Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Promise Me Eternity

Promise Me Eternity
Promise Me Eternity by Ian Fox

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Review posted at: The Owl Review

I was asked by the author to review this book for him and received a Kindle copy. This book starts off introducing the character Simon, Dr. Patterson, who is alone on a highway and is telling himself he must kill Carlo for Christine. Then it cuts to earlier in time and the story begins with the introduction of the character Simon.

Simon is a heart surgeon but is attempting to find a vaccine that creates eternal life. He spends all of his free time at home hiding from his wife in his basement, where he is transfixed on his test rabbit Dorothy, and this vaccine. The premise alone of this vaccine to prevent and stop aging is incredulous at best, but the story itself is told like a daytime soap opera. I had a very hard time taking the characters seriously or becoming interested in their plights because it felt like the story was told by a teenager who was attempting at speaking like an adult. It overall, felt a little bit cheesy.

I was beginning to feel like the author had an immense dislike for women as they were all bitter, nagging, obsessed with money, and ready to cheat on their husbands and partners. Then I realized that every character acted this way in the book. It seemed a bit silly as they were all obsessed with money, and all the women (except his wife) was attracted to Simon for no real reason. The women really did just want money, in fact, the character Christine is the book explained to Simon
"Women are crazier about money than men are. That's one of our problems." Apparently in the world of Promise me Eternity, they truly are.

It had a basic plot of Simon wanting to create his vaccine, and then solving why Simon was trying to kill Carlo on the opening chapter. The medical aspect of the story and the science behind a vaccine to "cure" aging isn't sound, but the story is told with the desire for the reader to take this all seriously, but unfortunately in a manner that expects us to take everything at face value. The plot line wasn't very strong, and the characters were all very flat with no description that created images in your head, or writing that brought them to life. Most of the women were described like this, "She was beautiful, with long flowing hair." One character wanted to win her husband back so she went and got a complete plastic surgery overhaul, face, body, fake breasts, as well as eye surgery so she could get rid of her "hideous glasses". She then started dressing in really tight revealing clothing, grew her hair out, got a perm so it wasn't straight (because short or straight hair is universally accepted, as well as normal bodies and wearing glasses... as ugly right?) and then snagged that doctor of a husband back. He left his pregnant girlfriend just to be with his wife since she was finally pretty. It was just ridiculous, and I could only imagine an over-sexed juvenile thinking this way. Overall, the descriptives were not detailed and focused on the story, many were just superficial, as were the actions of the characters themselves.

I found myself having difficulty in wanting to finish reading the story, and could not take the story seriously. In a few instances, the research was not sound. The story took place in Medford Oregon, and I've lived in Oregon for about 15 years, and have never heard of the beach town "Golden Beach", the nearest beach of a similar name is "Gold Beach" on the southern coast so I can only assume the author did not research this item, or stating that Medford is about an hour away from the beach, when it is about 3.5 hours from the coast because you cannot travel through the National Forest. These details make a story even more difficult to believe in, and is necessary for a writer to be taken seriously -- especially when the story is already as shallow as a soap opera. I would guess that since the author is foreign, writing about America normally can be a little bit inaccurate if the readers are unfamiliar with the areas.

Another aspect that I didn't understand was how the character Anita, being visibly pregnant - it wasn't described in the book as to what term she was in, or when she was due, or any other details like that, but, she was out drinking publicly in a restaurant and then fell asleep right away at home. This seemed weird since it's not common for American women to behave this way nor is it socially acceptable, regardless of what a womans preference is regarding drinking while pregnant, it's commonly accepted to be taboo. The author described it as though it was a normal thing for a pregnant lady to do. However, a little bit later in the chapter her boyfriend comes home and finds her drinking wine and demands to know why she's drinking while pregnant as though it suddenly is completely unacceptable. That made no sense in relation to her drinking at the restaurant.

I did not enjoy this book because of it's superficial characters and shallow attitudes. It lacked needed descriptions and rich dialogue and details. Characters would be described like, "he lamented on this fact for ten minutes then went upstairs." I found there to be lacking details such as characters features, and behaviors, beyond soap opera sterotypes. In some cases it had details that weren't necessary to the story at all, like Edna, his housekeeper, having a whole chapter to describe her outside with her dog thinking what a wonderful person Simon was and how he couldn't have killed his wife. We already can see that Edna is clearly, and without any given reason, obsessed with Simon and thinks he is amazing. In other regards, there were points where the story wrapped things up without much ado at all.

I am confounded that the author describes that "enthusiastic readers write to him saying they can't put his books down and read them in a few days", as well as "Individual libraries have ranked his works among the top ten, sometimes even the top five most-borrowed books." I am perplexed, given that the books are ranked with less than 3 star rating overall. I just didn't feel that there was a caliber of writing involved in this story that shows a top-five book, or a book that will be enjoyed by those seeking a believable and quality novel.

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