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Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors

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LCW
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Location: Southern California

Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors

Post by LCW » Thu October 2nd, 2008, 3:29 am

In this WWII melodrama the eight survivors of the sinking of a hospital ship find themselves stranded on a nearby tropical island in the middle of the pacific ocean. This ships sinking is due to sabotage by an American Lieutenant in league with the Japanese who masquerades as a survivor along side them.

There is a love story that develops between two of the survivors, a Japanese prisoner and nurse. Akira teaches Annie about the art of haiku poetry while she nurses him back to health. There is very little chemistry between the two and the mediocre haiku borders on being just plain cheesy sometimes. In fact, I found myself skipping pages during the scenes between these two. I was just bored!

It just so conveniently happens that two of the eight survivors happen to be Captain, Joshua, and his nurse wife, Isabella (who, also conveniently, is Annie's sister). The relationship between these two is puzzling and the reader gets whiplash between the swings back and forth between their marriage being on the verge of collapse and neither of them knowing if they'll make it to them telling each other how much they love and need each other! All within a page or two!! Oh, and of course...to add even more spice to the mix.... Isabella after years of trying, is pregnant now of all times! And in true melodramatic style she tells Joshua the news on a clif at sunset overlooking the spot where the ship went down as he is mourning his ship and those lost on it. It was just all too much!

If you can't guess already, I really did not enjoy this novel at all. It started out promising but soon delved into predictable and too convenient story lines. The characters were really bad or really good and they were all really emotional! There was no tension or build up between Akira and Annie, the villain is discovered with in the first 25 or so pages, and the Captain, his wife, being eight survivors out of hundreds of passengers on the doomed ship was just too convenient and unimaginative. So while I excitedly waited for this book to arrive and then couldn't wait to dive into it, I ended up being disappointed with the story as a whole and cannot recommend it.
Last edited by LCW on Thu October 2nd, 2008, 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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Misfit
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Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Thu October 2nd, 2008, 1:35 pm

Well I had his first novel Beneath a Crimson Sky (I think that was the title) and couldn't make it past 100 pages. Simply awful, no chemistry at all and some things just weren't believable. It made The List. :D

Ash
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Location: Arizona, USA

Post by Ash » Thu October 2nd, 2008, 1:44 pm

Beneath the Marble Sky (tho if you were seeing red when reading the book I can understand how you came to Crismon :) ) My book group read it a few months ago. I couldn't get up to page 50 - the writing was awful. But most people seemed to like it on some level, and it led to an interesting discussion about writing a HF when you have very little to go on (there is very little about the building of the Taj Mahal)

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Thu October 2nd, 2008, 2:31 pm

Thanks Ash for some reason the name of that book always escapes me. Freudian slip? He might have got away with it if there'd been the least little bit of chemistry between the main characters. Although knowing nothing about the period I had a hard time picturing the kids going swimming in the river unattended -- and then when the daughter went with the architect without any attendents and cooked (!!!) for herself is when I bailed.

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