1.5 star review, Miscellaneous

June TBR Challenge 2016 – River of Eden by Glenna McReynolds, Tara Janzen

TBR Challenge 2016

Topic: Favorite Trope (a favorite theme – amnesia? secret baby? fairy tale? friends-to-lovers? etc.)

River of Eden

A LOST WORLD
In the heart of the rain forest lies a prize Dr. Annie Parrish is willing to risk her life for, an extraordinary orchid known to the Indians as “The Messenger.” With her resources dwindling and time running out, only one man comes cheap enough and is skilled enough to take her deeper into the savage reaches of the Great Green Hell known as the Amazon.

A ROGUE SCIENTIST
William Sanchez Travers has macaw feathers tied in his hair, a week’s worth of beard, and a shaman’s crystal hanging around his neck, convincing Annie that even the wildest stories she’s heard about him don’t tell the tale. A Harvard-trained botanist, the once world-renowned professor lost his reputation – and some say his mind – when he vanished from his camp on the Rio Cauaburi and disappeared for a year in the forest. Now he’s back, in a seedy waterfront bar with a beer in his hand and a mulatto woman doing the lambada on his lap – and against every ounce of common sense she has, Annie’s about to make him a deal.

ONCE THEIR JOURNEY BEGINS, THERE’S NO TURNING BACK
The last thing Will needs is a woman whose secrets run as deep and dark as his own. A renegade in her own right, the legendary Amazon Annie is a magnet for trouble – and he’s already got plenty. He’s out to destroy a devil named Corisco Vargas, before the twisted army major can unleash his nightmarish forces on the whole of the Amazon. Trapped between a shaman’s mystical visions and the violence of the real world, their journey quickly becomes one of desperate danger. But which force will rule their fate – justice, vengeance, or a power as potent and seductive as the Amazon itself?

OK, so I like the academic vs wild man trope. It probably comes from my early obsession with Sean Connery in Medicine Man and was honed by Linda Howard’s Heart of Fire (which I think I am going to have to go back and re-read now). And I am not entirely sure how it first came to my attention, but I slapped it on my Amazon wish list, and ran it through ereaderiq, and when it popped up for free I snatched, and it has languished on Mt. TBR of Doom since….01/30/2015, which granted isn’t as much as I am sure some books have been on, but still, pretty disheartening. Where does the time go?

Anyway, this one could also have gone for the >10 years challenge as it was originally published in 2002, but I was drawing a blank when it comes to a favorite trope, I don’t think I really  have one. In any event,this was published almost a decade after Howard’s version, though you might not have known it from the casual use of the term mulatto and the misogynistic way Will thinks of and speaks to Annie. In that manner it felt very old skool 80’s.

The book is weird though. There is a surprising paranormal element full of mystical Amazon rain forest mumbo jumbo. I wasn’t expecting it to be honest. And while I do enjoy a good paranormal, it felt off here.

Will and Annie though have plenty of adventure, and danger, and chemistry. And despite the oddball paranormal elements and some significant pacing issues, I was rocking along with it until something I find skeevy, the hero had sex with a not really awake heroine. Blergh, I am not a fan. And to add insult to injury there isn’t a  bit of thought to pregnancy or birth control. A cardinal sin in my eyes.

As far as the plot itself, it was initially meh, rollicking adventure on the amazon, a villain or two to beat, and the hero and heroine butting heads. There were some early plot holes that I was initially willing to accept, but by the time the last chapters had come around those holes were plot craters and the ending was a lopped off, dues ex machina, no explanation, no relationship after-care, basic mess. It was like the author didn’t know how to resolve the action or develop the happily ever after so some awkwardness was tacked on to give some facsimile of an ending.

I don’t know how better to explain it. This just didn’t work for me. The characters grated, the story dragged when it wasn’t dumping you in plot holes, there were cardinal sins, and it didn’t resolve into anything that left me feeling happy or satisfied. I hate to just eviscerate something, but this I can’t really scrape up enough good to balance it out. I was giving it a solid 3-3.5 until about halfway, and then it dropped like a stone.

River of Eden

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4 thoughts on “June TBR Challenge 2016 – River of Eden by Glenna McReynolds, Tara Janzen

  1. This is in my TBR! I’m not sure why I never read it — although mine does have the same cover and I am a little puzzled as to why, if Tara Janzen IS writing as someone else – why the pseudonym is in a font so small as to be non-existent….? o_O

    Also: Sean Connery in Medicine Man? (*swoon*)

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fear that’s a bit too wild man for me, I have too much background into language acquisition fur a hero who was raised without language, I don’t have enough willful suspension of disbelief.

      Like

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