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on November 11, 2000
I bought this book having never heard anything about it. Purely an impulse purchase I was somewhat intrigued by the synopsis on the back and figured "what the heck?" and so I dropped my 7 bucks thinking I'd be putting this on my bookshelf afterward, only to let it fall into the haze of forgotten, impulse reads. Little did I know that I would be recommending this book to friends and family alike. Sure it's a little bit on the unbelievable side (ok, it's almost entirely unbelievable) but the characterization, the action, and the sub-plotting were enough to make me read this book straight through in one white knuckled sitting!
A world untouched, deep beneath the Antarctic continent, filled with riches beyond your wildest dreams. And an unseen danger, hidden for eons that may be the very doom of humanity! Secret military installations, extreme gadgetry, an awesome monster(s), and twist after twist make Subterranean perfect reading for adventure fans. Full of action and with nary a slow moment in its 410 page frame this book is perfect for those who like their stories Adrenaline filled! So if you're looking for a conglomeration of about every action movie ever made (with just about every possible element for the genre) pick this book up and allow yourself a guilty, non-thinking pleasure!
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on December 1, 1999
I just finished Subterranean and am so disappointed.....that I am done! It was so riveting! I read 3-5 books a week most weeks and it is actually very rare that I find a book that I literally find it hard to put down. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, right there with the characters. I have my favorite authors but after awhile you get used to their formula and the excitement isn't always there. James Rollins is awesome! I was not surprised that he has experience in caving because his descriptions were so real. His manner of describing events, keeping the story moving and just plain storyteling were amazing, especialy for a first book. I cannot wait for his next book. I will recommend this book to anyone, even if they think this is not "their kind of story", it is exciting, riveting and absolutely impossible to put down at many points. I lost quite a bit of sleep because I was reading a part of it that I had to see what would happen next. I was hoping Mr. Rollins had a website so I could find out if he had another book in the works. I hope so, I can't wait!
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This is one of those books that is hard to put down, but in a way you want to put it down: you get wrapped up in the situations and characters (hard to put down), then the author will start getting your emotions running high and scare you a bit (the want to put down part). Many times while reading this book I found my pulse racing a little bit faster, and I felt like I was right in the middle of the action vs. someone reading a novel.

If you enjoy a good thriller I would recommend this one. I originally purchased this book at $6.39 and, as I type this review the pricing is just $1.99 for the Kindle Daily Deal: you will certainly get more than $6.39 of entertainment value out of this one!
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on July 17, 2004
I was so excited when I bought this book. I couldn't wait to jump into my Laz-E-Boy and read. I love science fiction and I am a caver; Journey To The Center Of The Earth greatly influenced me as a child. However, Rollins's book is huge loser.
The characters are cliches. The plot is derivative. There is no character development at all. I hate to say it, but I could not finish the book - it was that bad. Worst of all, the characters seem to lack imagination or interest in their own circumstances. An eleven year old boy narrowly escapes tyranosaurus-type creatures five miles below the Antarctic, speeds through subterranean shutes and tunnels in his rubber raft, barely makes it to shore, and then pulls out his GameBoy because he is bored. His mother, meanwhile, in another part of the cave, cannot control her pent-up animal passion for one of her teammates while running from the attacking creatures. Yes, Ashley is so aware of Ben's hot flesh against hers while running from the faux dinosaur things, that they have to take a quick break from fleeing and kiss. Right.
I could possibly soldier through cardboard characters if the plot makes sense. But it does not. Unfortunately, I bought the book new and paid full price. Fortunately, it was the paperback version.
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on July 5, 2003
Pretty good plot but the character development is terrible and research is worse. Main character Ashley is a whiner you quickly grow to detest. Ben is a nerd. Poor research. Khalid is from Egypt, a country whose "lifeblood is oil". Egypt has very little oil production. Another scene has a character who tapes a bunch of bullets together and shoots them to cause a explosion. An impossible feat. Author has two SEALs he ranks as majors. No such rank in the navy, would be Lt. Commanders. Two Marine brothers calling each other "soldier". Marines call themselves "marine", never soldier. This just goes on and on. Started to give the book two stars because plot is decent but, on reflection, decided one star was ample reward for what is clearly a lazy writer.
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VINE VOICEon October 12, 2006
Terrible! Sounded good from the synopsis - a hidden world beneath the polar ice caps, and a team put together to go explore when another team goes missing - but the characters were so wooden and annoying that I fervently hoped all of them would die, violently, at the hands (well, teeth) of the T-Rex type creatures who live in the underground world. You had the stereotypical tough-gal single mom who brings her brat with her, the oh-so-hunky military guy she eventually beds, and the evil Arabic archetype who wants to blow everything up. I can't even bother to give more detail than that; it's not worth it. I'm surprised I even finished it.
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on October 23, 1999
James Rollins has put together an intertaining novel about this hidden world beneath the ice, it starts out very well, with the impending expedition that was great reading, but - the characters are pretty wooden, the action became a bit forced, the creatures were good and the lost race was unique to a degree but the lust of the main character Ben grew quickly tiresome. The villianous Khalid was a good additon, but he could have been fleshed out more. The Navy SEAL's were a good touch, but the rank of "major" isn't a naval rating. The annoying use of the term "soldier" was applied incorrectly to describe the SEAL's. The author should become more familiar with modern weaponry and the military before placing them into another novel. Some of the characters were always grinding or gnashing their teeth, most irritating. Over all, fun to read, but not written well and a very weak ending, please, no sequel. It would make a terrific film, however.
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on May 23, 2013
I got this on Kindle because it was heavily on sale, and a few of the reviews said they liked it, so I gave it a shot. Honestly I only finished the book because I didn't want the money spent to TOTALLY go to waste. Otherwise I would have thrown it out after about 4 chapters. The characters are insipid, and calling them one dimensional is an insult to one-dimensional characters everywhere. The plot makes no sense of any kind, even with the wildest suspension of disbelief.

