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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Part 2 was even better
Dark Prospects was awesome, and I basically finished the entire thing in one sitting. But like other people have been saying, once I finished it there were still a bunch of things in the story that were left unresolved, and nowhere in the book did it say anything about this being part of a series. However, despite being disappointed by the ending, I still enjoyed the book...
Published 19 months ago by Deslyn

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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A total secret
`Search for the Buried Bomber' begins in an interesting way. The first is that it is written by one of China's most popular novelists and this book is said to be hailed as China's most spectacular suspense novel. We begin by reading the memories of a retired geological prospector who was sent on a mission in 1962. He says he swore to never reveal what he saw and he will...
Published on February 12, 2013 by wogan


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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A total secret, February 12, 2013
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`Search for the Buried Bomber' begins in an interesting way. The first is that it is written by one of China's most popular novelists and this book is said to be hailed as China's most spectacular suspense novel. We begin by reading the memories of a retired geological prospector who was sent on a mission in 1962. He says he swore to never reveal what he saw and he will not break that oath - he accomplishes that to a great degree.

We learn a lot about caves and geological prospecting, step by step it is described, their journey and the problems inch by inch. The improbability of what is happening, with doors welded shut and bodies entangled in wire and sacks, wide rivers and endless spaces are cursorily described but it is extremely difficult to picture the surroundings. There are just too many questions and too many unknowns. At almost every step the narrator is at deaths door and escapes from that situation to land in another one. People are lost from the expedition and some found again, they come into the storyline and out again, which does not lend to a smooth plot; it just makes understanding what is really going on more difficult. Why would a real group act in this manner?

The setting and the plot are so odd that it is hard to distinguish what is really happening. We are never given a satisfactory ending or explanation of the bomber they find -oh we are told it has made a flight, but the reason and results are not for us to know. We are simply told that what he has seen makes his blood run cold and possibly is the most incredible thing in human history.

When so much is hidden from the reader and we are not even left in on a conclusion ...why tell the story? It's like a slap in the face to the reader, we are worthy of reading and taking the time to listen but not respected enough to be given an answer.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ending just leaves you hanging., February 28, 2013
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Xu Lei's SEARCH FOR THE BURIED BOMBER held my interest right up until the end. The story deals with Chinese prospectors investigating an underground Japanese base abandoned beneath China. As the prospectors go deeper and deeper underground, they find strange evidence in the camp, including a huge Japanese bomber that was assembled, and flown, underground. Along the way their number begin to succumb to various accidents and treachery, plus they find the corpses of a team sent in earlier that they knew nothing about.

While the book is definitely Indiana Jones-esque in it's over the top archeological traps and discoveries, as entertainment I enjoyed reading it right up until the end. Mostly because there IS no end. The book just stops, leaving the reader wondering why they just wasted their time reading the book! No indication that conclusion will be presented in sequels either, so I was just left hanging and frustrated.

In addition, the book appears to be written in formal English, meaning it doesn't flow very well and seems somewhat stoic, no doubt because the author is native Chinese.

Not worth the effort, considering the ending.

If you don't find the review helpful, please leave a comment so I may continue to improve my reviews.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise, but left me flat at the end...read on, January 12, 2013
By 
ARH (The Shadow of the Tetons) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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I decided to give this book a try, because it was written by an up and coming Chinese author, and I was curious to see what he might have to offer in the way of action adventures.

Without giving anything away, I found the story telling to be smooth, and the writing did not get in the way of the story. The story is, like many action books, plot-driven, with one event leading to the next, to the next, and so on. The character development was adequate for the story, but certainly not outstanding.

I will say that in order to enjoy this book you have to be able to suspend reality and willingly move into the realm of the extraordinarily unlikely.

When I finished reading the last page and the afterward, it became clear that this book has to be the first of a series...either that or the author just ran out of ideas and quit. It was that abrupt. My main criticism of this book is that when you expected the loose ends to be tied up and answers to be provided I was left left cold, flat, and alone as a reader, with nothing to go on except the expectation that another book might clear things up. That is, this book didn't provide any sort of satisfying, stand-alone resolution. While I would be moderately interested in discovering what the author left hanging at the end of this book, I am not willing to read on, because there is no guarantee that the same thing wont't happen at the end of book 2 or 3 or...
plus the story was not compelling enough for me invest time to read the next installment in the series.

