Original Books

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eye of the God by Ariel Allison Lawhon

I never know what to expect with debut authors these days. They could be highly original or highly typical.

Dr. Abigail Mitchell, curator of the Smithsonian Museum, is obsessed with the Hope Diamond. She goes to gaze upon it in its glass case nearly every day. So when the board of directors votes to let her wear it during a banquet centered around the Hope Diamond, she becomes elated.

But her elation doesn't even last until the banquet is over. When the power goes out during the banquet, someone steals the Hope Diamond right off her neck. But when the power comes back on, everyone blames her for its disappearance.

One of the best things about Eye of the God is its theme: greed. Not a single character is innocent of the crime of greed and jealously, not even Abby. This creates imperfect characters, a very good start for an author this new to the market.

Allison weaves into the plot snippets of the Hope Diamond's checkered history. Legend says that all of its owners suffered from the curse an Indian idol put on it when the jewel was removed from the idol. Allison never says she believes in the curse, but I do agree with her theory that greed tends to make a person dissatisfied with life. Needless to say, Allison did well on her research.

Allison creates what starts as an original romance between Abby and one of the jewel thieves, only Abby doesn't know that he's a thief.

The number one issue keeping this book off the Elite List is Allison's meddling. She just couldn't resist making everything turn out perfect at the end. She muffed a key character death, did what she could to make the romantic subplot work, and even fixed an tiny insignificant detail mentioned near the beginning.

But what is to be expected of a debut author? I wasn't the least bit surprised when I read these things. I wasn't surprised either when I heard that Ariel wrote this book while homeschooling four boys all under the age of five. I wanted so badly to put this book on the Elite List, but I just can't.

As a side bar that does not figure into my rating, I must suggest that Ariel find a new publishing company. The packaging of the book is less than professional. There are several obvious spacing and capitalization errors. But again, that does not figure into my rating.

All in all, I enjoyed Eye of the God and expect great things from Ariel Allison down the road.

3 stars

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