Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Clive Cussler - Pacific Vortex!

Okay so now that university is over, I can branch away from the constraints of reading for course related purposes and move on to random books I find places. Pacific Vortex! is one that I found in Sainsbury’s for two pounds next to the check-outs. Yes, it was an impulse buy, along with Slumdog Millionaire.

As I bought the two things are the same time, I must resist the urge to write a comparative review, stating which item I got the most enjoyment out of as this is not a movie review blog. So, without further a dew, let’s dive right into Cussler’s first Dirk Pitt adventure.

The first thing that rang the 'stop reading' warning bells was the title. I’m looking directly at you Mr Exclamation Mark. What on Earth are you doing punctuating this novel title? You certainly aren’t making me afraid of the said vortex, but it does conjure images of the hapless blond, mid-scream with her hands raised as if in fear of her life from some kind of monster.

I’ve never agreed with punctuation in titles. The title should speak for itself without the need of any help from over-the-top articles. However, the title was the not the main thing that would discourage readers from carrying on with the book. In the first sentence of the Foreword there is a missing word. Can you fill the gap? ‘This the first Dirk Pitt adventure.’ No Clive! (I believe here the exclamation mark highlights the extent of my anguish.)

However, once I had braved the title and gotten over the initial shock of the missing word in the first line, I found the book to be very compelling. And Dirk Pitt to be a James Bond clone. Cussler even goes as far as giving him a few cheesy one-liners, including, ‘I always wondered how I’d bear up under torture.’

To be honest, what I’ve said about the book is a little picky. It’s a good entertaining read with some genuinely funny moments. Pitt is a believable hero, if also a male chauvinist and the other characters work well around him. He has also researched the maritime aspects of the book meticulously which helps with its authenticity.

I also like a book that can teach me things. Before reading Pacific Vortex! I had no idea there were only seven consonants in the Hawaiian language, in fact I had no idea Hawaii even had its own language. I have also learned how fog is formed over the sea. How do I know these things? Because characters explain them to Pitt as if they are talking to a child. The dialogue reads almost as if it's been copy and pasted from a text book. It seems Cussler struggles to hide his research within his work because it’s right there, almost slapping you in the face.

I would recommend this book to a variety of different people. Those who enjoy Ian Fleming would be top of the list, closely followed by fans of adventure and manliness, and sea lovers. I will definitely be reading another Dirk Pitt adventure the next time I find myself impulsively buying things near check-outs.

Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler was published by Sphere in 1983. RRP £6.99 (Paperback)

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