Have you ever read a book that you both loved and hated all at the same time? That is very much this book for me.
At first, the author completely had me captivated by the story of General Robert Andreas and Dr. Karl Jaeger, a military man who works for the government and a man who is described as "perhaps one of the Nazi's biggest monstrosities of the war." Very science fiction. Very Area 51. I'm hooked.
Then, out of nowhere, the story changes to the story of Maya Smock and how her life intermingles with Jay McCallister, her favorite author, as she goes from a normal, everyday girl who works at a bookstore and dreams of one day being an author, to getting published and becoming one of those best-sellers she always envied.
Seems like an interesting story, right? It is. It really is.
And yet I couldn't help having so much frustration with it.
First, the book description gave away too much of what happens in the story, causing me to not feel that surprise and mystery that I usually get from a thriller. The fact that her and McCallister have this connection - and what the connection is - is huge, and I would have rather found that out during the story instead of just waiting for that to come. It took away a lot of my enjoyment.
Second, the lack of editing was very off-putting. I'm not just talking about missing words in sentences (which is quite tedious when you're reading), but the fact that the author repeats information about these characters over and over again i.e. Maya's stay in different orphanages and homes until the age of seventeen, her promiscuity, Eric giving her a job.
Third, my favorite character (Maya) was one that had a lot of depth to her, but she made some bad decisions, ignored all those gut feelings, and continued to abuse herself just as bad as the adults in her younger days did. Hindsight is 20-20, I guess, because as she's telling the story, you realize that she probably would have done things differently, but with the strength that she had to do what she initially did, I found myself getting angry with her quite a bit because of her stupidity. I honestly felt like I was reading a story where the main character was a teenager, and not someone who had gone through all of this stuff and was now a grownup.
Fourth, the side story of Claude the Jerk, his girlfriend, the money... blah blah blah... really took away from the two stories I mentioned above. I wanted to know how they went together and how we were going to get to the whole Maya-McCallister connection, and found myself skimming through paragraphs in each chapter because I found them unnecessary. I felt more like I was reading a YA Romance than a Science Fiction Thriller.
Fifth, the way that Andreas and Jaeger interacted just seemed... childish. Maybe that's not the word I'm looking for, but I can't honestly think of a better way to put it. This is a General in the United States Military and a Doctor, yet their conversations seemed very immature. I just feel like something as secret as what they were dealing with would have been handled differently.
Dina Rae is a good writer, and I really enjoyed the amount of work she put into her character development, but this book failed to live up to its potential. As the two parts began to come together, the story got better and I could really see the talent that this writer has. Unfortunately, the editor she had (if she had one) failed to point out some things that disrupted the flow and took away from the main point of the story. She has written other novels that I may take a gander at, and I hope that she continues writing in the future, as I would like to see where her talent takes her.
Note: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.