Friday, May 20, 2016

José Rodrigues dos Santos - A Chave de Salomão

Comment: My last read was this book (given to me on Christmas 2014) by a Portuguese author,
mostly know for it's job as a journalist and tv host. He also writes fiction (and non fiction about his work in war countries), books that are set in contemporary times, with a mix of suspense, adventure, and romance.
I'm not going to take long to leave a comment, as I know not many people would have access to his books.
The title can be loosely  translated into Solomon's Key.

This book is another adventure of Tomás Noronha, a sort of Robert Langdon but Portuguese, that has a degree in History and travels the world because of his work, therefore being able to know several subjects quite well.
There are several books featuring this character and at the same time we follow his adventures, we have glimpses of his personal life and those connected to him. Tomás Noronha is clinical, but with a moral sense of behavior that makes him handy when trying to get out of a sticky situation but not to the point of always ignoring the law.
In this adventure he is going to have to prove his innocence and show those who accuse him, he isn't a murderer.

This book was quite average for me. There are certain things about the writing that I couldn't help but notice all the time and that I don't appreciate much and the fictional side of things wasn't very fluid either, to the point where things seemed to be there just because and not for any plot motif.

What annoyed me the more was how, despite being Portuguese and writing in that language, the author included countless english expressions, usually swear words, that didn't add anything to the story. 
The writing has no grammatical mistakes obviously, but there are long sentences, paragraphs explaining the main theme, which is quantic physics and how that applies to the universe and even human existence in general. I'm certain most of the content, if not all, is precise and the reflex of the author's extensive and dedicated work of investigation. His notes at the end show us his appreciation for many people's help. However, the information we have in the book, which is given in a fictional setting, plot related of course, isn't very easy to follow because it's too much at a time. Like everything is important and we have to read it all.
Then the author chose to develop his stories very similarly to author Dan Brown, someone whose work is based on several ideas and his interpretation of them.
Here we have the same but with Portuguese characters and cities, etc., but I can't help having the feeling it's much alike.

The romance section isn't quite exact in terms of credibility. People's dialogues, situations are too easy and unlikely to happen and it's hard to imagine it happening.
The characters simply don't act like everyday people. Tomás is the most developed character and he's mostly charming but I can't connect with him. Sure, I like his ideas and behavior but emotionally I can easily keep my distance. 
The secondary characters are precisely that, secondary and often a cliché or a handy tool.

There's also a situation in this book, about Tomás' mother, who has an out-of-body experience when suffering a heart-attack and there's some plot time dedicated to it and if it's true or not. Interesting but at the end of the day it didn't add anything to the plot or the book as a whole so... interesting but pointless somehow.

The book is interesting, I like the theme and the explanations, learning more... but in general, apart from that, the story isn't that captivating or well executed. But it entertains.
Grade: 5/10

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