Book Review: The Emperor’s Revenge

Book Review

The Emperor’s Revenge

by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison

⭐️ (1 star)

I really enjoyed Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels, but I can’t say that all the other’s under his brand name are quite as good. They suffer from certain flaws that tend to repeat in just about every novel.

  • The heroes are all perfect, the best in the world at everything they do.
  • They have unlimited resources.
  • They have the latest, most amazing tech that can solve any problem.
  • There’s no really big problems or setbacks. Especially on a personal level.
  • There’s very little characterization or growth, even in main characters.

Quite obviously, they suffer from James Bond wannabe syndrome, forgetting the fact that James Bond wasn’t rich, he only wore nice suits.

I think one of the worst aspects of the Oregon novels is the fact that the ‘good guys’ operate as a private corporation. Instead of working for the government, for the people, they are paid mercenaries. Doing the job for the right reasons isn’t enough, they have to be super rich doing it. And it’s sad that this part excites fans. James Bond didn’t do it for the glory or the money, he saved the world because it was the right thing to do, duty and honor, as well as a personal challenge. But the Oregon files and books similar, of which there are too many, are teaching people that money should be the objective, or at least part of the equation.

This book actually goes a step further in the wrong direction. A crisis hits the world, with bad guys behind it. The motive of the bad guys? Money. Ok, fine. But the motive of the good guys? The bad guys took our money and we want it back. Literally. They actually say that. Sure, the ‘good guys’ save the world in the end, from a financial crisis it probably deserves, but what we have here is literally two groups fighting over money. And, the ‘good guys’ are actually the wealthier ones. it’s a case of the rich going out to defeat a bunch of not-rich trying to get super rich. It’s as if the rich elite as suddenly super spies and heroes.

I’m absolutely fucking disgusted with this. It’s bullshit. It made what could have been a 3 star review only a 1 star review because all this book does is encourage rotten, materialistic values.

We should not be motivated in life by fantastic wealth. This is just wrong. And I don’t give a damn if that sells books, we need to be more responsible than that. Encouraging wealth competition and inequality is only making society more conflicted and more unequal and unhappier. Stories should guide us into a better world, not capitalize on selfish wish-fulfillment and greed.

Outside of the gross motivation, the plot itself is formulaic. Nothing but action with very little characterization or drama. I was hoping they would develop a real relationship between the main character and the female potential love interest, but was very disappointed when they (SPOILER) came to nothing in the end. Why? Just so, what, he can remain open to random women in future novels? Boring.

I will say that the book stood out in two ways. First, they killed off a secondary character, a member of their team, which is rarely done. Unfortunately, they spent very little time on how anyone was affected by this.

Second, The Emperor’s Revenge actually has a tiny crossover with another novel from another line by Clive Cussler. I remember reading the other novel a while back and it was neat to see the character’s from The Emperor’s Revenge pop up. But it wasn’t until I read this novel that I realized the crossover was planned and appeared in two books. It was well done and a fun surprise.

The action is decent and the death and crossover could have garnered the book 3 stars, but I just can’t get past the greed of it all. This book is a champion for capitalism and selfishness, and, as such, sadly, I can’t recommend it.

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