2 out of 4 stars
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Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider is an action-packed thriller, seemingly set in the USA of the near future, featuring the bold and beautiful Sonya McCall and the super-smart Trey Radisson as the protagonists. Sonya is running away from the bikers’ gang—and her boyfriend who is the leader of the gang—that she had been part of, after learning of the gang’s involvement in crimes far serious than mere robbery. Trey invents a cloaking device that, in the hands of unscrupulous people, could wreak havoc on earth and, upon realising this, he destroys his invention along with his dreams of fame and fortune. Chrome Falcon, an all-powerful terrorist organisation intent on world domination, wants Trey—and his invention—so bad that it leaves a trail of death and destruction in his pursuit. By chance—or by divine intervention—Trey meets Sonya while he is almost cornered by the terrorists and they unite in their fight to save America, and the world, from the devious designs of Chrome Falcon.
Schneider has stuffed this novel with a lot of action, with chases and fights and explosions following one another ceaselessly. The background stories of Sonya and Trey have been built well, making the characters quite familiar to the reader. The author has made an effort to leave no loose ends in the story and has succeeded in doing so. The narration of the action sequences has been done meticulously, bringing the scenes to life. Surprisingly, themes of Christianity and finding God have been woven into the story, which I found quite unusual considering the genre. The author has also tried to emphasise on the values of family, patriotism and humanity.
Though the story is quite engaging, the writing has a lot left to be desired. The major problem I had is with the unrealistic dialogues as nobody in the real world talks the way people talk in much of this novel. The same goes for the monologues, or reflections, the characters have with themselves, which feel downright ridiculous. In his effort to be funny, the author has diluted the essence of this supposed action thriller with unnecessary interludes of jokes and funny poems. Almost every character in this novel tries to be funny, which is not funny at all. For a ruthless terrorist outfit having tremendous power and a will to subjugate the world, Chrome Falcon is made to look like a bunch of incompetent maniacs with a really weird sense of humour.
The protagonists’ finding of God and their conversion from their godless ways is rather abrupt, and the inclusion of this Christian theme did not appeal to me much. There is a lot of violence and some swear words in this novel which may repel people with certain sensibilities. Also, some may find parts of this book racist and against people of heavier stature.
In spite of having a decent plot, the poor execution has rendered Chrome Mountain with double the number of pages delivering only half the fun intended by the author. For this reason, I would rate this novel 2 out of 4 stars and would recommend it to people who are willing to pardon the cheesy dialogues while enjoying the fast-paced action.
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