Holes in the plot re: sinister aspects

Use this forum to discuss the July 2020 Book of the month, "Zona: The Forbidden Land" by Fred G. Baker.
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AlexisLib
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Holes in the plot re: sinister aspects

Post by AlexisLib »

I didn't notice this while reading, I think because I was swept up in the expedition in the second half, so while thinking back on it now I realize that there were a lot of things in the first part that were never answered.

I kept thinking that there was something more sinister about the expedition behind it on the part of Boris. He was acting mysteriously all along, as were Irina and Yuri. Fake hotel maids going into Grant's room, the thief in his uncle's apartment, having to kill Godunov (if it was just for the journal, they could have just stolen it). Even Randall's journal didn't really give that many clues (the only one I could think of was the wolves coming back for their dead).

Yet this was just dropped in the second part. I get that it was maybe to make it unclear whether Irina was good or bad, but there needed to be some kind of resolution of whatever the author intended with all this. At one point I thought it was to make money from all the plants etc. and kill all the people who knew about it (all the people on the expedition) but we never find out what was supposed to come from all that. It seems like a pretty big flaw.

What do you think?
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Post by NetMassimo »

I hope the sequel will include some clarifications about the elements that made the beginning look more like a spy story than a lost world adventure.
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Massimo
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Post by kdhutchinson »

I lean towards agreeing with you, and this is something I see often in novels like this, where the author had a ton of ideas and maybe those ideas started to take new form midway through the book. It seems like Baker was aiming for some big build up, and then when he went a different direction during the expedition half of the book, a lot of that ended up being unnecessary, and he didn't rewrite it.

I'm obviously just guessing because I don't know his writing process, but that is just what it seems to me! It doesn't really detract too much in reading, in my opinion. Like you, I didn't even really notice it until thinking back on it because I was so entranced while reading.
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Post by Sjtoy »

I agree there were some questions left unanswered. I want to know more about Boris and his role in the story as well as what that key was for in the back of Randall's journal. I feel the author left a lot of questions unanswered to leave room for a possible sequel.
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Post by Leen282 »

I agree, there was quite some mystery at the start that hasn't been cleared up.
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Post by AlexisLib »

NetMassimo wrote: 20 Jul 2020, 07:21 I hope the sequel will include some clarifications about the elements that made the beginning look more like a spy story than a lost world adventure.
Interesting! I hadn't even thought of that, but I also didn't know a sequel was coming until reading that here. I wonder if the author did plan that or just didn't write up a "complete" book in terms of wrapping up these loose ends. Personally, I want a book to answer all the questions/themes it poses except for perhaps the overarching ones (like, for example, will Harry Potter defeat Voldemort) even if it is a series.
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Post by Prachi Randeria »

I agree with you. Many questions have been left unanswered. I think the plot would have been something bigger, but the author had to cut some portions or maybe he was not able to pull it off. Though I am not sure about a sequel, but lets hope those questions would be answered in that book.
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Post by Leecedar »

AlexisLib wrote:
> I didn't notice this while reading, I think because I was swept up in the
> expedition in the second half, so while thinking back on it now I realize
> that there were a lot of things in the first part that were never answered.
>
> Yet this was just dropped in the second part. I get that it was maybe to
> make it unclear whether Irina was good or bad, but there needed to be some
> kind of resolution of whatever the author intended with all this. At one
> point I thought it was to make money from all the plants etc. and kill all
> the people who knew about it (all the people on the expedition) but we
> never find out what was supposed to come from all that. It seems like a
> pretty big flaw.
>
> What do you think?

I have yet to write my review, but all the plot holes regarding the intrigue was something I picked up on. I think the book could have stood on its own as an adventure novel, without all the cloak and dagger stuff, but the rest of the book makes it easy to overlook the plot holes.

Lee
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Post by 11Roses »

I definitely agree that there were some mysteries that came up in the first portion of the book that were never resolved. Looking back it feels like the author is setting up for some overarching plotlines to be resolved over multiple books.

Perhaps in a sequel when the group goes back to St. Petersburg, Volkov at the very least, then some of the conspiracy theories around Boris will be revealed. Acually, thinking about it, a sequel or novella that continues the story from Volkov's point of view when he returns would be quite interesting and in my opinion would seem as forced as the whole group leaving Zona any time soon after.
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Post by Kreads1 »

I made notes on these sorts of things as I read because I felt they were foreshadowing events to come. There were even times I wanted to grab Grant myself and tell him he was making some poor choices!!!

Like others, I’m hoping there will be a sequel that examines these things further. I would love to find out what remains in the unopened safety deposit box and in the copy of the letter that Grant didn’t get to read entirely!
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Post by victoriasimons »

I wonder if the first part of the novel was intended to raise a lot of questions to hook the reader in, not all of which were to be resolved in this book alone. A sequel may address some of these questions. Although, I may just be making excuses for the author!
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Post by NetMassimo »

victoriasimons wrote:
> I wonder if the first part of the novel was intended to raise a lot of
> questions to hook the reader in, not all of which were to be resolved in
> this book alone. A sequel may address some of these questions. Although, I
> may just be making excuses for the author!

I had that impression. Considering the novel's ending, a sequel seems inevitable. Only the author knows what he really wanted to do, but certainly he has the chance to offer some answer.
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Post by Edwin Amah »

Interestingly, a lot of this was observed when the book started and I feel there should be another series to clear that up and make us understand more. Maybe the author just decided to make the first shorter, and reduce the plot.
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Post by Tars »

NetMassimo wrote:
> I hope the sequel will include some clarifications about the elements that
> made the beginning look more like a spy story than a lost world adventure.

I wouldn't hold my breath. Unfortunately, nowadays complaints about holes in the plot makes one look fastidious. Name one book that doesn't have them, oh so famous HP simply consist of holes, forcing readers fill in the blanks. Amount of fanfiction works in the fandom is clear proof of my words.
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Post by rahilshajahan »

There was also the huge amount of keys that opened safe boxes, random false desks and cupboards in Randall's apartment. Grant even remembers an extra key situated near a poem in one of Randall's journals after reading the Project X file.

Also, randomly Grant starts speaking wolf and seeing the images the wolf sees. There's no justification as to whether there are some hormones in the surroundings that's allowing this blasphemy. There was a bunch of plot holes left helter-skelter. I hope the author does the readers justice by addressing these questions in his sequel.
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