). I picked this particular book because of the extensive praise it received.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded Da Vinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
- Aspiring Retail Magazine

Well, that's pretty much what happened. The main character's family is held hostage so that the main character, August Adams (wife's name is April Adams - creepy month people) can decode three different pictures in each of three different Gutenberg bibles. The woman holding August hostage on an airplane gives him a one hour time limit (even though the ride is several hours long), and despite this limitation, he and his captor still take time out to have lengthy intellectual conversations - exposition.

Meanwhile, at the homestead, April is on the run from maniacal FBI agents who are actually part of a secret organization called The Order of the Dragons. She also has a Gutenberg. While creeping along an underground tunnel to escape, she and her fellow fugitive take moments out to discuss deep issues. The history behind the presence of said underground tunnels, for instance.

All this decoding, running, time limiting and expositioning all to uncover the lost secret of The Order of the Dragons, who are competing with a rival cult, The Orphans, for the same secrety which COULD CHANGE THE WORLD.

Dun dun dun.

As much as I hate to say this, even Da Vinci Code was more original than this. Or better yet, Dan Brown's other piece, Angels and Demons. I am not a Dan Brown fan, nor is adventure my primary genre.

But come on, Matt Bronleewe!

Furthermore, the plot is eerily similar to one of Johnny Depp's lesser known movies, The Ninth Gate, which was, I must say, quite entertaining, albeit anticlimactic. Depp's character has been charged with comparing the illustrations in different copies of a book entitled The Ninth Gate in order to discover a secret.

Sound familiar?

Again, at the risk of soundin redundant, come on, Matt Bronleewe!