Don't judge a book by its cover: Matthew Reilly's "Four Legendary Kingdoms"

They say not to judge a book by its cover, and I can say with some certainty how true this statement can be.

Not having read a Matthew Reilly book before and seeing the slightly fantastical cover board of The Four Legendary Kingdoms, I thought to myself “Uh Oh this may be a bit of a challenge to read”

How wrong I was. As I started to read I began an adventure of mythical proportions and non-stop action, as a desperate race for life unfolds.

Jack West Jr is the principal character who, kidnapped, finds himself in a battle literally to the death with 11 other combatants in what is called the “Underworld”. He is the reluctant representative of the Kingdom of Land. A late inclusion due to the untimely demise of the champion in training., there are three others in his team. However, since it is a game to the death, there is no team work at play. The other Kingdoms are Sea, Sky and the Underworld. The continents as we know them are a figment of our imagination, the world is divided into four sections and have a ruler over each. Who Knew?

Four Legendary Kingdoms

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This sounds like a fantasy novel, however, it is placed in the present day, here on Earth. No aliens involved or travelling to other worlds or dimensions. There is, however, the rather pressing issue of the Hydra Galaxy. This galaxy is moving toward the Milky Way and Earth rather rapidly and the purpose of the games is to prove by winning the challenges and therefore the games, that the earth is worthy to continue its existence.

If that is not all Jack has to contend with, he discovers that his daughter and friends (oh and two dogs) are being held hostage as extra incentive to win. If he dies, they die.

Are you all still with me???

Jack West Jr has had many adventures and has seen a lot of weird things, he has re-erected the capstone on the Great Pyramid of Giza during a dazzling solar event. He has seen Stonehenge come alive under the light of a Dark sun, he found the tomb of Jesus Christ and has seen himself revealed as one of the five greatest ‘warriors’ of history: an elite group of influential figures – warriors of battle and ideas – made up of himself, Moses, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and Christ.

Not a bad resume, but is it enough to see him through the 9 challenges ahead. There can only be one winner, and not everyone plays by the rules.

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This is not the first Jack West Jr book that Matthew Reilly has written but if you, like me have never actually read one be reassured that this is a stand-alone novel, reading the ones that came before is not a prerequisite.

This was such an entertaining, “can’t really put it down” kind of read, which I imagine is the author’s goal and if this is so, he has indeed succeeded. 

Gladiatorial like rituals do not really appeal to me (a little blood thirsty for my tastes) but this book has so much more within its pages. It is clever, full of imagination, has twists and turns you never see coming and through it all you see the very best and the very worst of humanity. I love the humour interspersed as well. 

If this is not your usual genre, I do encourage you to pick it up and enjoy a novel written not to make a statement, but to simply entertain. 

The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly is available now from Dymocks. Click here to learn more.