Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Valley of the Immortals Pt. 2

Blake & Mortimer 26 - The Valley of the Immortals Part 2
  
The Valley of the Immortals Part 2 is obviously a continuation of the story begun in the first volume- I was anxiously awaiting this conclusion but unfortunately I have to say I was a little disappointed. It's not bad, necessarily, but I just felt it was a little lackluster. The previous volume- the Valley of the Immortals Part 1-  was more enjoyable for me. The action here picks up after Mortimer is abducted- he is bound for the nefarious Chinese general's camp deep in the jungles of Yunnan province, and Blake has to try and find him with the help of the Hong Kong authorities. 

I think part of the problem for me here is that most of this was exposition and travel. There is a pretty convoluted backstory as to why Gen. Li Hsi is trying to obtain the archaeological elements that precipitated the story in volume one, and even though I was familiar with the first part of the story I still had to flip back and forth to check names occasionally. Also Mortimer is fed expository elements throughout a chunk of the book, as he is brought up to speed on the history behind the shenanigans. Between this and the constant travel it often felt like swimming in molasses, story- wise. 

Having said that, the Chinese history elements are fascinating. It's just too clunky and expository though, not enough happens, and then the ending feels rushed. Not to mention the mystical elements feel ham- fisted. I love dragons and prophecies and whatnot as much as the next person, but it just felt so by-the-numbers at times. Mortimer is fun, Blake can be a little dry, the villain is missing for large parts of the story (the overarching villain, not Li Hsi)- although come to think of it, there's so much travel and folklore elements that yeah the villains are quite often AWOL! It's just not as fun as the other books in this series I've tried. 

I did like the alternate history elements a bit, especially the call outs to the Nationalist vs Red army conflict and the role of Britain in the struggle. This is always a strength of the series- the nods to real world events- and while this is a fun world to disappear into for a while, I have a hard time recommending this one, although if you've read the first one it's definitely worth finishing! 

6 comments:

  1. Ahh, I haven't heard of the series before but it's disappointing to see a second installment fall flat after such an incredible part one. I love the elements of magic, history and adventure but sometimes it can end up a little too busy and not leave enough within the narrative for character development as well. Sorry this one didn't pan out for you but such a brilliant review!

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  2. The history sounds interesting but it's always a bit of a letdown when you're left feeling like the story didn't really move forward.

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  3. Sorry this wasn't as good as the first one. Hopefully the story will be more exciting next time😁

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  4. Sorry this one ended up being a little disappointing. It started off so well.

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  5. Oh, wow! I love this cover; especially the colors. 👍✨

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