The book does not sufficiently stand alone to recommend it on its own merits, and I felt abandoned by the author in the end. Just so you know.

For this reason, the best recommendation I can award is 2 or 3 stars. I'll go ahead and award 3 stars.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different but disappointing., May 13, 2013
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Totally fascinating premise. Very interesting time and place. Well written (translated) technically. We're even given a locked room mystery. I read a lot of Oriental fiction (in translation). I am used to the style being different from "our" style. I am really interested in that area and enjoy learning about it, even through fiction.

This is apparently the first in a series of some length. Unfortunately, it went to great lengths to not give the reader enough of the story.

There were too many times the author lit the bulb for the reader hours after leaving us in the dark. It was disappointing that it ended in the way in which it did. This deserves five stars for concept and one star for delivery of the story. That averages to three stars. I'm not sure I'm willing to spend this much time on a sequel. Fool me once and all that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Part 2 was even better, July 28, 2013
Dark Prospects was awesome, and I basically finished the entire thing in one sitting. But like other people have been saying, once I finished it there were still a bunch of things in the story that were left unresolved, and nowhere in the book did it say anything about this being part of a series. However, despite being disappointed by the ending, I still enjoyed the book so much that I kept thinking about it after it was over. Recently, wanting to see what else the author Xu Lei had written, I searched his name on Amazon and came up with this page: Into the Abyss (Dark Prospects). As you have no doubt guessed, I had found the second and final book of the Dark Prospects series! I was so excited to have discovered it that I immediately downloaded it and began reading. Once again I finished the whole thing in practically one sitting, but this time the ending was extremely satisfying. Just about everything was resolved, and the few parts that weren't were,in my opinion, better left mysterious. Seriously, the finale to this series is really incredible and totally unexpected, so everyone who liked book one but was disappointed by the cliffhanger ending should definitely check it out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So what was the answer to the mystery?, May 26, 2013
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A rather long and convoluted story which raises a mystery about the presence of the bomber and the purpose of the WWII Japanese excavations, but never provides the reader with the answer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First book of series, therefore incomplete ending., January 6, 2013
By 
Fuzzbean (Nangoku, Japan) - See all my reviews
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I selected this book partly because it just sounded like an interesting story, and partly because it was written by a Chinese author. I've visited China twice myself, and am extremely interested in understanding the character and worldview of the Chinese people... something that mostly eluded me during my short tourist trips. And indeed I was intrigued to find that the author does mention the terrors of the "Cultural Revolution" in relatively frank terms. As to Chinese opinion of the Japanese, if this book represents 2012 more than it does the story's date of 1962, then maybe the Japanese better quit kicking the 8000 pound gorilla over those dinky islands out there and concentrate their military efforts on building a really big fence around their homeland.

As other reviewers have noted, this book is a heck of an exciting read. Much of it reminds me of Tom Sawyer's journey through McDougal's Cave, magnified about 500 times. If anything, the book has a slight comic-book type air to it, like the old horror comics of the 1950's. Mysterious clue after mysterious clue is uncovered, one baffling discovery after another, until halfway through the book I thought to myself that the author is going to have to pull off one HECK of ending to tie all this stuff together and explain everything in a satisfactory way. Well, as I got 40 pages from the end, then 30, then 20, it became sadly obvious that there was going to be no such complete ending. Not to say that nothing at all was explained, but I guess they have to keep you hooked for the next installment. I myself was not entirely clear that this was part of a planned series, so for a bit I had felt the author had lazily copped out with one of those "figure it out yourself" type endings. But I guess the "Dark Prospects" bit mentioned on the back cover of my proof copy is the name of the series so I'm giving the author the benefit of the doubt that more things (such as the fates of at least 6 different groups of people who disappeared along the way) will be explained later.

