Greene's Calling

Greene's Calling - A.D. Starrling

(I got an e-copy of this novel through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

This is the third book in this series ("Seventeen") I read, and even though I haven't rated those any higher than 3/3.5 stars so far, I must say they do all fall in the "I liked it" category: there are slight changes in the genre itself (man-hunt, artifact/ancient secrets, special services...), things sometimes go too fast for serious character development, but all things considered, whenever I want an action-packed story with guns, helicopters, wild chases and people with powers (immortals), these novels deliver.

Both merit and flaw here: each novel focuses on a different character. Merit, because it allows the author to put these people (immortals as well as their human allies) into situations for which they are more suited than others, and have a bigger picture slowly come together—something tells me there should be at least two more installments to this series. Flaw, because said characters can't be explored as deeply as they would if they were the heroes of two, three, four books. Somehow, we get a glimpse and back-story elements, but there are times when I'd like to see more.

However, as I mentioned above, the "Seventeen" books are pretty good in terms of action, lively fights, and from what I know, believable research, if a little over-the-top now and then (I tend to like a bit of over-the-top, by the way). Picturing each scene is fairly easy, and I'm positive they'd also do great as movies. Hardened secret services agents, assasination attempts, political play on a worldwide level, antagonists that go back to older days, an investigation taking place in several European cities... Mostly those elements make for an entertaining read. Not something I'd discuss at length for a book club, sure, but then, this isn't what I expect from such novels. I expect to be entertained and awed with good action scenes—and those I get.

One interesting thing: the kickass medic. I haven't seen that kind of combination too often (a healer-type character who can also hold his/her own and doesn't have to be protected by the others). All right, Conrad's power is kind of unique, in that all the others who had it are now dead, from what I understood, but it ties into the red thread intrigue going on from novel to novel. I really hope there'll be more about that in the next volume, about those immortals with a specific mark on their skin, and what their role is supposed to be (because there must be one, right?). Both Crovir and Bastian societies are somewhat tied into working with each other, and it sort of hints at a bigger threat looming in later.

There's one side of the story I would've liked to see explored more, though: the consequences of so many heads of state being targeted. The characters realise what's at stake, and do their best to prevent it, but I thought we didn't get to see exactly how things played out for regular people. Did they care? What about the lockdown on airports? How did international diplomacy unfold? It was here, but somehow "in the background", and it made the threat less... tangible.

This qualm put aside, it was a pleasant read. Not too deep, but definitely entertaining.