John Twelve Hawks: The Dark River (Fourth Realm Trilogy #2)

John Twelve Hawks: The Dark River (Fourth Realm Trilogy #2) (Vintage, 2008).

If privacy had a gravestone it might read: ‘Don’t Worry. This Was for Your Own Good.’ (p. 362)
I’m a bit confused. I’m not quite sure what I think about this book and I find it very different from The Traveler, the first book in the trilogy.
Whereas The Traveler had action, it also had some thought behind the action. It went into details with John Twelve Hawks’ thoughts on privacy, surveillance and the world we live in. This book has none of that – except a short speech by Gabriel. When you start reading, the action starts and it doesn’t stop before the book ends.
This is definitely a typical second book in a trilogy – lots of things happen but most of it just build a bridge between the first and the third book. When we start out, our small band of heroes have realized that Michael Corrigan has gone over to the Brethren/the Tabula for good. Maya is still recuperating after the injury she suffered while rescuing Gabriel and Vicki from the Evergreen Foundation’s head quarter.
But soon, the action starts. We’re in New York and the Tabula quickly figure out where Maya, Gabriel and the rest of the group is hiding. During the escape, they become separated and since Gabriel has recently learned that his father is still alive, he decides to travel to London to try and find him. Slowly the rest of the group make their way after him, trying to stay off the Grid and find each other at the same time. Something that gets even harder when Gabriel is able to cross over to other realms …
The entire book is a game of cat-and-mouse. It’s exciting, at times it read a bit like The Da Vinci Code when we get to go to both New York, London, Berlin, Rome and Ethiopia. But whereas the first in the series gave me a lot of food for thought, this didn’t. This is pure action, nothing more.
However – something else happens. There are some true surprises in this book. One important character is introduced – and we loose a couple of important characters. One of these characters is lost in a way that I’m not sure I completely buy. Maya makes a decision that has very serious consequences and leads to the death of one of our main characters. But I’m not sure this decision is completely in character – in some ways it feels a bit like JXIIH had a certain thing he wanted to see happen and the only way he could get it to happen was to remove Maya from the equation for a while. But his way of removing her could have been better. I know this sound rather cryptic but I don’t want to spoil it for anybody reading it.
I enjoyed reading this but it wasn’t as satisfying a read as The Traveler. Hopefully, JXIIH can bring it all together and finish it in a way that lives up to the promises made by the first book

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