While Jack West Jr. adjusts to a more quiet life on his farm in Australia, he’s informed of some troubling news that involves a runaway galaxy and the destruction of earth. His day worsens when he’s kidnapped, drugged, and then wakes up in a dark and damp cell.
As Jack would soon learn, he was kidnapped by the “four eternal kingdoms” who, very quietly behind the scenes, rule the world.
After being attacked in his cell, Jack killed the would-be attacker and walks through the still-open door. Stepping into the light, Jack finds himself in a huge arena, surrounded by other participants–all of whom are forced to partake in a battle-to-the-death earth-saving ritual that is as unbelievable as it sounds. As the announcer, who calls himself Hades, speaks, it becomes painfully obvious to Jack that he has no way to escape the arena and the games.
Making matters worse, each participant, including Jack, learns that their families have been kidnapped and are being held in viewing rooms where they can watch the games. If a participant dies, his family is killed too. For Jack, that means that not only is his life at stake, but so too are the lives of his daughter, Lily, her friend, and Sky Monster, one of Jack’s pilot buddies.
From there, Jack and the other participants are forced to compete in a dangerous series of events. Things are made increasingly more hazardous each step of the way, especially when Jack and the others attempt to complete their objectives with killer minotaurs coming at them in waves.
Along the way, Jack runs into another well-known character whom Reilly incorporated nicely into the plot. Long-time fans of Reilly’s work will definitely appreciate seeing the two characters together. Likewise, those who are already fans of Reilly’s unique blend of thrillers will most likely really enjoy The Four Legendary Kingdoms.
On the flip side, should someone pick this book up without knowing too much about it, chances are they’ll be surprised by the fantasy-like feel that, apart from the runaway galaxy stuff, isn’t all that different from The Hunger Games.
The games themselves are fun enough and entertaining, and Reilly is certainly a talented writer who knows how to set the stage and bring these unbelievable worlds to life. However, this isn’t the best book to dive into if you’ve never met Jack West Jr. before, as Reilly spends very little time going into the character’s backstory. Since understanding who Jack is and how he operates is critical to the story, or at least to the reader’s ability to thoroughly enjoy the plot, I would recommend new readers start with one of Reilly’s previous novels.
Matthew Reilly is known for weaving historical elements into his over-the-top action adventure novels, and The Four Legendary Kingdoms is no exception. Longtime fans of his series will devour the latest offering, while casual fans may struggle to get into the silly plot, which is far-fetched even for Reilly.
Author: Matthew Reilly
Series: Jack West Jr. #4
Pages: 488 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 2, 2017 (Order Now!)