- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Now, American author David Jeffrey is killed along with his teenage daughter, Angelica, when a fire breaks out in their Naples, Italy, home. ...
Now, American author David Jeffrey is killed along with his teenage daughter, Angelica, when a fire breaks out in their Naples, Italy, home. When David's brother, Jake, decides to leave Michigan with his family to visit his brother's widow, Jennifer, strange things begin to happen in the modeled, castle-like home near the ancient ruins of Cumae.
Posted November 11, 2014
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.
Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).
I rated this book WARTY!
WARNING! MAY CONTAIN UNHIDDEN SPOILERS! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!I had a couple of immediate issues with this, to say the least! The first is that the novel presents as double pages in Adobe Digital reader, meaning you have to enlarge the whole thing to actually get a decent page size. I've never seen that before in books that were not written for children. It’s not disastrous, just odd, a bit irritating, and rather surprising coming from someone who is supposed yo be a marketing specialist! It's no huge deal, except that this novel is listed as 109 pages in the reader, which in practice means that it’s 109 'double pages', not 109 individual ones - i.e. it's very short.
The second things was about the writing. Technically, the writing is fine as far as I could see - nothing bad, no grammatical errors, no spelling issues - not that I noticed anyway (apart from "…glove box3." on page 23. A spell-checker would catch that), so props for that, but we quickly fell into the trap of identifying the only important thing about a woman: her beauty. It took only until page two to reach that revelation: "...Jennifer, who, despite a hint of grey in her otherwise raven-black hair, was still a beautiful woman." Despite a hint of grey! Because that grey sure uglies up a person, don’t it?! This woman has nothing whatsoever to offer but her beauty. Despite that hint of grey. How very sad.
Note that if this was a first person PoV novel, then the character making this observation would have still been misguided, but if it had been a part of that character's make-up, then it would have been a perfectly acceptable observation. There are people who are that shallow and blinkered, but this isn't a 1PoV, so this wasn't the narrator's thought, it was the writer's own comment. I thought it was badly done. It’s particularly amusing to contrast that with the comment on page ten, in a section describing how Jennifer and her husband David initially got together, where we read: "David was unlike other men who were only interested in her physically"! I almost laughed out loud at the irony.
This is further compounded in chapter two (which contains the above sentence). In chapter one, we had been introduced to David, the main character, with a large info-dump. He was introduced as "The Writer". It's in chapter two, we meet Jennifer, but she's merely an appendage. She's introduced as "The Wife", and then we get a paragraph once again dwelling on her physical attributes. The not-so-sub-text here is that it’s only her body we need focus on. Her mind is nothing of interest or use, which is highly ironical because her mind is one of the key plot-points in this novel!
The other thing we learn about her is her drinking. This is evidently a problem where Jennifer is concerned, but it’s not a problem in a flashback to when David first encounters Jennifer, and the Navy guys (including her father) who she's with when David meets her, are just short of falling-down drunk. I guess it's OK if you're a guy - to have a drinking problem.
The other thing was more of a quirk than a real issue, and it’s where we get the introductory few paragraphs about the trials and idiosyncrasies of being a writer. Let it be said here that the description given does not fit me! I do not neglect my family. Writing comes second to them, and it always will. The weird thing is that this first chapter was dated 1986, and yet the description talks about writing with a "...typewriter - or a computer...". I seriously doubt many professional novelists were writing using a computer in 1986, although that was admittedly right on the verge of things changing dramatically.
But that's really by-the-by. The thing here is the story, and that was not a thrilling one to read. By the time we reach the midway point, there are deaths arising from completely unrealistic circumstances bordering on the farcical, and that's pretty much where I decided I could not rate this novel positively. It's also at this point that we’re introduced to a completely new set of characters; in fact, we're actually not even introduced to them in any meaningful way. We just meet them in progress. It’s like the entire first half of the novel was nothing but a prologue - and I don’t do prologues!
I skimmed ahead for some several pages trying to see where this was going, but it didn’t offer me anything to entice me into reading more. I was not in the least bit interested in what was, effectively, starting over at the halfway point with a brand new story! I was especially not interested in a do-over given that I hadn't honestly had anything to enjoy in the first half, so I decided to cut my losses and quit right there. I can't recommend this novel.
Posted July 3, 2014
The Oracle by Michael H Sedge was a book that was a slight bit out of my normal realm of reading. Yet, the allure of the description relating to an ancient myth/mystery and how it comes to play into the modern world had me wanting to know more.
The opening of the book had me feeling transported to the ancient past and imagining how it could have been in such a world. Then we are transported into future day and are introduced to David and his family whom are living in Italy. I was intrigued by the character of David. I would have to say he was my favorite character. It shows some glimpse into their life before tragedy strikes the family hard. A tragedy that had me shocked. It was so unexpected for me.
Again we fast forward and meet David's brother and his family and the events that take them to Italy. Where they find much more than they bargained for on what should have been a relaxing and therapeutic trip. Once there event unfold and the truth of the tragedy that struck there nine years before. With it comes a shock that is hard to believe.
In my honest opinion I loved this book. I felt I was actually in Italy by the descriptions of sites. It had me captivated from cover to cover.The story held surprises that I couldn't even guess ahead of time. This is a great book that I would recommend to anyone that loves mythology and a nice mystery with a bit of a surprise ending.