Monday, April 27, 2009

Into the Storm by Taylor Anderson (review)

Title: Into the Storm
Author: Taylor Anderson
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 386
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F And
ISBN: 978-0-451-46207-7
Cost: $23.95

I finished Into the Storm about a year ago and the easiest way I can describe it is:

Imagine Kurt R. A. Giambastiani met S. M. Stirling. They concoct a story. They invite Robert Jordan to tell it.

Yep, that's right, Giambastiani's dinosaurs, Stirling's alternate history, and Jordan's pacing. Now, if anyone understood that, congratulations. You're one of about five people in the world to get it. For everyone else, keep reading.

Giambastiani wrote a series (The Fallen Cloud Saga) that tells the story of General George Armstrong Custer (and his son) in an alternate version of the US. One where the natives (i.e. Indians) ride dinosaurs. Sounds odd, I know, but if you haven't read it, give it a shot.

Stirling wrote (and still is writing) a series about The Change. It starts with Nantucket getting "zapped" back in time. The rest of the world (the one we know) suffers a change in physics resulting in guns, cars, and pretty much anything modern not working. Great series. Another must read.

Jordan wrote (and Sanderson will finish) the Wheel of Time series. A simple story of a young man destined to save the world and go crazy in the process. And by simple, I mean one of the most long and drawn our series of all time. Well, until Martin and a few others came along.

So, dinosaurs, alternate history, and slow pacing. That's the gist of this story. But don't get me wrong, I liked it. The chapters are massive. And by massive, I mean this average-sized book had seven chapters. Yeah. And there were times when the story plodded along as slow as an ancient turtle. But there's a gem in there. The gem is the overall story. Right now, we just get to brush the dirt and grime off the outside edge.

What sets Anderson apart from these well-established authors is his own little twist. Sure, Stirling alters time and Giambastiani adds dinosaurs, but Anderson combines them. And yet, that isn't his twist. His twist is the water. The Navy crew that goes back in time learns that the water isn't safe. Not even shallow water. It's like an ocean full of salt-water piranhas and worse. Yes, worse. And land isn't much better. You've got all those lizard/dinosaurs to worry about.

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