Review: In the Beginning ~ Abby L. Vandiver

beginningIn 1997, Biblical Archaeologist Justin Dickerson is unhappy with her life in general and has decided to run away from her problems. Intervening, her mentor asks that she go with him to the Fifty Year Jubilee commemorating the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. There she finds that in 1949 Jerusalem some of the 2,000 year old manuscripts, hidden in clay pots in the caves of Qumran, may have been destroyed.

Justin, obsessed with this revelation, is determined to get to the bottom of the deceit. Uncontrollable emotion takes hold of her, and family and faith help guide her as she unfolds the truth of Earth’s ancient mysteries discovering what really happened In the Beginning . .

2 Thumbs-UpThis is a debut novel for this Author, and promises to be the start of a very interesting series if a few of the wrinkles in this one can be ironed out.

The main protagonist came across as a rather unlikeable and extremely arrogant character, and although the Author tries to attribute these characteristics to the emotional state this central person is in it really didn’t come out of the page very well.  What could have been used as a really solid basis to explain the motivation, or lack of it, in the main character was left to the reader’s imagination, and in some instances just dismissed all together.  Some academics, particularly in the field this character specialises in, are often perceived to be a little eccentric, but this was not even considered when the Author wrote this one.  I felt rather cheated in regards to this, as I was hoping for a character more along the lines of famous archaeologists, complete with similar quirks and traits, but all I received was yet another character in a book that could have all their idiosyncrasies explained away by health issues.  This made me feel as if the Author was unable to come up with a really intriguing back-story for their main protagonist, so they just pulled something from somewhere else hoping it would work; for me it didn’t.

The action in this novel has a kind of ebb and flow motion to it; when it flows it moves along at a fast paced and captivating speed, with just the right amount of energy needed in this kind of a novel to encourage the reader to keep going on to the end.  However, when it ebbs it pulls so far away from the realms of being a readable and absorbing novel that I almost put it on my ‘unable to finish’ stack, which is so small it can hardly be called a stack.  The result of these vast lulls in the action had me skimming over pages and pages, so I could get back into the flow again.  Another point in the book I disliked were the several instances of repetitiveness that had me doubting my own sanity and made me wonder if I had actually dozed off while reading.  There were too many instances of ideas being repeated and rehashed that it became rather insulting to be told, yet again, something the Author had already mentioned numerous times before.

Despite the research done from both a religious and historical perspective when writing this book, I did feel that some of the information used was not at all well-placed or even executed; this was a huge disappointment as those that fit in with the direction the novel was heading were so well written and in these portions it was apparent that the Author has a talent for fusing facts and fiction together.  I do feel that if more time had been spent in the proof-reading and editing phase this novel would have been outstanding, as it stands it fell far short.

Despite the low review rating I gave this book I would still recommend it to those readers who enjoy a religiously themed book.