Of the most egregious problems that I had (in addition to the writing, which was just terrible) with the book:
1) The main characters are sent out on a rescue mission to find people who took a couple of weeks (at most) of supplies, but have been gone for 4 months.
2) This rescue mission consists of only 7 people, instead of the 50 or so that would approximate realism.
3) The fact that it's a rescue mission is kept from them until about 5 minutes before they are supposed to leave. Everybody is ok with that. Nobody bothers to ask why they were needed.
4) Of the 7 people on this rescue mission, only ONE of them is an experienced caver.
5) The leader of this rescue expedition is...an anthropologist?
6) Ashley is given less than a single day to explore cultural ruins before being shipped off.
7) One of the members of the expedition is an extreme claustrophobe.
8) Three of the 7 team members are soldiers who are armed to the teeth, and nobody stops to question why such an arsenal would be required for a rescue operation deep underground.
9) People are talking about vulnerable ecosystems, in ANTARCTICA. There are no ecosystems on that continent. There's ice and snow and penguins and the occasional seal.
10) This project is identified several times early in the book as being critically important. So important that the leader of the expedition can casually place calls to the president of the United States in order to get past an obstructionist military bureaucrat. But why? Because they find a large diamond down there? This makes zero sense.
11) Khalid may as well have been named "Evil Von Killenstein" for all of the nuance he shows. His plan is nonsensical and cannot possibly succeed, but he follows it with more dedication than the terminator goes after Sarah Connor, even after it is revealed that the whole underworld is filled with giant dinosaur-esque monsters. Nothing changes his mind or his attitude about anything. Plus somehow he's able to construct a keypad-activated, timer-controlled vest bomb using caving equipment.
12) Trying to portray Ben as a big rebel, he instead comes across as a self-absorbed imbecile. Can you name a single adult that you've ever met in your entire life who has never heard the name Neil Armstrong and has no idea why he is famous? Well, say hello to Ben! But Ben is also magical and descended from magical aboriginals, so it's ok.
13) The entire romantic subplot between Ben and Ashley is perfunctory, forced, totally unbelievable, and completely contrived. She goes from hating his guts to doinking him (while being under threat of death!) and declaring unconditional love in the space of about a day.
14) Despite being cut off from the surface world for millions of years, the natives nevertheless operate on the exact same hour and day schedule as the people from the surface.
15) Who takes an 11 year old child to a cave exploration 2 miles below the surface because they are worried about finding an appropriate babysitter? Jason's entirely existence seems to be to justify giving Ashley something to fret about in an attempt to give her "depth".

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really. It was rare that I went more than about 3 pages without rolling my eyes at some new absurdity.
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on January 17, 2000
To the Author (James Rollins), The cover of this book caught my eye while I was looking for another Star Trek Book. (I am a Trekkie, I suppose). I picked yours instead. I too am a spelunker, climber / rappeller, and explorer. I found this book inspirational, entertaining, frightening, and captivating. I LOVED IT. One of the best I've EVER read. It was little bits of my caving experience in Boy Scouts, my biology / microbiology class, and exerpts from the book "The Hobbit", and the movies Jurassic Park and Lethal Weapon- all wrapped up into one setting... miles below the earth! I LOVE THIS BOOK! I'd really like to go caving with someone who had this much imagination and storytelling ability. Can't wait for the next one... -Chris
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on December 27, 1999
I just finished Subterranean and wish that James Rollins had written other books because this first effort of his was a great read. I love books that "read fast" and this one really fit that bill. Think "Jurassic Park" miles under the earth's surface and you've got the premise of this book. The characters were believable and likeable and the plot line had more twists and turns than an old wooden rollercoaster. You won't be disappointed (especially if you enjoy Crichton and Cussler)and if you're like me, you will eagerly await the next work by James Rollins.
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