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Beckett ShionaTop Contributor: Pets
3.0 out of 5 starsJust didn't hold my interest
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2018
I'm uncertain why this novel did not hold my interest, because it had all the elements that I usually consider essential to a good read: well-defined characters, good writing and editing, an interesting premise, realistic behaviors, fascinating tidbits about cultures and customs which were unfamiliar to me. I originally found the passages concerning the artifacts intriguing enough to punch out to the Net and look up photos of bis poles. Nevertheless, despite all these elements, I simply lost enthusiasm for the story. Perhaps it was the slightly heavy moralizing that infected many of the passages, or the fact that it seemed in some ways to be more of a museum tour or travelogue than a mystery novel. In any case, I would definitely NOT tell another reader to skip the book. Simply because it wasn't my cup of Earl Grey doesn't in any way mean that it wouldn't fascinate another reader.
First, I'm a big fan of Alderson's, and I've read her other books, The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery, Down and Out in Kathmandu: Adventures in Backpacking, and Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand. I was impressed by the first book and continued to love her work. When I heard about this one, Rituals of the Dead, I was already excited to read it. Now, with all that said, I need to dive right into this story. Even when I like or love an author's work, I never have any preconceived notions about whether or not I will like the book or not. From chapter one, I was drawn in, very curious about Nick and wondering where he or his life would fall in to the life of Zelda. Alderson is a grand writer, and I like her writing style. Her research and knowledge are shown within the story, and her characters. I like Zelda, and always have, and this book brings more depth to her character, and sets her on a new mystery. I love that she's human, and has to prevent herself from getting sick in the most presence of the most gruesome scenes of death and decay. Look forward to more. Simply magnificent, filled with intrigue and suspense, and a lot of wonder!
Everything I like in a mystery: Compelling characters, international settings, a mystery steeped in culture and history. Immersed in the debate currently taking place in the international art world, the theft of artifacts and demands by indigenous people for their return, the novel presents various sides of these issues for the reader to consider. All in all, this is a very satisfying mystery that left me with much to ruminate on.
I have not read the other books in the series yet. This worked well as a standalone mystery, but I will definitely seek out and read the first two novels in the series.
Rituals of the Dead #2 – This is my first read by this author and I found it interesting. The storylines flip back and forth between 2017 and 1962. This made for an intriguing suspense although it was easy to figure where the missing person ended up.
The characters were interesting enough to keep me immersed in the pages, along with the author’s easy to read writing style. The descriptions were well done as was the dialog and thought patterns of the characters.
I found this book in my library but when I contacted the author to review Marked for Revenge, I read it first since it turns out this is a series. 4*
Marked for Revenge #3 - This book begins with her thesis being critiqued and three months into a new job at a new location. An interesting story of art theft and revenge, which had enough of the real world mixed with the fiction to hold the reader’s attention until the last page.
The descriptions are well done, the storylines believable and interesting, and the characters and their dialog were also well done. One of the Dutch laws about stolen art blew my mind, but I understand the reasoning behind it. I found this book on Booksprout. 4*
This is the first book I've read by the author. I read a LOT of mysteries, and this is one of the best I have read in a long time. Everything about it is well done - I like the author's writing style, the plot is very intriguing and well paced, the characters are interesting and well developed, and the history, cultures, and geography of the locations (Papua New Guinea and The Netherlands) are nicely woven into the story. The book is the second in a series but can be read without needing to read the first book. I've added Jennifer S. Alderson to my favorite authors list, and plan to read more of her books.
At some point, Zelda asks herself how she could be so stupid. And I thought "Finally! That's what I've been thinking throughout the whole book." I find it amazing that Zelda is the main character of a series of books (I have only read this one) because I find her very immature, unprofessional and unlikable. She routinely lets slip information from her job or simply tells someone something confidential, which results in burglaries, murders, and her boyfriend losing his life's work. She doesn't see the connection between her behavior and the bad things that happen at her job site. She even goes so far as to copy materials and keep it with her, knowing this breaks protocol. She is late for meetings or shows up for cancelled meetings because she switches off her phone. She borrows her room mate's make up and magazine without asking and seems unhappy with her room mate that she isn't just fine with that. She just dislikes her room mate because she is pretty. To me Zelda seems petty and childish in her descriptions of other people, and she is fast to form judgments without base, except when it comes to the bad guys. I really didn't like her, and the 'mystery' wasn't much of one at all. This book does have an interesting premise of ethics in art, religion and colonial work, but it isn't worked out well. I would have loved to have seen more about the dilemma of artifact collection, missionary work and office politics. It had so much promise, with an interesting setting in Amsterdam and Papua New Guinea, fascinating history and artifacts, but for me it just really didn't work out because of a main character that lacks charisma, and a mystery that is too predictable.
Main protagonist Zelda is frankly dim. Attitudes towards other characters veer ridiculously from treating them as cultural vandals to finding them admirable. Persevered hoping the story would eventually cohere. It didn't. Don't bother. Two stars on because the all too obvious background research led me to look into PNG tribes. Otherwise a total bust.
A missing millionaire son, historical artefacts and ego's , plus a couple of robberies, murders, hacking and a hint of romance. Equals a fab story that takes you from the past 'collectors' in dense jungle to modern museums. Loved it, thank you Jennifer
This is the dullest book I have read this year. I read it because I teach Social Anthropology and thought it sounded interesting. It's not! The language and syntax used are poorly constructed, cumbersome and clumsy as is the story line. I was actually surprised at how ridiculous the two dimensional characters were.