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Saturday, August 21, 2004

BOOK: The Rule of Four 

The Rule of Four started off as a good book. I enjoyed the character development of Tom and Paul, the main protangonists in the novel. But, the authors left the other two friends more a background characters until the end - which was weird because they had important roles in the completion of the quest.

Tom and Paul's attempts to solve the riddles of the Hypnerotomachia were really interesting, and the way the authors showed the development of their relationship worked really well. You were always pulling for these to guys throughout the entire book. Plus there were the adults that were "helping" Paul in his search. They turned out to be using Paul in different ways. One trying to steal the secrets for himself and the other living vicariously through Paul as he gets closer to the answers he could never find.

Tom's struggle to pull away from the temptation of the book which consumed his father's life as well was gripping. The theme of trying to avoid repeating your father's mistakes and doing better resonated pretty well throughout the book. Including at the end, when Tom realized that by not following his passion for the book (the way his father had), he wasn't living his life to the fullest.

I didn't really enjoy the ending though. With Paul's supposed death in the burning house, I felt like the secret would die with him. The book's secrets live on to tempt another generation. But, the final chapter reveals that Paul survived and moved to Italy to find the treasure trove laid out in the book. But, the authors don't explain why Paul let everyone believe he was dead for over 5 years. And, the whole disintegration of the four friends' relationships wasn't fully explained either. It left me wondering why Gil stopped talking to Charlie after his accident, why Gil went away never to be heard from again, etc.

Overall, it was a decent book. The start and build up in the book were good. The ending was mediocre.