Friday, March 7, 2014

Eternal Vows - Chrissy Peebles (The Ruby Ring #1)

Eternal Vows (The Ruby Ring, #1)Twenty-four-year-old Sarah Larker is a Bigfoot hunter whose sister went missing years ago.  Sarah's conducting research in the same area, suspecting that Bigfoot might have had something to do with her sister's disappearance.  In the process, she goes into a cave and wakes up in another world, where's she's mistaken for one Princess Gloria.  Not only that, but an immortal king wants to marry her (because he thinks she's the princess) and agreeing to wed him might be her only chance to get back home.  Once she's got the ring, she decides to stick around in hopes of finding her lost sister.

I'm honestly not sure whether this was supposed to be a satire or a serious fantasy novel.  It takes itself a bit too seriously to be a satire, and it's a bit too light to be real "epic" fantasy.  The writing is okay, but not fabulous.  It's not terribly engaging, and I found myself skimming a lot.  Peebles relies too heavily on Sarah's own internal dialogue to convey her emotions and reactions, which results in the rest of the narrative coming off as a bit flat.  Had she more fully integrated Sarah with the other characters, instead of just with herself, I think the story could have benefited from it.  Also, the dialogue isn't particularly well done.  It goes from extremely stiff to extremely informal, and the characters in the "medieval" world use modern slang too much for them to be really believable.  There's also a ton of "Is it real? Yes.  No.  Yes.  No."  That gets old really, really quick.  I know that Peebles is trying to portray the reaction of the two "real world" characters who find themselves in a fantasy world, but it quickly became annoying.  At some point you have to drop the disbelief and move into the "suspension of disbelief" territory, where the actual plot occurs.

Some more about the characters.  Frank and Victor are both controlling bastards.  At least Victor is a fantastical, immortal controlling bastard, which makes him a little more unusual than Frank.  Honestly, the whole story probably would have been better without Frank in it.  I would have actually liked to see some romance between Sarah and Victor, with Victor teaching her how to use her immortal powers, or Sarah learning on her own while trying to escape and exploring the new world--without Frank.  He was SO annoying that even his good intentions couldn't redeem him.  Additionally, most of the "modern" character had the exact same personality, the exact same sense of humor...they were virtual carbon copies of each other.  Not only that, but instead of wanting to focus on the actual problems at hand, all anyone wants to talk about is Frank and Sarah's relationship, if it can be called that.  The only person I was actually interest in was Victor, and we got to see shockingly little of him considering he married our heroine and was magically bonded to her.  Honestly, if you're going to create a magical bond between two characters, I expect you to actually use it well, not just here and there.  It's not realistic.  I mean, supposedly Sarah and Victor could feel everything the other experienced, but Sarah wasn't even aware Victor was following them until he told her himself.  Seriously?!

There are also a few situations that just couldn't happen.  While I'm willing to suspend a lot of disbelief in fantasy stories, there was one part where Sarah & Co. jump off what is described as a sixty-foot cliff into a river.  They would have died.  Plain and simple.  Only very experienced cliff divers can handle a jump from that height, and it has to be done under the utmost precision in pretty much ideal conditions.  While Sarah might have been able to survive this because she was immortal at this point, the rest of her crew would have been dead, end of story.  And just assuming that Princess Gloria will be loyal to Sarah...  What?  Why should she be?  That doesn't make any sense!  Sarah is the cause of half of her problems!

Overall, this was a frustrating book that just wandered from place to place with a vague plot but no good execution in pulling it off.

2 stars.

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