Monday, August 25, 2008

Tangled Roots

Title: Tangled Roots
Author: G.G. Vandagriff
Genre: LDS Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 295
Date Finished: 6 August 2008
My Rating: 2 Stars

By the time I got to reading this third book in the Alex Campbell genealogy mystery series I was really questioning why I was still reading the series. I was hopeful that maybe the passage of time between the second and third book would equal a better book. My hopes were dashed in the first few pages.
In Tangled Roots Alex Campbell is investigating the family history of a teenage girl who has been institutionalized by her parents for supposed drug use. The premise for the story was just weak and once again I found it extremely farcical. The book brings back all the characters from the previous two books and introduces a few new ones but they were all still flat. The characters always seemed to have strong emotions but I only knew they had strong emotions because the author would employ such words as "she exploded at him." No depth. Many of the passages were just nauseating or had me rolling my eyes.
Alex's character was just annoying in this book. I really have a difficult time gaining interest in a character who is so whiny, needy and dense. A note to the author: if you are going to develop a love story between characters that are cousins can you stop having them refer to each other as cousins? Even if they are 2nd or 3rd cousins. Having someone declare love to someone else and then refer to her as his cousin, it just has a certain ick factor.
I also felt like I had read this book before as it seemed very similar to Cankered Roots.
There is another book in the series coming out soon but I am done with this author. They are quick reads but there are so many other books I would rather be reading. That and I hate writing these negative reviews. I really do. But I also really did not enjoy these books.


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

This is just another reminder why I don't turn to LDS fiction very much (I've only read Work and the Glory, which I loved). Is there a LDS fiction series that you've really enjoyed?

Jeanette said...

Natasha, When I was in High School and even some in college I read a lot of LDS fiction and loved it. Then at some point I started realizing that much of what I was reading was not written all that well and I was reading the same basic story over and over again. So I pretty much gave up on the genre. I do read a few every now and then but my experience is generally the same as I experienced with the Cankered Roots series.
So, if you had asked me this 10 years ago, I probably would have named lots of books. Now? I can't think of any.

Jennie said...

I find your comments kind of sad. Yes there are some LDS novels that don't amount to much, but there are also some with high entertainment value, that are well-plotted, and have strong, multi-dimensional characters. Instead of skipping LDS fiction, look for the same genres you enjoy in national fiction, read reviews, and try a broad cross-section of writers. If you like romantic suspense and found you didn't care for Vandagriff's style, try some of the faster paced romantic suspense authors like Betsy Brannon Green, Stephanie Black, Tracy Abramson, Sonia O'brien, or Gregg Luke. (By the way their newer books are their best; they've improved just as the genre overall has improved.) Check my web site for reviews of many, many LDS novels which I have reviewed over the past few years for Meridian magazine.

Kim said...

I've had the same experience as you, Jeanette. I've read a lot of LDS fiction and I've enjoyed a lot of it but it does seem very similar. I've stopped reading it almost completely over the last year but I think I may start reading some more here and there. Natasha, if you liked Work and the Glory I would recommend The Children of Promise series by Dean Hughes and you might especially like it because it's set during WW II which I know is a favorite time period of yours.