Riddick by Alan Dean Foster
Ballantine / Random House PPBK: ISBN 0345468392 PubDate: 05/27/04
Review by Jeffrey J. Lyons
352 pgs. List price $ 6.99
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Richard Riddick has spent the last five years as a
fugitive skipping from one cesspool world to another
on the outskirts of the galaxy. He has had to dodge mercenaries who are out to claim a substantial bounty on his head. Riddick winds up on Helion Prime, which has just been invaded by the Necromongers,
led by the egotistical Lord Marshal.
Riddick has no interest in the local politics or
squabbles as long as he can get something to eat and
be left alone. That isn’t possible after he finds
himself taken prisoner by a bounty hunter name Toombs.
Exiled on a prison planet, Riddick runs into Kyra, a
young lady whom he met years earlier when she was a
spry 14 years old. Riddick, Kyra, and a motley group
of fellow prisoners make the inevitable prison break,
fighting the elements and hell hounds along the way.
Ultimately Riddick leads the group to do battle with
the Necromongers with the possible fate of all beings
hanging in the balance. I
appreciated and enjoyed the afterwards where we learn historical
information about the regimes, which helped sow the seeds of the Necromonger race.
I won't beat around the bush. I didn't care much
for this book and found the story difficult to latch
onto. Certainly the book is full of adventure and the
threat of an immediate gruesome death around every
corner. The characters are two-dimensional and seem
to have no purpose other than to move the story
forward. The laconic Riddick talks in tired clichés.
The Lord Marshal’s manic desire for ultimate power
seems simplistic. Kyra’s hot/cold relationship with
Riddick is a tease but goes no further. The minor
characters seem to exist for the sole purpose of being
killed off in a later chapter. Even the title is
When I see “Chronicles,” I am hoping to read much more
than an elaborate prison break story with some
maniacal invaders. Fans of Pitch Black, the
original Riddick movie, should be satisfied. This is
definitely the kind of Sci-Fi that recalls a style of
writing more popular in the 1930’s.
Foster did a reasonable job trying to breathe some life into the movie
characters with which he was saddled for this "officially endorsed
expansion", but even his skills were not
enough to make this memorable much beyond the summer of 2004 while the
movie plays in the theaters.