I was sent this book from the author – Dennis Macaraeg – in exchange for an honest review. It was published it on the 22rd of October 2015.
I was contacted by Macaraeg directly and received his book in exchange for an honest review.
To save the life of his friend, a marine biologist must deliver the scientific compound he invented to kidnappers hiding deep within the jungles of the Philippines. Unexpectedly paired with his ex-lover for the mission, it’s a bit more than he signed up for.
Before I start the review I want you all to know that I in no way hate this book, as the whole storyline was very compelling; I just believe that it was not executed in a way that was made to captivate an audience. My review is full of constructive criticism and things that this book was lacking or hadn’t perfected.
This review may focus majorly on the negative elements of the novel, as I found many flaws in the writing. Though the storyline is what drew me to actually accepting the novel for review, and I really liked the concept of the kidnapping by Philippino gangs, as it is a country that I have never read about before.
This book promised suspense that it didn’t (always) give, as everytime I closed the book I didn’t feel that great urge to pick it back up; rather at any point the story could’ve finished and I would have been left with all the answers I needed.
The most positive feedback I can give aside from the brilliant plot concept was how informative it was, and it was evident while reading that the author has first-hand knowledge of being to the islands and experiencing the different degrees of poverty and devastation. I found this extremely helpful, as it enabled the scenes to be described in a way that a very clear image was constructed in my mind; although I also believe that this was the very thing that let this book down.
From the beginning I was convinced that the story was being told in Danny’s point of view, which would leave mystery surrounding the thoughts, feelings and sometimes actions of everyone else; though at times we got a glimpse into the mind of Helen and we also receive information on the enemy’s actions, leaving no room for the reader to question the scenario as all answers have been laid out neat in front of them.
This ties in with the excessive background information that was told. Where it is very useful, it was not put into the story in a strategic way. Rather than having the abundance of knowledge spread out within the chapter/ or event, it was al clumped together. It felt like too much information was being thrown at me at once, very unlike a fictional novel. It makes the story seem more like a history report than a narrative, as if Macaraeg wanted to get all of his research into the book somehow.
Lastly, one major flaw that in a way, ruined the storyline was the sex scene, which I absolutely disliked. As a fanfiction reader, I have undoubtedly come across and read some smut, though minimal I have noticed that there are only two ways sex scenes can be written. The right way, or the wrong way. This was definitely written the wrong way. I in no way wish to offend the author but as I was reading these scenes made me cringe and feel very uncomfortable. Though these scenes show a development in the relationship between Danny and Helen, I thought that only the island scene was relevant as it truly showed development in the relationship, whereas the other scenes after that one did nothing to progress the stoyline, and were in my opinion not necessary.
To end on a positive note; as promised there was some suspense, seen in the boat scene, which made me share a connection of hope with the characters was the boat scene, where I felt a shared sense of devastation when it all went wrong.
I gave this book a 3/5 stars on Goodreads due to the knowledge I gained from reading it, as well as the interestingly unique storyline.
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