13 March, 2018

REVIEW: THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville

Title: The Eight
Author: Katherine Neville
Series: The Eight #1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Ediciones B
Release: (First published 1988)
Source: Paperback
Pages: 864

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BLURB: The riveting #1 international bestselling novel about the quest across centuries by two intrepid women in different eras to reunite the pieces of a powerful, ancient chess set

A fabulous, bejeweled chess set that belonged to Charlemagne has been buried in a Pyrenees abbey for a thousand years. As the bloody French Revolution rages in Paris, the nuns dig it up and scatter its pieces across the globe because, when united, the set contains a secret power that could topple civilizations. To keep the set from falling into the wrong hands, two novices, Valentine and Mireille, embark on an adventure that begins in the streets of Paris and leads to Russia, Egypt, Corsica, and into the heart of the Algerian Sahara.

Two hundred years later, while on assignment in Algeria, computer expert Catherine Velis finds herself drawn unwillingly into the deadly “Game” still swirling around the legendary chess set—a game that will require her to risk her life and match wits with diabolical forces.

EXPECTATIONS: I read this book very very VERY long ago. Maybe when I was 15 or so? I honestly don't remember... I borrowed it from the library and I really liked it but I didn't have the chance to buy it until this year (in a market sale for 5€ yay!).

THE WORLD: Our world. It takes place in different countries but mostly Europe and Africa. However, there are two different timelines; there's one in 1790 and another in 1970.

CHARACTERS: There are A TON of characters but for the sake of our sanity I'll name the principal ones. In the 1790 timeline our main character is Mireille de Rémy, a novice at the abbey of Montglane, who has to undergo incredible rough times caused by the French Revolution. The whole plot revolves around a chess set rumored to have been owned by Charlemagne which eventually cost him his downfall... in other words, it's like the chess set is cursed. Other important characters in this timeline are Valentine de Rémy (Mireille's cousin), Hélène de Roque (abbess of Montglane), and Charles Maurice Talleyrand-Périgord. Lots of characters that appear in this timeline were actually real and very influential (Buonaparte, Catherine the Great, Robespierre, etc).

The main character of our more recent timeline in 1970 is Catherine "Cat" Velis who is a brilliant computer programmer. We get to read about how both timelines are ultimately connected. Trust me, it's a WOW. Other relevant characters in this timeline are Lily Rad (Cat's friend), Alexander Solarin (the best chess player in the world), and Ladislaus Nim (Cat's friend and computer wiz).

ROMANCE: There are two main romances. One on each timeline and both are insta-love, well... more like insta-lust ppff but at least they're brushed over quickly because the story plot is too intense and takes priority.

GOOD: What can I say? The plot, the plot and... did I say the plot? As a historical fiction book it's pretty difficult to take all the historical events and holes and putting such a nice story and timeline together. I thought in general it was very well researched too and the characters seem historically accurate in terms of personalities. We all love good 3D characters. However, there are also a lot of characters, thus some of them seemed flat in comparison but they were mostly the secondary ones.

I loved the writing and descriptions because although there are a couple chapters here and then that are boring, the rest were very action oriented and you could go through them in a minute. It's a long book but it was entertaining from beginning to end.

BAD: It's a pretty old book and I thought some characters were a bit stereotyped... not in an offensive way (from my point of view) but people from those ethnics might feel uncomfortable or even offended. Since I don't know their cultures I can't really say anything. I hope they didn't feel bad though because the book seems to be well researched so it would be a shame.

Of course, I should mention the romance. Listen, that's not romance. It's lust. Anyway, good thing I didn't care about it. I was here for the story!

OVERALL: 4.5 stars and goes to favorites. I am very weak when it comes to rating books I loved when I was younger. I think I haven't found any that I stopped loving after re-reading them years later. I recommend this book to everyone who likes historical fiction and mystery with lots of action scenes.

What do you think about THE EIGHT?



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