Jess's Reviews > The Sum of All Fears

The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy
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U 50x66
's review
Dec 30, 2011

did not like it

I finally got interested at about 600 pages - no kidding - for about 75 pages.

This was the worst book I've ever read (there've been some other bad ones, but I had the common sense not to finish them). If I could take stars AWAY from a book, I would. At about 700 pages, it got so tedious that I thought I wouldn't finish; why was I wasting my time? (I had this thought a number of times while plowing through it.) After that, I was saying, 'Oh, come on!' because it became so outrageous. A better title would have been 'The Sum of All Ridiculousness'.

A convoluted plot with numerous sub-plots that I just knew would come to a logical conclusion, instead came together in a contrived conclusion. and some didn't come together at all. There were sub-plots about Ryan, his wife, Caroline, who was called Cathy (don't ask me why) & Dr. Ryan (as was Jack/Ryan/Dr. Ryan). Another sub-plot included President Fowler (Bob/Robert) & Elizabeth/Liz/Dr. Elliot. There were high & low level Arabs & Russians, German military & civilians, the U.S. Navy (submarine & destroyer officers & enlisted), Air Force (pilots & Pentagon personnel, Israelis & White House staff. Oh, & the Japanese. They had a small part too. and the Mexicans. Have I missed anyone? Chinese? No, I don't think there were any mentioned.

The sub-plots were confusing, but Clancy didn't think the story was complicated enough, so he spiced it up by referring to people, at various times, by their first names, last names, full names, nicknames, titles(multiple, & sometimes just their informal roles), middle names, terms of endearment & the reader was supposed to remember who he was talking about. Russian names? Forgetaboutit! I soon lost interest in keeping up with them (not just the Russians).


Several hundred pages, I'm sure, were spent describing the inner workings & ingredients of bombs, submarines, aircraft, facilities for making them & other dull stuff. Who cares? Dozens of pages were spent describing football plays & players, which were background for the bombing, but really, dozens? An entire chapter was devoted to describing the inner workings of a bomb which fizzled.

Goodley/Benjamin/Ben/Dr. Goodley was sent in by Dr. Elliot/Liz/Elizabeth to spy on & sabotage Jack/Ryan/Dr. Ryan, then suddenly became his ally. What was with that?

'Why did she finish this book at all?' you ask. At first I thought it would get better (not), then I felt I'd invested so much time in it I might as well finish, then I wanted to finish it so I'd have good cause for writing this scathing review.

Tom Clancy is a pompous know-it-all (language cleaned up). I won't be reading another of his books.

The almost five months spent reading this garbage were not entirely wasted. I read almost 30 other books concurrently with this one, most of which I enjoyed. I'm not exaggerating. I keep track of them on Goodreads.
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Reading Progress

December 30, 2011 – Started Reading
December 30, 2011 – Shelved
May 22, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Jess (new) - rated it 1 star

Jess I haven't read even 300 pages of this 900+ page book with too many characters who are often referred to by different names. I don't know why I'm hanging on.


message 2: by Jess (new) - rated it 1 star

Jess 2/25/2012: I'm over halfway through this!


Rannazora just to add - in the end you find out, that Jack's/Ryan's Dr. Ryan's actual first name is John..(John Patrick Ryan)


message 4: by Jess (new) - rated it 1 star

Jess Oh! I completely forgot about John. I'm glad there were a few people who agreed with me.


Rannazora Jess wrote: "Oh! I completely forgot about John. I'm glad there were a few people who agreed with me."

Yes, I also like to see, after I finish a book, if someone else had a same opinion as me and read their reviews


message 6: by Jose (new) - added it

Jose Alicea "Tom Clancy is a pompous know it all"

You know, I can understand not liking the numerous sub plots and the workings of government protocol, etc. The reason why Clancy IS such a huge name IS because his books are extremely researched in advanced. This is like complaining that Crichton's Jurassic Park is 50% paleontology before it gets to the good stuff. The devil is in the details and this book painstakingly goes to the lengths of explaining how the worst case scenario is not really that impossible.

To call a well read, intelligent, and well researched author a "pompous know it all" is a fantastic way to look like a moron. That being said, looking at your comment and not even knowing Clancy's MAIN CHARACTER'S NAME, leads me to believe that you dove in head first through his 6th fucking book and decided to trash talk and insult the entire thing because you couldn't be bothered to read into the realism of the plot because of your ADHD is at the very least a childish thing to do.


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