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Posted December 26, 2009
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Gary Jennings "Lite" - Better than no Gary Jennings at all
Many familiar with Gary Jennings' "Aztec" series will enjoy this book. Expectations should be measured, however, because "2012" is only Gary Jennings 'Lite'. Since 'Lite' is all one can get, then one should go for it. At the end of the day the book is enjoyable.
The delight I find from Jennings' original two "Aztec" books (and to a lesser extent in his Marco Polo-based novel "Journeyer") is the emotional depth and range of the key characters. It's been almost two years since I first discovered "Aztec" and I still find my thoughts drifting to the myriad tales of Mixtli Dark Cloud. Mixtli's inner monologue and narrative is what defines Jennings' characters. I find that tone very recognizable and comfortable.
"2012" bounces back and forth between early 1000 A.D. and modern day. The plot lines of the two times generally follow each other on a search to answer the questions of when, why, and what cataclysmic end will come to the earth. There are about twice as many pages dedicated to the main Aztec character, Coyotl, and his adventures than the modern day vignettes. If the book is Gary Jennings 'Lite', then you'll be as pleased as I was that the focus is on Coyotl, who could justifiably be considered Mixtil Dark Cloud 'Lite'.
"Apocalypse 2012" is purportedly based on Jennings' own notes found after his death in 1999. This book is not great. The storyline is unbalanced and, at some points, a little nonsensical. I found myself thumbing back through some sections trying to reconcile some of the actions. Ultimately, I threw my hands up and let myself enjoy the ride.
Though 384 pages (MUCH shorter than "Aztec"), the book is an extremely easy and quick read. Few chapters run more than 10 pages long.
If your expectations are set appropriately, and you pine for Gary Jennings, then buy this book. If you're looking for another "Aztec", then you'll have to keep searching. For those who haven't tried Jennings, this isn't a terrible introduction. But just be aware that this is more of an appetizer - the main course is "Aztec".
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