Friday, May 15, 2009

Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove (review)

Title: Opening Atlantis
Author: Harry Turtledove
Illustrator: N/A
Discs: 13
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Tur
ISBN: 978-1400105540
Cost: $0

Atlantis. The magical city of lore that is home to, well, that depends on what tall tale you read. According to Turtledove, the island of Atlantis is home to odd plants and animals. Very much along the lines of that old Dr. Dolittle movie where the crabs are giant and the bees make man size honeycomb chambers.

Well, this Atlantis doesn't have animals quite so large, but ther flora and fauna is certainly different than that of Europe. So when a group of fishermen pay for the "secret" location of the island, it begins a wave of discovery. Over the years Atlantis is settled and new land is found even further west (that would be North America).

I had heard great things about Turtledove in years past and knew his name from my bookstore days. I also knew he wrote a good deal in the alternate history genre. Which is to say I had high hopes for this book but was disappointed. The story was mediocre as where the characters. The scope of the characters was nice, it spanned generations and you got to follow families from era to era. But there wasn't a lot of time to feel connected to any of them.

The early portions of the book were nice. But discovering a new world is always fun. After that it got into politics and, well, a very slow plot with semi-interesting battle scenes.

In the end, I'm glad I got this from the library. Paying full price would not have been a good deal.


John Zeleznik said...

I sometimes don't get the rabid following this guy has sometimes. I like the concept behind his "Timeline-191" series, but I've never gotten into them.

TK42ONE said...

I picked up Guns of the South before I listened to Opening Atlantis. I'm hoping it's better since it sounds more like my "type" of book.

John Zeleznik said...

Guns of the South was okay. I enoyed it, just not as much as I thought I would.

1979 semi-finalist said...

A guy in my writing group wrote a YA Fantasy book that takes place in Atlantis. Ever since then I've been thinking about what a great fictional location Atlantis is for a story (not that I can steal it now!) - so I was bummed to read that this wasn't so great. Thanks for the honesty though. I may tell him to look into it anyway - considering the subject matter.

TK42ONE said...

I was bummed too. The idea of Atlantis was great, but how it fit into the history of the world just didn't do it for me. But the strange creatures was pretty cool. Can't beat giant birds that kill people!