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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bourne Sanction, Bourne Deception

Bourne Sanction,
Bourne Deception,
by Eric Van Lustbader



No doubt many from my generation went through the Richard Bach phase quoting profusely from Illusions, saving a special place in their hearts (and bookshelves) for Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

When I was young and impressionable, and not so jaded, I fell in love with just about every dashing character in the novels I read. Like Jason Bourne, for instance. I could never get him out of my mind among all the two dozen Ludlum novels I read until the plot all began to get enmeshed, confounding my poor brain.

I refused to watch Matt Damon's Jason Bourne movies because I did not want to distort this perfect image of Bourne I had shaped in my teenage mind. Eventually, I did give in and watch, fighting and knocking it all the way through. I love Matt Damon. Totally. But, I liked the Jason Bourne my mind created more. Matt was just too cute to be Jason in my head. No matter.

Anyway, taking a popular character like Bourne, written by a master of the genre, and trying to present him to the same (and potentially new) audience is not easy. So, when I heard about the new Jason Bourne novels by Eric Van Lustbader, I scoffed thanks to my usual state of resistance to welcome change.

And then, I came around and read them. And, they are not too terrible. Considering how easily I get disenchanted these days, it has not been easy to stick with tedious and meandering prose and plot in action mystery thriller novels genre anymore.

Did I like the new Bourne books? Well, it depends on what we mean by "like".

I read it fast, it wasn't too time-consuming. It wasn't too painful. The prose was quite repetitive and blasé. The plot moved more at a leisurely freight train speed when I expected close to purposeful jetliner speed, if not warp-speed. But, that's just me. I'll stick with my original Jason Bourne until Ludlum decides to come back and breathe life into his enigmatic character, entangling him in believable yet convoluted plots, unfolding a fantastic story that I have to read holding my breath.

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