Plague Ship (Yellow) by Clive Cussler

(Yellow) means this.

There are three different kinds of Clive Cussler books. The Dirk Pitt books, the Kurt Austin books, and the Oregon books. Three series with three different sets of characters (there is some cross over but it’s insignificant).

This is my first Oregon book. I didn’t have any desire to expand into the Clive Cussler world. The Dirk Pitt books and the Kurt Austin books were already so similar that I figured it was just pointless to add another character to the same tired formula.

The formula is this.

Every Clive Cussler book starts out way in the past with some lame ancient mystery. Sometimes more then one mystery. These are always a struggle to read. They are very detailed and their relevance to the rest of the story is very little. For Plague Ship it was almost laughable.

Dirk/Kurt are in a large body of water looking for sunken treasure when they find a someone in distress. The someone changes from book to book but there is always a hot girl involved. They save the hot girl who also happens to be an expert on whatever the villains of that book are cooking up.

The girl helps them through a series of random over detailed usually underwater hardships so that they can get to the villain. The bad guys get more and more far fetched with each book that comes out. Plague Ship is a prime example. I’ll get to it later.

The first big event of the book is always the biggest which makes the endings very anticlimactic.

Dirk/Austin are usually beat an inch from their lives by the end of the book. The girl is always there to comfort them and when they end up together she is gone by the next book.

There is always an exposition character who only does exposition. They are the most boring chapters because they just sit around and talk about ocean mysteries. Not as cool as it sounds. Mostly it’s like reading a text book.

That is how to write a Clive Cussler book.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy one every now and then. Sometimes I need a mindless action story.

But this Plague Ship book, my goodness. Prepare to suspend your disbelief as I drop a one line synopsis on you.

The bad guys are a group of people who are believe we are breeding ourselves to death so they are going to sterilize half the planet with a virus they found… on Noah’s ark.

I know right.

They don’t get into that stuff heavy until the last third of the book but when they do it slows the book right down. The first 100 pages were a page turner. The last hundred were a struggle to read. Just straight up boring. Mostly because it all revolved around several main characters being in peril and the question was were they going to die or not. I’ve read too many Clive Cussler books to know there was no way he was going to kill a good guy.

But for how horrible the villains were (and I am a firm believer that the antagonist is more important then the protagonist) there were some cool parts to this book.

As I said, this is my first Oregon book and now I know the Oregon books are the most unique in the NUMA world. The Oregon is a high-tech state of the art boat that looks like a piece of trash so it can sneak around the world and carry out it’s missions.

The crew is mostly mercenaries. Going from one job to the other. I thought this was cool at first but then I realized it didn’t mean anything because everyone on that boat has a heart of gold so money isn’t an issue. They always do the right thing, no matter what. A great quality to have but it makes for lame story telling (cause no one is really like that).

The captain is the most unique character. He is a real one legged pirate. But that’s not what makes him unique. He has some crazy prosthetics with hidden compartments that can hold guns and explosives and what not. It’s pretty cool.

But the rest of the crew is just toned down versions of Dirk Pitt over and over. There is more of them so the antagonism gets split up between them so it’s not just one guy taking on the world like in every other Clive Cussler book.

There were some exciting chase scenes at the beginning of this book that kept me trapped in the story but it couldn’t be sustained. Just like in past books the most antagonistic part of the book is at the beginning. I kept waiting for a diabolical twist but instead I got the lame plot of sterilizing half the planet.

For this book the highs were entertainingly high and the lows were laughably low.

It averaged out to a normal Clive Cussler adventure.

 

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