9th October 2017

Reading Response #3

The novel ‘The Four Legendary Kingdoms’ by Matthew Reily follows the actions of Jack West Jr, a world-renowned adventurer, during his daring escape from the Underworld and its ruler, Hades. During his escape, he crosses paths with the hero of another of Matthew Reilly’s series, US Force Reconnaissance Marine Shane ‘Scarecrow’ Schofield. However, despise the rather far-fetched nature of their circumstances, there are multiple times when similarities between our world and theirs arise, some even going back to the 19th century. 

Both Jack West Jr and the Scarecrow have, on multiple occasions, been at the forefront of situations that could lead to the end of the world, and subsequently succeeded in stopping them every time. Every single time. While we have yet to have a potential apocalyptic event threaten to wipe out humanity, and subsequently an individual prevent this, we have had many significant, world-changing events and the people behind them. Take Abraham Lincoln, for example, who pushed for the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which meant to bring about the end of American slavery. While it did take some time to bring this about, and the rallying of negro’s across the country, without it, slavery would have undoubtedly taken far longer to abolish. Jack and Scarecrow both had to deal with the deaths of loved ones, the betrayal of close allies, and their own near deaths in order to save the world, but regardless of the odds, they kept going. I feel that Matthew Reily wanted to use these devastating blows to both Scarecrow and Jack West Jr as an example of what humans can do when they fight not for something they are told to believe in, but something that actually means something to them. This is something our world could do with more of; people who keep pushing for a brighter tomorrow, no matter why they fight for it, and will give it their all the whole way there.

Now, both Jack and Scarecrow have their own teams of specialised members, ranging from crack military operatives to top class archaeologists, and, in Jack’s case, even an 11-year-old girl. Without these members, neither Jack nor Scarecrow would have succeeded in their missions, and rely on them when times get dark. In one case, after losing his soon to be fiance, Scarecrow attempts to take his own life, believing that the world doesn’t deserve, or recognise, heroes like him. However, Scarecrow’s second-in-command, Mother (Short not for maternal figure), manages to convince him that while the world doesn’t recognise him as a hero, they sure do need him. Without the people around them, Jack and Scarecrow would have long since perished, and they fully understand this, taking care of their teams as much as they can. During the final showdown of the novel, Jack talks to the main antagonist named Hades, and attempts to convince him that Jack can forgive him, and wants him to help Jack say themselves and the world. Jack states ‘ It’s better to lose everything the right way than win the wrong way’, trying to tell Hades that just because his ancestors methods have saved the world before, condemning the world to the ruling of an omnipotent monarch is not the way to do it, and instead tells him that together, they can change their fates without Hades’ ancestors megalomaniacal ways. As a reader who has read every novel in both of Matthew Reilly’s series, I can only emphasise how apparent this becomes. Both Jack and Scarecrow listen to their teams suggestions, prepare them for every possible circumstance, gets they to give it their all, and when it goes wrong, they give it even more.

Each novel in either series generally comes to a peaceful conclusion (albeit the teams may be slightly smaller in size), but in exchange for a non-destroyed world, this is probably the better outcome. However, if an event similar to what Jack and Scarecrow have had to face appears in our world, I would be so sure on a non-fictional Jack West Jr or Scarecrow coming to save us.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Toby, additional quoted evidence is needed for you to support your ideas here. Also, please re-read this response for technical accuracy.


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