Thank You, Mr. Conroy

Week 1: Rising Sun by Robert Conroy

So I told you on Christmas that I intended to read one book a week to ultimately read fifty-two books this year. I started Robert Conroy‘s Rising Sun, but because I went on vacation to visit my wonderful girlfriend, I could not finish the book until today. Have no fear! I can still accomplish my goal, with room to spare given some thoughtful planning. I’ve finished the book and I’ll give you a miniature review on it, my thoughts and of course an update on all things writing.

First, I’d like to say quite sadly that it wasn’t until I finished the book and looked up Robert Conroy that I learned he passed away due to a battle with cancer. I’m overwhelming glad that beyond his life he lived on through his writing, and I seriously doubt Rising Sun will be the only Conroy book I read in my fifty-two week long journey.

I’ll that say Robert Conroy’s literature is not prodigal, but his ability to tell stories is ultimately compelling. The book’s premise is that the Battle of Midway is won not by the United States, but rather by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The primary character is a naval officer named Tim Dane, and he has a cast of characters who grow throughout the novel and you are ultimately concerned with their fate. There are two fictional Japanese characters as well, but I wish they had been fleshed out more, as I’ve always enjoyed the perspective of antagonists, more so since the Japanese were compelled to fight on no matter what.

The plot is fluid and dynamic and there are few moments of downtime. However, because this is an alternate historical fiction novel, I thought it would have been keen to add the dates to see how everything progressed. Without dates, you’re kind of left to your own devices to ponder how much time has passed.

There are also several sex scenes in the novel, some more detailed than others and while I won’t complain, I felt they were oddly placed in a alternate fiction novel based on heavily on several nation’s military’s during the second world war. It’s a doubler edged sword for me because I know these characters are intended to be human, and humans have sex. A lot of sex. Even when people are killing each other. So it made them feel more human, all the while feeling slightly off as the scenes were usually written between intervals of naval bombings and banzai charges.

There were some instances where characters were introduced, I believe, purely for the sake of moving the plot forward and were never heard of again. I’m not necessarily a fan of this, but I understand that it’s a better alternative than having characters do unworldly things to advance the plot.

Ultimately, Robert Conroy creates an interesting story with a plethora of characters set during the most atrocious and costly war humankind has ever known. He takes on real life characters like Admiral Spruance and the Japanese genius Isoroku Yamamato with a verve and charm that gives life to human beings I can only imagine from greyed out pictures in my history books. I don’t have a rating system, but if I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love of anything historical!

The book I’ll be reading for the second week of 2015 will be Double Dead by Chuck Wendig. I have no earthly idea how I came across Chuck Wendig, but I purchased his self-published book the Kick-Ass Writer when I made the conscious decision to take my writing seriously and I found him both a realist and a comedian. What better way to compliment a writer than reading another of his books? Swing by in a week and see what I think of Chuck this time.

Bonne journée, mes amis.

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