The translation is generally very good. Yet perhaps the author benefits from the translation in that minor errors which may well be his responsibility can instead be blamed on the translator to help keep the story believable. For instance, a bomber aircraft with a "rusty" skin (weren't they made out of aluminum?) and an "engine room" (weren't the engines out on the wings?). Early on in the book we are told that a forest fire evaporated enough water out of a bog or swamp to uncover the wreckage of an aircraft concealed there. Later, seismic sonar not only reveals in detail the thin metal skin of an aircraft sitting in an open chamber 3600 feet underground, but also apparently misses vastly larger concrete structures located right next to that aircraft. I found these things, each fairly crucial to the plot, impossible to believe... yet somehow I was able to blame the translator in an effort to better enjoy the story.

Characters are developed in an interesting fashion, each sometimes showing great weaknesses, yet at other times great strengths.

For whatever faults this tale might have, I'd certainly be inclined to buy further books from this author. I'll just be REALLY mad if he never does end the story properly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2013 (so far - it's only February), February 27, 2013
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Apparently the author, Xu Lei, is famous. I had never heard of him or anything he has written before reading this book. And if he is famous, this book could be a fine indicator of why. An amazing story with plenty of sub-plots and just enough character development to keep the people in the story real, without burdening the story itself with their details.

You can read what the book is about from the blurb, so I won't waste time retelling it - it's a very fast paced story, with mostly short chapters that lead seamlessly into one another. You won't find yourself putting the book down and thinking that if you don't pick it up again, no matter. You'll want to live in the story of what's happening, both the immediate concerns of the main character, and in their overarching goal (why's there a bomber to begin with.)

Highly recommended. ***SLIGHT SPOILER BELOW***

***slight spoiler***
While the ending didn't exactly tie up all the loose ends, tying up everything perfectly likely wouldn't have made for such a compelling story. Perhaps the author is planning to make a sequel, but if not, the story stands perfectly fine as it is: the parts of lingering mystery are what make the ending - giving an explanation for every question raised implicitly and explicitly would have weakened the entire story, I feel.
*** end spoiler ***
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, September 12, 2013
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Long protracted story with a blah ending. Story goes on and on with no point or conclusion. Waste of money
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing..., January 30, 2013
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When I first started to read it I thought the writing was a little strange, then I read the back cover and realized it was a translated work, from Chinese to English. And that made the prose fall into place, in fact it gave it a verisimilitude that perfect English wouldn't have.

The book is about post-WWII China, a group of prospectors going deep into a cave system to locate a WWII era Japanese bomber hidden below ground. The book reminded me of Journey to the Center of the Earth but modern, much more detailed and with a Chinese flavor. It was like Journey to the Center of the Earth on steroids. It was part adventure, part horror. The writing was very good. I could feel myself right next to the prospectors along the journey. I could even imagine being in early Communist China right after the war when natural emotions of normal people were suppressed so as not to get reported as counter-revolutionary.

It kept me reading late into the night and into the morning, page after page as I traveled with the prospectors turning one corner after another, until I finally finished it 5am in the morning. There was a twist every few chapters as strange things kept happening and I read on to find out what happened. I also learned not to look at the title of the next chapter as it often revealed what the twist was before I could read it in the text.

Overall, I liked the book very much, but I was displeased with the ending. The ending is in the style of these Chinese novels so I did not deduct as many stars as I initially wanted. You can read why below if you don't mind the spoilers.

-----Spoilers here
It was a 5 star book all the way until they got to the giant dam and warehouse complex at the end. I thought, no way that the Japanese could have built all of that at that time. And even if I could accept it for the sake of the story, the bumbling around inside was too tedious and repetitive. Even the twists got repetitive as it became apparent that they often did not add to the story.

Lastly, I realized with a shock of dismay that the book ended right at page 325 with absolutely no explanation! Since this is a foreign book, there is no guarantee that the 2nd book will be translated into English. And it appears that his other series, Secrets of a Grave Robber is 8 volumes long, of which only 3 have been published in English.

The style of Chinese novel which I mentioned above is one where the series is one continuous long story and each book cannot be read by itself. These stories can be up to 20 books long!

My recommendation is not to read this one until more in the series have been published in English, unless you really like cliff hangers.
-----Spoiler end
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