Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Book Review: Primary Fault by Sharon Kae Reamer
by Sharon Kae Reamer
Geophysicist Caitlin Schwarzbach, out of work and weary of small-town Texas, leaves home. For good. Separated from her beloved brother Gus at age seven when their parents divorced, she moves to Cologne, Germany to be with him. Instead of meeting her brother upon her arrival, a Gus lookalike attempts to kidnap her by pulling her into a wall of glass. His accomplice: a curvy Nordic beauty dressed in black taffeta and lace and swarmed by ravens. Caitlin believes her experience to be a product of jet lag and disorientation. Later that evening at a university reception, Caitlin feels intimidated by one of her brother's former colleagues.
The conversation is interrupted by a dangerously attractive man who introduces himself as Hagen von der Lahn. She learns her seismologist brother has included her in a research project with the amateur archaeologist and stylish aristocrat. After Gus is called away by an earthquake, the deranged Gus doppelgänger again tries to drag her away. Hagen rescues her and spirits her to his castle near the Rhine. After her brother fails to return from a meeting in the Praetorium in Cologne, Caitlin discovers him on his terrace bleeding from a head wound. Gus vanishes, sought by police for multiple sexual assaults.
Before she can follow a promising lead as to his whereabouts, a blow to the head sends her to the hospital. An unwanted visitor appears by her bed; someone she feared since childhood, the being she thinks of as Death. His appearance can only mean one thing: her brother is in mortal danger. A novel of supernatural suspense, Primary Fault tells the tale of a woman's quest to save her brother. The mixture of science meets beings from a Celtic Otherworld against atheistic Druids and will delight fans of a tightly plotted fantasy with richly drawn characters.
A lot of fantasy is very similar with the same rehashed characters and plots. Primary Fault is different, a very imaginative ride. The author has blended science, earthquakes, history, mythology, mysticism and adventure into something very unique. It is very well-written and is quite a page-turner, you have to keep reading to find out what happens next.
Most of it is written in the first person, by our heroine Caitlin, and although it's not my favourite point of view, here it works very well because we as readers get to discover things at the same time as her. It has both a down-to-earth feel and a mysterious/otherworldly feel as well and the author has done both very well. Other less, skilled writers might find themselves doing better at the one than the other.
I'm not usually such a fan of urban type fantasy, where the fantasy elements encroach on the real world as it were, but here I didn't mind at all because I was transplanted into the middle of such a good story that it didn't matter what particular genre it was. In this book I loved the blend of fantastic and normal, with Caitlin never quite sure whether or not she was hallucinating. I also adored the fact that Caitlin comes face to face with her brother's Doppelganger in Germany, that just seems so apt to me.
The romance between Caitlin and Hagen von der Lahn could have felt overdone, handsome man, baron with his own medieval castle, but in the context of this book, it just clicked and who hasn't dreamt of being rescued by the knight in shining armour (or in this case a silver limousine) on his white horse at some time? All in all, it was a sweeping, romantic, exciting adventure not to be missed with enough twists and turns to keep even the most jaded thriller fan happy.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby