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Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2014
Although fiction, it seemed as though it was something that could be an account of actual events. Not outragougs . Having visited the southwest I enjoyed the subject and accurate representation showing good research.
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2016
Blood of the White Bear was an entertaining enough read, but ultimately not a memorable one. The story line is a classic one. A pandemic breaks out and one doctor is driven to find the cure for it. It was fantastic that the doctor was a female, and a The Native American elements seemed somewhat forced into it, though. I never really felt like it was connected, even though I was obviously supposed to feel that way. Also, it was really easy to figure out where everything was going. That could be simply because I read a lot, but it took away a good portion of the enjoyment for me. A requirement for thrillers is, at minimum, a feeling of tenseness and intrigue. There was none of that.
With that being said, I want to emphasize that Blood of the White Bear was still a good read. I actually read it in two sittings that were almost back to back. I found myself taking it with me as I walked through the house and such. There's a lot going on in it - almost too much at times - but it still manages to draw you in. Engrosses might be a strong word, because you never really care about any of the characters, but it's not an easy book to just lay down.
Even though many of the Native American elements - specifically revolving around the Kachinas - seemed forced, other bits of it were interesting. Especially the drive to get ancestral pieces returned to the tribes via the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the sand painting (which I would love to see). The Church Rock uranium spill mentioned in the book actually happened. While I wasn't at all familiar with the event, it was horrifying to read about.
Overall, I admire the thought that the author put into the work. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a quick, easy read. Its a good 'airplane read'. You won't remember it once you get off the plane but you'll enjoy it while you're in the air.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review consideration.
3.0 out of 5 starsThis wasn't a brilliant read, mainly because of the plot
Reviewed in the United States on November 23, 2014
I received a copy if this book from Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.
This wasn't a brilliant read, mainly because of the plot, which was rather thin, and with too many anomalies and contradictions.
The first four chapters are solid backstory, and though some of the information is helpful to the rest of the novel, I feel it could have been handles better.
The plot is anti-climactic, and I felt that the grande finale never happened. It simply fizzled out. Tension began to rise until the MC's car was forced off the road, then... nothing.
I had trouble believing that with a mortality rate of 100% and being so infectious, the disease could be contained in within a few states. With air travel, and not to mention road transport, I would have thought infection would have spiralled quickly.
The MC being hunted by the state was also an issue for me. After just one half-hearted attempt they appeared to give up. And then there was the issue of her father's documents... .
The attempted blending of the scientific with the supernatural wasn't successful. In fact, I thought the supernatural element muddied what could have been a good thriller. On the plus side, I did learn about the Sin Nombre virus.
5.0 out of 5 starsCharacter Driven Medical Mystery
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2014
Blood of the White Bear is about the journey of Dr. Rachel Bisette to find the cure for a pandemic outbreak in the Southwest corner of the United States. Though Dr. Bisette spent most of her life on the east coast, the Four Corners and the kachina bear call her to discover not only a cure but also the secret behind her parent’s death from many years before. An indigenous woman named Eva Horn has links to both of these mysteries and hesitates to let the secrets she holds to come forth.
The book’s storyline is revealed through many different perspectives and even a few time-shifts, these elements add to the suspense and deepen the connection to what would normally be considered “minor” characters. The bulk of the story is based within the context of a medical drama, Forecki and Schnitzer make sure the reader is invested in the scope of the pandemic and the cure by giving us well painted characters in short spaces. They also explained clearly the medical expositions without including boring or preachy interludes.
I also felt the momentum started early and was well paced. I read this book in two sittings because I knew once I started part two, I would not want to put it back down, so I cleared the time and got comfortable for the ride.
This is a book that once closed and last line read, my mind wandered to explore certain character motivations and potential follow-up responses. I don’t think an author has to answer every possibility, art comes into play best when the reader’s own imagination can wander within the story. I felt there were a few “loose ends” but real life never ties everything up perfectly and I suspect this leaves just enough room for a potential sequel.