Please note, this is a personal review and the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. So with that, keep in mind that individuals have different tastes. Please use this review as a tool when deciding whether or not to purchase this product.
IF you don’t want spoilers, I suggest you click away now.
Anthony Zuiker‘s second book in the Level 26 series hit some shelves on October 14, 2010, and it also marked the day that Sqweegel made his appearance on CSI: Crime Scene Investigators season 11. If you are not familiar with the name Sqweegel than you may want to order the first book, Level 26: Dark Origins first.
The newest book is titled Level 26: Dark Prophecy and takes place five years after book one ends which may be a disappointment to several of the hardcore readers. Most were expecting the killer to return in book two. I personally liked that he did NOT bring back Sqweegel because it would have caused a lot more plot holes coming into the second book. The second book set up a whole new killer and a completely different story line.
Personally, the book was an much better read for me compared to book one. It flowed a lot better, the editing (while not perfect) was better in comparison, and I didn’t feel that there were as many plot holes in this story. My one and only concern is that I felt that a lot of the “chapters” could have been combined. The chapters of book two are just like those in book one, short and sweet which then causes there to be hundreds of chapters. I did however like how the chapters were then chunked into books by the tarot card they belonged to.
The videos that go along with the book were a total 180 from last years videos. While last year the videos were used to “bridge” you from chapter to chapter, this year they are used to give you almost a complete second story inside the story. They used the “Tarot Card Shop” chapter for the videos. This helped solve a lot of problems that people had from book one. Instead of feeling that they couldn’t move on till they saw the video for that chapter, this way you are able to read continuously without needing to see the video that goes along with it. There are however still codes to get to the videos about ever 20-30 pages. Ultimately, the perfect way to view this book would be on an ipad. You have the book and the videos at your fingertips. A little note about the videos: I absolutely loved these videos, the story was great and the way it was executed was fantastic. I loved seeing Justine Bateman in them and all the rest of the cast that helped make them amazing.
I didn’t feel as compelled with these killers as much as I did with Sqweegel but maybe it was his mystery that really got me or maybe it was the fact that he was in the videos so I got a visual of how sick and twisted he really was. However, I did enjoy the premise of the Tarot Card Killer(s). By killing according to tarot cards, it make for a pretty spooky feeling. Story wise, I loved it. It wasn’t as graphic as the first book, but it kept me intrigued the entire time I read it.
I would ultimately give the book a 4 out of 5 stars. Anthony really kicked it up a notch this time and fixed some of the problems they saw with the first book which really helped out a lot. One thing I wasn’t sure on was the releasing of the videos before the book came out. I wasn’t sure if people were going to be upset that they watched the videos first and then realized that the codes were basically pointless to them because they already saw them.
If you read the book, what did you think? What did you think about the videos? What do you guys thing about the entire “digi-novel” concept?
- C.S.I Crossover, iPad App Set for Level 26 Book 2 (nytimes.com)
- CSI Creator Teases Dark Prophecy Psychopath (wired.com)
- TV Junkie: Interview with ‘CSI’ Creator Anthony Zuiker – Tonight Features a Book-TV-Book Crossover (laist.com)