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Review: “Hook”, by Nicolas Tsamis

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“Hook” by Nicolas Tsamis

 

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

One day, I found an inbox from the author of this book, asking me if I wanted to read it and leave an honest review. Of course, I said yes, because the only thing better than a book is a free book!
I was given the choice of having it sent to me either in English or in Greek. I speak Greek, Italian and English, so if a book is originally written in one of those, I prefer reading it in its original language. So I chose greek (it may seem irrelevant, but I’ll get to that later on).

The plot
“Shortly before he dies, an elderly enlightened Teacher in India finds a way to leave his body and remain suspended in a dimension somewhere between life and death. Only Rahul, his loyal student, knows about the Teacher’s plans, as the dying man gives him instructions for the future before leaving his body.
Meanwhile, Konstantinos, a successful 35-year-old bachelor and owner of a software company, finds himself in the middle of the Teacher’s grand plan without realizing it. His life is radically changed, along with that of the woman he loves and everyone else around them, as they all become involved in something so huge, it could positively alter the course of humanity.”

(taken by the book’s GoodReads page.)

What do I think?
It’s been a while since a book had me this confused on whether to like it or not. In the end, I like it, but there are some points that had quite a negative effect on what I thought of it. Don’t be alarmed of how much longer the “didn’t like it” part is, the scale is in favor of the book!
Why I liked it
The way it was written kept me interested. Every chapter was from a different character’s point of view, so I didn’t get the chance to get annoyed and leave it for later. The plot unravels in a reasonable pace, not too quickly, not too slow. It’s easy to keep up and it kept me wondering of what will happen.
The idea of the book was really interesting. It was really close to my ideals. Planet Earth is being mistreated and the human race is so corrupted that it worsens the situation day by day. So, I loved the idea of some people trying to save it, never being blinded by greed and selfishness.
Why I didn’t like it
Being half greek and raised in Greece, there were a few things that seemed unnatural to me. First of all, something that I’ve noticed in many modern greek authors; the dialogues, at least between the greeks of the story, were not quite natural. They didn’t seem “everyday talk” to me. It’s clear that the author tried to make them sound natural, but he didn’t succeed in that. He used expressions and words that are nice on paper, but you rarely hear on everyday life, by everyday people.
Which brings us to the next point: everyday people. Greece is a country strongly attached to its religion, which is the Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It may be influenced by other cultures and open to the idea that there people believe in other religions too, but family and school teach a kid to believe in God. I don’t, by the way, I’m not trying to convert anyone here. It’s just the reason it was hard for me to believe that some characters in the book were so easily convinced by a talking parrot and end up having spiritual sessions with a Buddhist monk. I was convinced by Mirna and maybe Nikos, but it was very hard for me to picture a young head of a rising software company, his partner, a husband and father of two, and his secretary, a beautiful tennis instructor in her late 20s, none of whom had a previous contact with that kind of religion and spirituality, being so open about such a situation.
I also didn’t care much about the chapters that didn’t refer to any character, but seemed like bits taken from a modern encyclopedia, with the only purpose of informing the reader about key subjects of the book. I don’t have an alternative in mind, but they left me neutral. I liked the information and the chapters were not boring to read, but they didn’t “click” with the rest of the book in my mind.
And, finally, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t reach a climax. There was anticipation for something big, that didn’t happen. I guess maybe that was the point, since there’s already a second book. It was a bit “lukewarm”, like we say in Greece!
And one last, tiny detail. As a huge horse lover, in the only page in the book that horses are mentioned, I was bothered by a small detail that shows that the writer didn’t make much effort to research some simple things.

Overall, I liked the book. If someone asked me if they should read it, I would say yes. It’s something different, especially for a Greek author. But after the reviews I read, I expected something more, something more intense than what I read. But I think I’ll read the second book as well at some point.

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