Conviction (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, #5)
Yet another author tackles Sam Fisher's adventures in what is the fifth book in the seven-book series based on the popular video game. Ever so slowly, the books have gone downhill in the quality storytelling department, and one would imagine reading beyond the first two books is pointless. These books definitely won't set the world on fire, but there's something appealing about reading these spy adventures, even if they turn out to be crap. This fifth book really did struggle to hook me for abou Yet another author tackles Sam Fisher's adventures in what is the fifth book in the seven-book series based on the popular video game. Ever so slowly, the books have gone downhill in the quality storytelling department, and one would imagine reading beyond the first two books is pointless. These books definitely won't set the world on fire, but there's something appealing about reading these spy adventures, even if they turn out to be crap. This fifth book really did struggle to hook me for about 146 pages. You know it's a different author using the 'David Michaels' pseudonym and that he's more capable as a writer than the last guy, but there are still major similarities within those 146 pages. The story begins with Sam Fisher as a rogue mercenary, ousted by Third Echelon and on the run, being pursued by other agents. This is the book's setup, and it's mostly painstaking reading. What you get is an unnecessary textbook on movement: you get Sam jumping, sneaking and crouching, and that's about it. Like we need to know stuff like that. But these actions get to the point where they're so inane, you'll wonder why it's taking you so long to progress through the book. The main problem, besides this step-by-step guide on how Sam moves, is the dense paragraphs. They're non-stop, and they kill the book's pace. But that's just the first 146 pages, and they're enough to worry you, but it's not all bad.Perhaps the third problem with the book, a crime it commits as soon as it sets out, is the fact you have no idea who the villain is and what Sam is after. It was very difficult to understand what I was reading. I couldn't get immersed because there's no context in which to envision Sam's quest and motivation. You're simply told Lambert has been killed, and that maybe Sam is retreating due to that death. I could easily condemn those 146 pages, if not for the fact the story soon
gets back on track beyond that point. A familiar face reappears, and then you realise, well, maybe this book isn't another reboot of the series, like the third book was. The story continues, with the same writing style for the most part, though with a different author. Sam has evaded his pursuers by faking his death, and now he can get down to business. He starts tracking down a lead, something that pertains to a conspiracy of global ramifications. We get a bunch of different villains, some of the gangster mould, and some higher ups, and basically Sam is going from Point A to Point B to Point C trying to decipher and download information related to these bad guys, to try to understand what they're hiding. Turns out, a cache of weapons is about to be transferred into terrorist hands - all sorts of high-tech weaponry, first of its kind, and supposedly originating in a Chinese factory.This new author seems to have course-corrected the series, though he hardly saves it or enhances things too well. Some well-orchestrated differences include serious globe-trotting in this book: lots of European place names such as suburbs and restaurants and hotels. Sam has just a little more personality in this book - he feels like he's not a cardboard action hero like in the last two books, though why I accepted the fact he's still not too interesting is a mystery. Some jokes add to the book's personality - thank goodness it's not a completely deadly serious affair. There's no clear villain this time around and probably way too many character names to keep track of. The book hasn't anything to do with the video game I recently played - the murder of his daughter isn't mentioned, and there're no blockbuster qualities to the story. The ending sequences are pretty bad - I couldn't picture the final ten pages at all, and a little earlier than that. That's about the sum of it: the fact that while being mildly enjoyable, the story is mostly hard to picture and the action scenes aren't that great. Like the last author, this new author seems autistic in terms of details: describing Sam during a mission doing every little thing like using his fingers to grab a ledge or how he holds a gun or how he climbs a ladder is so damn pathetic - I feel sorry for the editor that had to read such drivel a hundred times before publication.
Enjoyment Factor: 2 stars
Movie Potential: 1 star ...more