Monday, October 16, 2006

'Rogue Angel- Solomon's Jar' by Alex Archer

ISBN: 0373621205
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352pp
Publisher: Harlequin
Price: $6.50

I finished reading Solomon’s Jar this morning and I have to admit I am slightly disappointed. The basic story was good. It contained lots of action and even a romantic interest, unlike the first in this series, but it relied too heavily on the action to keep it together.

Some parts of the story weren’t explained very well. From the beginning the villains were lacking in backbone. You didn’t see enough of them to really feel like they were a threat and when they did show up they were just one-dimensional, not fully realized at all.

The book picks up with Annja in the Amazon basin running for her life from mercenaries. She has found an ancient book of medicine that everyone wants. This part of the story has nothing to do with the rest of the story. For the first 26 pages you bite your nails as she is chased through the jungle by bad guys, never really knowing who sent them and why. But she prevails, kicking butt and living to fight another day.

With no transition she is in New York, home finally, coming back from the grocery store. This was the biggest problem I had with this book; there were no transitions between her destinations. The author went from New York, Amsterdam, Rio, and England with nothing to let you know that Annja is flying on an airplane eating bad food. I found myself wondering if Amsterdam was a street in New York.

In Amsterdam Annja is looking for Solomon’s Jar. She’s not sure what she is going to do with it but knowing she must find it. Instead she finds a dead shopkeeper. She is caught going through the caller ID by Aidan Pascoe, another archeologist who is after the jar. They in turn get interrupted by the Russian mafia. They escape together, Annja saving Aidan’s life only to have him tell her to leave him alone.

In England Annja is almost killed by a cult called The White Tree. It’s a brief encounter and Annja hacks her way out of it with her sword. The White Tree leader is one of the villains of the story, but you only see him twice in the book, at the beginning and the end.

Another big jump and Annja is in Jerusalem getting chased by an angry mob of half-crazed men for no reason. She is saved when a door opens in a wall and a little old lady pokes her head out and tells her to come inside. The woman helps Annja, giving out good advice like a kind of mystic guide. Later in the story that same old woman shows up, only she isn’t as old that time.

Annja leaves the old woman and runs into Aidan getting beat up on the street. She kills all of the attackers and Aidan is sick for a moment. Having saved his life again, they have coffee and talk. They part ways once again with Aidan telling her to push off.

Eventually Annja and Aidan side together, but only after he saves her life. By the end of the book though, she saved his life at least four times. They run around together trying to find the jar before three other groups do. The problem is that you never really get the sense of that. The fact that other people are looking for this jar just isn’t explained very well. At the end they all end up together in a smelting factory in the Amazon and it’s almost a surprise. You wonder why all these people are here with guns.

Overall it was fair. It was hard to get into because of all the inconsistencies. I expected much more after reading Destiny, but it doesn’t stop me from reading the next one.

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