Bird of Paradise Drums Beating
by Penny Ross
Overview (from B&N.com): Kara has secrets. One of her secrets began in 69 B.C… How do the typical lives of eighteen-year old Brittany and her mother Amy mesh with a woman who claims she was Cleopatra, Nellie McClung, Pauline Johnson, Marie-Anne Lagimodiere and other legendary women? Find out as Kara’s secrets are exposed through startling revelations. From a Mayan peasant about to be sacrificed, to a famous singer afflicted by anorexia, and a queen paraded up the Nile on a state barge, to a princess bewitched by a handsome vampire in a forest, Brittany and Amy follow Kara through an ancient labyrinth of stunning proportion. As Kara channels the lives of famous women, Amy embraces her Metis culture. Brittany juggles a new love life and university assignments as she sifts through secret lives of Kara to record adventures of history and culture. Is this account laced with ancient wisdom real or an epic novel of fantasy and time travel? Join Kara, Brittany and Amy as they discover dreams and reality are best layered with laughter, excitement and intrigue.
My Review: I received this book from the author for free on GoodReads in exchange for an honest review. I went into this thinking all of my preconceived notions will be wiped away and I’m going to end up with a book adventure that could rival The Doctor and his companions (Doctor Who)! This book (380 pages as a PDF) was not what I expected, based on the overview provided. I thought it would be a story about reincarnation, where the individual remembered bits and pieces from past lives. Instead, it was basically a hodgepodge of information. The information was extensively detailed and I even learned a few things. The author obviously knows quite a bit about The First Nations culture in Canada and a fair amount on a multitude of subjects (religion, history, women’s rights, etc.).
However, I don’t think it worked in Bird of Paradise Drums Beating because the novel seemed stunted and awkward. The majority of the novel was mass amounts of information on different topics with bits of dialogue thrown in to make it seem as though it was part of a conversation between the characters. The beliefs presented were interesting, whether you agree with them or not, and well researched (Metis culture, reincarnation, etc.).
The characters: I found one of the main characters, Amy, to be extremely irritating. Her constant questions (rarely the most pertinent to ask), her utter confusion and bewilderment during the stories told by Kara, and constantly going completely off topic had me gritting my teeth to make it through to the end. Amy’s daughter, Brittany, was okay but nothing special. Her romance with fellow student Brad seemed to come out of left-field, but was a nice break from Amy. And the star, Kara, either needed to take some anger management classes or go see a doctor. Some of the interactions between Amy and Kara seemed like a victim placating their abuser, which was disturbing since they’d just met.
The writing itself was more juvenile than I expected for the topic. I thought it would be most appropriate for a younger crowd, ages 10-15 (the author’s website states ages 13+). There was also one quote in particular that bothered me toward the end. Kara stated, “As long as you tie this up in a nice bow then draw a reasonable conclusion by novel’s end, the public will love it” (in reference to writing a book). As a reader, I thought this was pretty insulting to the general public’s level of intelligence. Insulting your reader wouldn’t be my chosen method for gaining a following, but to each his own.
Overall, I personally hated this book because it had so much potential that simply fizzled. It did wipe away my preconceived notions, but not in a good way. Perhaps if it was advertised differently and just used the author’s wealth of topical knowledge, it may have made a noteworthy non-fiction book. As it is, I would not recommend this book to anyone.
1 out of 5 Bookmarks
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