Back in the good ol days *cough cough* when I spent my days
saving the world pushing numbers (instead of reading all day) I had a slightly creepy habit, (or at least that’s what you are bound to think when I tell you what it was) I would spend my lunch hour sitting outside of Starbucks people watching. I would eat (cause that’s what chubby monkeys like me do) but while I was shoveling food I would visually stalk the people around me. (cue infamous “psycho” screech.) I was fascinated by what made people tick. (Still am if I’m being honest.) Or to be more specific…what drove people to make the decision they did.
Was it culture that drove them? Their upbringing? Society? What was it exactly that caused people to do what they did? What influenced their actions? Made them who they are?
This (the anthropological aspect) is what was truly interesting about Lance and James Morcan’s novel “Fiji.”
“As the pharaohs of ancient Egypt build their mighty pyramids, and Chinese civilization evolves under the Shang Dynasty, adventurous seafarers from South East Asia begin to settle the far-flung islands of the South Pacific. The exotic archipelago of Fiji is one of the last island groups to be discovered and will remain hidden from the outside world for many centuries to come.
By the mid-1800′s, Fiji has become a melting pot of cannibals, warring native tribes, sailors, traders, prostitutes, escaped convicts and all manner of foreign undesirables. It’s in this hostile environment an innocent young Englishwoman and a worldly American adventurer find themselves.
Susannah Drake, a missionary, questions her calling to spread God’s Word as she’s torn between her spiritual and sexual selves. As her forbidden desires intensify, she turns to the scriptures and prayer to quash the sinful thoughts – without success.
Nathan Johnson arrives to trade muskets to the Fijians and immediately finds himself at odds with Susannah. She despises him for introducing the white man’s weapons to the very people she is trying to convert and he pities her for her naivety. Despite their differences, there’s an undeniable chemistry between them.
When their lives are suddenly endangered by marauding cannibals, Susannah and Nathan are forced to rely on each other for their very survival.”
Now, while I Loved (see that… capital L) the rather expansive dive into 1800′ s Fijian history that made up more than half of this book, (aka cannibals, native sacrifice and tons TONS of blood-letting) that’s not really what this book was about. (Despite my allusion to it above.)
“So what was it Misty?”
Well…Kindle-ites…it was a button popping romance.
That’s right. I’m talking abs busting/lady swooning cover art type romance. Which (for the record) I soooo was not expecting. Romance? Yes. Obviously. Says it right there in the synopsis.
“there’s an undeniable chemistry between them”
But the extent of it was pretty freaking ridiculous AND repetitive. Smoldering glances? Check. Lusty dreams after reading the Bible? Check Check. (Totally not joking about that by the way.) A man hell-bent on getting a virginal girl to look his way. Hop on board, right this way! To say it was cliché filled would be a understatment. And to add insult to injury (and boy was there A LOT of injury in this book) the narrative was awkward.
I don’t know about all of you, but when I read a book the characters develop very distinctive voices in my head. (Hmm…maybe that could have been worded differently, like where I don’t come off sounding so crazy. Anyways…) Fiji was no different. Susannah had an “English” accent, Nathan was swimming in cocky American, and the Cannibals of Fiji? They had this weird grunting thing going on. But somewhere in between all of that William Shatner popped into my head. (*shiver*) Not a good sign. To me Willie is a little stiff, very un-emotive (yes, I know that’s not a word…don’t judge me.) and sounds like he’s reading off of a teleprompter ALL of the time. William was the narrator. In short, it felt forced (or at the very least extremely formulaic.)
As for the plot (as a whole) it wasn’t that bad, but it did feel a little like every action romance ever to hit the big screen. (Um…can you say Romancing The Stone?) Every possible (devastating) scenario was accounted for. Every character was strongly defined (almost stereotypical) and just when you thought you had heard/read it all…someone would die and a whole new brand of shit-storm would erupt. (Sometimes less is more, just saying.)
Overall…not the best book I’ve ever read, but certainly not the worst. The anthropological aspect was spot on and wildly entertaining. The romance was a little kitschy but ok, and the plot? It was what it was. Take it or leave it.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: There is a very fine line between crazy and brilliant. I have yet to figure out which one I am. Cheers!
Click image for additional details