Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: Reluctant Medium

Losing her father changed Rachel's life. The circumstances surrounding his death left her confused and alone. Her marriage provided no comfort, and her only brother prefers not to have anything to do with her. In the end, Rachel runs from everyone and everything. Loneliness has its limit, though, and Rachel finds herself turning to avenues she doesn't understand, unleashing power she has no idea how to control or stop. 

The basic premise of this book was very intriguing. I liked the idea of someone messing around with power they have no clue how to control and starting a chain of events they have no way of stopping. Being from New Mexico, I can appreciate the allure of Native American myths and and ancient power. Collins captures the natural desire to test limits and seek answers when there seems to be no other options. 

All of the Native American aspects of this book were well researched and presented very tastefully. It was clear that Collins was not only familiar with the area, but that she took the time to discover more about the culture and practices of the groups she was writing about. I found the Native American aspects of this book quite intriguing and they really kept the story interesting. 

The characters were well developed, for the most part. I enjoyed the supporting characters and felt they all had a uniqueness to them that kept them from being flat. Even those who only made a brief appearance were memorable. Rachel was an interesting character as well. Overall, she had a very good backstory and the emotion behind her story made her a compelling character. In the beginning she was very negative, which got a little annoying to me, but as the action picked up her attention shifted to the events and her negativity was less of a factor. 

Another area I had difficulty with when it came to Rachel and the overall story surrounded her divorce and past relationship with her husband. Collins waits too long in the book to explain why the marriage dissolved. Because it took so long to figure out that Rachel may have been justified in leaving, and all the reader knows is that Rachel ran away after her father's death. She even admits in some parts that her husband was a decent guy, yet she is unwilling to even consider reconciliation. I had no idea what was going on with them for so long, I didn't have the highest opinion of Rachel in this aspect because it seemed like she was being selfish and unkind. Eventually the details are explained, and Rachel is somewhat vindicated, though not completely, but it would have been much better if this had been addressed early on to preserve Rachel's likability. 

The mystery this book centers around was well developed. Collins provided details about the mystery at a good pace that will keep readers interested . The clues were usually fairly subtle, and kept readers guessing. It was a lighter mystery overall, but enjoyable. There were a few areas where I thought Rachel should have figured things out sooner, but every reader is different. I appreciated how Collins pulled from so many sources to keep the story moving. She even incorporated New Mexico's involvement in the film industry to add another layer.One of the side characters, Logan, is an actor in town to film a TV series. While he did play a fairly big role in the book, I kept thinking something more was going to develop with him. I was a little disappointed that he remained in the sidelines at the end. 

The end of the book pulled everything together. All the different elements of the mystery blended well at the end and offered up a satisfying solution to the mystery of the death of Rachel's father as well as the power Rachel unwittingly unleashed. One issue I had with the ending was that Rachel's Native American friend, Joseph, seemed to tell Rachel what to do. I expected her to figure out more on her own. I also thought it would have been a little more difficult for defeat the bad guy in the end. Even still, the ending was well written and I enjoyed the overall story. 

Outside of the story and characters, there were a few issues. The editing was not as good as it could have been. There were grammar and punctuation errors throughout as well as head hopping that provided some confusing moments. There is also a fair amount of profanity some readers may not enjoy. This book also carries a pretty heavy Liberal slant to the political side of the story, which again, some readers may not appreciate. 

Reluctant Medium is available now from AmazonSmashwordsB&NKoboiBooks, and Diesel