I was going to suffer through to the end of this book in the hope that it might be worth it in the end but @BagusMutendi’s prompt on twitter made me realize just how much I don’t want to continue reading this story.
@Meetthebookworm Still waiting for your ACOR review. ?
— BM (@BagusMutendi) November 28, 2016
I’m going to keep this review simple and focus on the pros and cons and why I didn’t finish reading this book.
What worked for me?
- The Prologue: This is the first thriller by a Nigerian Author I’ll read, so I was excited that it dived straight into a pretty intense assassination scene written like something out of a Bond movie. It was a really good introduction, since I didn’t know what to expect; it set the tone for a fast paced, action driven story.
- Great Action Scenes: I don’t know the kind of research that went into the fights, but they felt like the real thing. I was definitely getting a Jason Bourne vibe during some of the hand to hand scenes.
- A New Narrative: The Author took the time to create characters that defied the image sponsored by the government of the Niger Delta Militants as uneducated, unemployed, good for nothing rascals. I appreciated the change in perspective as well.
What didn’t work?
- Distracting Time Stamps: I found myself trying to figure out how many hours it takes to travel from an unknown location in the Niger Delta Creeks to Warri Airport and then on to Abuja before getting an audience with the president. Surely, all of that will take more than 4 hours in Nigeria, right. And any meeting with the president and joint chiefs will definitely take more than an hour. You see what I mean… Distractions.
- Slooow Pacing: I love action in movies. I haven’t watched or read anything romantic in years and I fast forward all the mushy parts on my favorite shows. My point is I like fast things, and while the exciting parts in this book were EXCITING!!!, it took forever for anything to happen. I just wasn’t feeling a sense of urgency here at all. People are kidnapped, there’s an ultimatum but we still take the time to learn the significance of the statues on the President’s coffee table?!
- Too many Characters: I never got a feel for any of them, i.e. they were not compelling characters. The author tried to make up for this with several backstories and flashbacks but it just made the whole thing tedious. Every single character got a back story. Why? There’s too many of them already, crawling out from unlikely places; I just couldn’t keep up with it or even get the names and histories straight after a while.
- Awkward Sex Scenes: First, I don’t understand the need to make almost all the characters in this book depraved sex fiends. Do they all have to have weird sexual triggers or whatever the correct terminology is? I feel like everywhere I turned someone was getting turned on by the smell of latex, or gunpowder or something else that has to do with dead or dying people.
- Then there’s the actual sex scenes, I could literally feel the Author’s discomfort through the pages of this book. I don’t shy away from well written sex scenes, In fact, I believe I have become something of an expert given the years of my life I spent reading harlequin novels. So, I’m pretty confident I’m not projecting my own feelings here.
- And then there’s a completely unnecessary (In my opinion) rape scene in here as well. I really didn’t see the need to go there or feel like it helped move the plot forward in any way. It just felt like a crime of opportunity, by the Author. As in, captive white woman plus sex deprived ugly African in the same vicinity equals obvious conclusion: Rape.
Why I didn’t finish this book.
There’s a conspiracy in the ruling class, there are freedom fighters, hostages, super detectives, award-winning investigative reporters, assassinations, sex, awesome fight scenes etc.
All of these seem like a recipe for the ultimate thriller. The only problem is: I don’t believe any of it.
This story is just unbelievable; I wasn’t buying any of it, it just didn’t feel real or plausible or alive or a word that escapes me in this moment. Maybe because it’s a little too close to reality without being true, I have no idea. I just found it really difficult to wrap my head around the whole thing. Hence, the reason I stopped at page 193.
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions stated here are mine.
What others are saying about this book.
If you want a second, probably more technical opinion. You should read Franklyne Ikediasor’s review on The Lityard.
Author: Othuke Ominiabohs
Published by: TND Press Limited
Date of Publication: October 2016
Genre: Thriller; Crime Fiction
In the Niger Delta creeks of Southern Nigeria, nine expatriates are being held hostage by militants fighting for control over the resources from their land. At the same time, a series of seemingly unconnected events rock the country.
Alex Randa, an agent of the Department of State Services, a celebrated hostage negotiator with a compelling record of successes is tasked by the president to secure the release of the hostages; and to also uncover the sponsors behind the militants. With nothing to go on but the phrase ‘Operation Raven’, her instincts, and three unlikely allies, Alex quickly learns that nothing is what it seems. Together, they must race against time to save not just the hostages but a nation on the brink of a bloody Civil War.
Othuke Ominiabohs’ second book, A Conspiracy of Ravens is a deftly woven tale of love and hate, patriots and traitors, and of heros and villains . . . A tour de force.