Review by GCamer -- The Expansion by Christoph Martin

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GCamer
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Review by GCamer -- The Expansion by Christoph Martin

Post by GCamer » 08 Aug 2017, 20:43

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Expansion" by Christoph Martin.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Did you know that the Panama Canal was considered one of mankind’s top engineering achievements in 1914? It was the biggest earth dam with a 50-mile long passage. Were you aware that its capacity even doubled when an eight-year expansion project was completed in 2016? The ambitious feat was initially scheduled for completion in 2014, the Canal's centennial anniversary, but was delayed due to financial hurdles and labor disputes. And did you know that I only found out about all of these after reading The Expansion by Christoph Martin? The facts were not actually in the book, but the writing team wrote a very believable story that I couldn't help but do further research about the topic.

Wait. Writing team? Yes, you read it right. Christoph Martin is the writing team of Christoph Martin Zollinger and Libby O’Loghlin. The writing duo traveled to different locations, interviewed various people and did a lot of research in order to gain inspiration and real-life experience in their writing process. Christoph’s first-hand experience in legal, military, corporate and private enterprise in Panama was complemented by Libby’s award-winning writing expertise. No wonder the plot they created seemed so close to reality that it’s both exciting and frightening at the same time.

Imagine yourself landing the job of your dreams in the beautiful tropical country of Panama. Wouldn’t that be great? The protagonist of The Expansion, Max Burns, had all these luxuries when his technical design won him the bid for a once in a lifetime project in Panama, a construction that was so huge it had a direct impact on international maritime trade. Starting his head engineer assignment, he was immediately taken into a world of glamor with international diplomacy and political prestige. But conspiracy, corruption, sabotage and murder all turned Max’s world upside down. He felt betrayed by his old high school friend, Godfredo Roco, who convinced him to join this ambitious project. He had no choice but to trust a scientist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, his new found love, Karis Deen. But there’s more to Karis that meets the eye because she’s part of a team that could either help Max swim out of this shark tank or help bring him down deep.

Though most sub-characters were only briefly introduced, they added color in this shark tank game. People from all walks of life were portrayed. Some would trade anything and everything to get what they want. Others would just be satisfied with the simplicities of life. Deep and shallow relationships were also depicted ranging from brief encounters at a social event to a dysfunctional yet unbreakable father-son partnership. The competition for international power also gave a peek into the minds of patriotic people who are willing to do the unthinkable for his/her country.

The book opened with scenes reminding me of spy films with a glamorous party and an explosive tragedy. I was immediately intrigued by the backstory of the characters. However, the following chapters turned into a slow read for me. I was taken into a world full of phone calls pulling strings followed by an array of casual and formal meetings. Then, by the middle of the book, the tempo accelerated with confrontations and revelations which led to a finale that left me hanging.

I was kind of tepid with the inconsistent pacing. As a fan of TV series like CSI, NCIS and Bones, I was waiting for more crime scene investigations and secret agent actions. I felt some details were somewhat superficial, and I was inclined to deduct one star for my rating. But after some consideration, I decided to give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.

The unsteady pacing gave the story a unique flow. Going away with too much technical stuff made the book not too complicated. The C/T/M/H aspect of the book was not too deep, but it was just right for YA readers. Obviously, the abrupt ending made me hungry for more. And the exciting part is author Christoph is planning a trip to the Arctic which gave me something to look forward to for the upcoming book.

******
The Expansion
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Ayosinmi
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Post by Ayosinmi » 13 Aug 2017, 02:55

Now, this is what I consider an excellent review. I think I would like to read this book sometimes soon. I like your vocabulary range, quite rich. I love your own view of the book, it's unique. Over all, I enjoyed reading your review and writing this comment. Well done dear
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Post by jeminah28 » 13 Aug 2017, 08:34

Wow, beautiful review and entertaining. Panama canal is really amazing and controversial. Too, many people were involved and too many people passed before it has been completed.
"Reading never stops even if there is an ending."
_jem_

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Post by GCamer » 14 Aug 2017, 01:52

Thank you, Ayosinmi! I'm very much flattered. The book compelled me to do a lot of research and that helped me write this review. I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading it.

-- 14 Aug 2017, 01:55 --

You're right, Jem. I've read that many people died during the construction. Different countries were also involved in the making of the original canal and the expansion which makes it a really controversial project.

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Post by Samuel Waragu » 14 Aug 2017, 02:38

Great review. There is a very good reason why this book has been a Book Of The Day more than once.

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Post by GCamer » 14 Aug 2017, 07:50

Thanks, Samuel. I completely agree with you. This book deserves being BOTD and BOTM ^_^ I think it's also running for book of the year.

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Post by Amagine » 16 Aug 2017, 13:15

I read this book and I enjoyed it too. This book is interesting enough to attract a YA audience as well.

Great Review! ?
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GCamer
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Post by GCamer » 16 Aug 2017, 19:56

You're right, Amagine.
This book is interesting enough to attract a YA audience as well.
I'm glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did. :D

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Post by alwaysdaddygirl » 16 Aug 2017, 22:20

Kudos! I agree your vocabulary is rich. I disagree on some things from the authors.
That is okay to have different opinions. It is America. Before I forget,your passion of writing shines when you write.

??
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GCamer
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Post by GCamer » 16 Aug 2017, 23:31

Thank you alwaysdaddygirl for your very kind words. You're right, we are entitled to our own opinion.

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Post by bookowlie » 17 Aug 2017, 09:25

I enjoyed reading your insightful review! I like your comment that the supporting characters added color to the story. Still, I am not sure this book is something I would like due to the slow pacing in some sections. Glad you enjoyed the story.
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Post by Darakhshan Nazir » 17 Aug 2017, 16:22

This book is totally woah!! It is Book of the month .
Thank you for such a nice review
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GCamer
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Post by GCamer » 17 Aug 2017, 21:29

Thanks, bookowlie. To be honest I was a little bit turned off by the slow pacing at the beginning. But I also read slow so I pulled through. Hehe! :D The last part turned out fast.. actually I felt it became too fast :wink: Regardless I still enjoyed reading it.

-- 17 Aug 2017, 21:33 --

Thank you, Darakshan Nazir. I'm glad you liked my review. I agree that this book is "totally woah!!" I have High hopes for the next book.

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Post by ReviewerDiksha » 18 Aug 2017, 00:13

I read a sample of this book. And it was really impressive. I like such books where they research so much and then create something awesome out of it. Your review has peaked my interest further in the book.

GCamer
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Post by GCamer » 18 Aug 2017, 08:55

Hi, ReviewerDiksha! Thanks for the comment! I've read the co-authors really invested in research. I hope you'll like this book.

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