Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Ghost Pirate's Treasure - Barbara Ivie Green (Paranormally Yours #1)

The Ghost Pirate's Treasure: Mystery of the Jaguar Warrior (Paranormally Yours, #1)Part of the blurb for The Ghost Pirate's Treasure claims that the book "explores the mystery of the Mayan Sun calendar, with enough nonsense thrown in to make it all deliriously whacky." Well, "nonsense" and "deliriously whacky" are right, but not in a good way.  I think most of the "nonsense" mentioned in the blurb comes from two things: the fact that Green is obviously desperately in need of a good editor, and her complete inability to keep various Mesoamerican cultures straight.  The book claims to explore the mystery of the Mayan sun calendar, by which it mainly means "the supposed end of the world on 12/21/12."  Except it also deals with El Dorado, Quetzacoatl, and Peru, none of which have anything do with each other.  El Dorado, as in the city of gold, was supposedly located in the Amazon River basin.  Quetzacoatl was the serpent god made famous by the myth of the Aztecs and Hernando Cortes, and the Aztecs and their famous city of Tenochtitlan were located where Mexico City is today.  (Side note: there is historical reason to believe the Aztecs didn't actually think Cortes was Quetzacoatl, and that the "myth" of Quetzacoatl's return was made up after the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in order to justify their loss.)  Peru was in the area of the Incas, the Andes Mountains.  And the Mayans were prominent around the area of the Yucatan Peninsula.  What does all of this mean?  While most of these civilizations shared some commonalities, as they were not completely cut off from each other, they were not the same and their mythologies, cultures, and ways of life differed immensely.  Seriously, if you're going to write a book about the end of the world based on the Mayan calendar, at least actually use Mayan history and culture, rather than mishmash of whatever you think is cool.  A little consistency is great, and considering that all of the things I mentioned above can be discovered on Wikipedia in a matter of minutes, you would think that it would be easy to realize that they're not of the same origins and consequently shouldn't be thrown into the same plot without something larger to bind them together--and if you don't try to unite them in some logical way, eventually someone who actually paid attention in history class (like me) is going to pick up your book and go, "What the heck is this person talking about?"  Oh, and also, the Maya were not completely wiped out by the Spanish, and many people of Mayan descent still live in Mexico today, and a variety of Mayan languages are still thriving.

Now let's get on to the editing.  It's awful.  Atrocious.  Misuses of "your" and "you're," misplaced and missing quotation marks, random italics that don't make any sense, awkward changes of viewpoint, clunky sentences, and strange formatting abound.  While the spelling is pretty good, the grammar isn't, and the formatting is pretty bad.  Green apparently doesn't know where to properly place quotation marks, insert line breaks in dialogue, or even properly use dialogue tags.  Let me give you an example.  Things such as: "Blah blah blah," Jessie said.  "Blabby blabby blab," Jessie whined, abound in this book, and anyone who reads or writes much can probably tell you right off the bat that the second dialogue tag isn't necessary.  I find it highly unlikely that Green utilized an editor for this book, and she should have.  Everyone needs an editor.  No author is good enough to just self-edit, and I'm not entirely sure Green even did that, given the nightmarish quotation mark situation.

Finally, let me address issues of the plot other than historical accuracy.  The plot is...flimsy, at best.  There's very little explanation, and we jump from, "There is a ghost with a hidden treasure," to "It's the end of the world!" with very little in-between.  Annoying characters abound and the "villain" of the piece appears to have been thrown in at the last minute because there's really no build-up to his villainy.  At the beginning, Jacques the ghost pirate suggests that he's some dark and menacing demon, and this is never delivered upon.  The romance, for what it is, is pretty much instant; within the space of four days Jessie goes from divorcing her husband to falling in love with a dead guy who she thought was a figment of her imagination for two days.  In the world of books, there is a difference between face-past and rushed, and this definitely falls into the category of rushed.  Also, Green had the extremely annoying habit of using words like "potty" and "pee-peed," as if her audience isn't mature enough to read the word "toilet" without snickering like a bunch of two year olds.  And there's also something near the end about one of the characters gaining supernatural abilities out of nowhere.  Uhm...where did that come from?  I'm so confused.  Overall, it felt like Green had a bunch of different plots and just decided to mash them all together with no feel for consistency between one and the other, and came out with a great big mess as a result.

1.5 out of 5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment