Angela's Reviews > Mark of the Lion

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda
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's review
Mar 29, 2008

bookshelves: mystery, to-read-ebook, to-read

Out of SF/F mode for a while, and jumping over into mystery/vaguely paranormal, I have just finished off Suzanne Arruda's first Jade del Cameron novel, Mark of the Lion. Jade has just survived a stint as an ambulance driver in WWI France, and has promised the pilot she loved to carry out his dying wish: to go to Africa and finding his long-lost, heretofore unknown brother. Complicating the matter is a mysterious laibon who has been sending beasts he controls to carry out attacks around the countryside--and who soon targets Jade herself. And there is of course a love interest, the rancher Harry Hascombe, who may well be of dubious motivations himself--yet who is percolating Jade's interest despite her still mourning her lost David.

I've got a few stylistic quibbles with the book, along the lines of "I really didn't need you to tell me four or five times throughout the initial stretch of the story that Jade has short black hair and that Harry is powerfully built, y'know". The ending fell a little flat for me--though I will also give it credit for making me uncertain about the eventual identities of pertinent characters until they were finally revealed. I'll also admit that it gave me a bit of a twinge to see otherwise great characters going on safari to shoot random creatures for purely trophy purposes, too--though that was hardly out of character for a bunch of Europeans in Africa just after WWI.

And I will say that the overall atmosphere of the setting is very evocative in Arruda's hands, especially the descriptions of Mount Kilimanjaro. Moreover, there is a promise of a complex relationship to build between Jade and Harry, as this book ends on a very uncertain note with him--and the next one, which I'd actually bought first, brings in a rival for her affections. I'll be reading that one next. For this one, four stars.
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