Verdict: Readers of Dan Brown might enjoy this familiar but readable religion-twinged thriller, while others might be put off by its chilly narrative.
In Daniela Bronzy’s ROOTS, RUMORS & WRATH, the destinies of Haway Halabi, a young intern and relocated Syrian refugee, Beau Bacon, an honorable and honorably discharged former solider, and a cast that includes shadowy religious figures, zealous government agents and more all converge—wittingly or unwittingly—on an ancient chest that might contain a globe shaking secret.
Secrets aside, it’s a dangerous sign when the narrative of a book begins with a list of characters. It’s like begging for a bumpy ride. Well, readers expecting a tangled web will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, rather than ensnaring readers in a complex and unpredictable plot, that web is often made up of excessive characters and details. Of course, attention to detail is perhaps Bronzy’s strongest suit. The book seems to be carefully researched. At least, I don’t know that much about lasers or the coordination of government agencies, and Bronzy speaks with such detached authority that I have to believe her. However, that detachment also means that we never really climb into the characters’ heads, leaving us with the sense that we’re distant observers. That lack of intimacy means that some of the characters’ decisions in the third act seem kind of contrived. Likewise, the religious components—both ancient and modern—are a bit too distant to be either effectively shocking or sympathetic. Still, this is basically a pulp, and it’s a well-meaning effort at injecting some conscience into the genre.
The prose is clean, and occasionally clever, for a first-time novelist. While there are some slight typos and formatting errors, they are conservatively sprinkled throughout the book’s 300-plus pages, so they aren’t too distracting. Worse, however, are Bronzy’s repetitions. Certain phrases or images appear repeatedly, sometimes in the same chapter, and certain descriptions are redundant. Also, a few of the chapters are oddly superfluous, as are a few characters, who are introduced early in the book and then disappear until the thread-tying conclusion—I told you that cast list at the beginning was a dangerous sign.
~Colin Newton for IndieReader