Monday, March 31, 2014

"Seduction" by M.J. Rose

Seduction by M.J. Rose is a novel about reincarnation, love, and mythology, wrapped in a blanket of historical fiction. Built upon the real-life experiences of Victor Hugo and his experience with seances and speaking with spirits, the novel switches between the modern-day story of Jac as she travels to uncover Druid mysteries and Hugo's letters to Francine, one of his mistress's servants. Jac is attempting to immerse herself in finding answers to Druid myths in order to overcome the grief she feels at having lost her lover and miscarried their child. She is invited to the Isle of Jersey by Theo, a long-lost boyfriend from her days at Blixer Rath, a clinic to treat mental illness and troubled youth. Together, they attempt to piece together Hugo's references to his encounters with spirits, to include Lucifer, and their connection to the Druid ruins found on the Isle. In the end, both storylines are connected through the concept of reincarnation, and all parties are left satisfied with the answers this connection provides.

Rose does a magnificent job of building all of the characters and the setting. I normally don't enjoy stories that jumps from one era to another. Rose, however, makes it seem natural and easy. I felt that the addition of the 'third' storyline, that of the Druid priest, was introduced rather haphazardly and not as developed as the other two. This turned out to be even more disappointing later on, when the connection of the priest became such a focal point and the impetus of two of the characters' histories and personal relations. Jac's own revelation of her past lives was extremely rushed. I would have preferred to see that developed more. At the end, Hugo's own storyline seemed excessive, and the book would have worked just as well, if not better, without it altogether. His seduction by Lucifer himself and the promises of bringing his daughter back from the dead would have made a good book on its own without the addition of the Druid's or Jac's backstory.

The book kept me in suspense, hoping to find out the connections and if Jac herself were a reincarnation of someone. Certain scenes, such as the one where the Shadow of the Sepulcher (Lucifer) entices Hugo in am almost sensual way, were evocative in a way I haven't experienced in a book in quite some time. Overall, this is a solid recommendation to read this book.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

After a 4-year hiatus... (and review)

Shocked that it's been so long. I've missed blogging, reading, and sharing my review with the world, though, so I am back. This time, we'll see just how long I can go without letting it fall by the wayside. Best way to get back into anything? Jump right in! So, without further ado, my review of Above by Isla Morley.

 "Above", by Isla Morley, is a fiction novel about Blythe Halloway, a 16-year-old kidnapped by a conspiracy-theorist/survivalist who believes the End of the World is near, convinced that he and Blythe will be the only chance of humanity's resurgence when they emerge. Almost twenty years later, Blythe finally escapes with her 15-year-old son, conceived, born, and raised in the abandoned missile silo that her captor held them in. Her relief at regaining her freedom is quickly extinguished when she realizes that her captor had actually spared her from the devastating nuclear disaster that occurred a few months after he took her. In the course of finding answers and her family, she encounters a questionable government agency intent on using her son for breeding purposes, since he had no radiation exposure and would create a 'pure' line. They get help by a good Samaritan in escaping yet again, and Blythe is able to piece together the events that unfolded during her captive years. While the main plot is engaging and interesting, I found the story to be too drawn out. The book is suitable to be adapted into a miniseries of sorts, as it seems to be better broken up into shorter sequences. There were certain parts of the book that seemed a bit too fantastical (those 'come on! really?' cliche' moments), such as the survival of two important characters from the disaster despite the overwhelming fatalities in the area. Fortunately, they do not distract too heavily from the story. Where this book excels is in Morley's ability to make the reader start seeing the antagonist almost as a savior. She takes the reader through an introspective of what is good, what is evil, and where those lines get blurred. With a bit of paring down, this book would be quickly added to my recommended 'should-read' list. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. *I received this as an egalley through NetGalley.*

About Me

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I first joined the Marine Corps in February of 1999. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton for three years and in Okinawa for one. I left active duty in 2003 and joined the Reserves that year. I had my first daughter in 2005, and moved from California to Massachusetts in 2006. I left the Marine Corps at that time, and had my second daughter in 2007. I reenlisted in the Corps in September of 2008 and went Active in 2009. I'm currently stationed back in California, loving the weather and the life!