I received this book free from StoryCartel in exchange for an honest review.
There is a lot to like in this adventure set on a river in the rainforest: natives who still practice ancient tribal customs; shamanistic battles between good and evil; supernatural events leading to witnessing a historic battle between Inca warriors and Spanish conquistadors. It feels a little like Indiana Jones and X-files all rolled into one. I like all that -- it was good.
What I didn't like was the insta-love and the Telling and the Retelling a seemingly infinite number of times.
First the love: The main characters are in love and married within two weeks of meeting, which would be somewhat more understandable if Rafe hadn't spewed out an invective-filled hate speech at Christine within hours of meeting her. (Along the lines of all women are evil, put here for the purpose of trapping men and turning them to evil. And they are whores, and you are a whore.) Christine is understandably outraged and insulted. But it didn't take her long to get over it.
Secondly, we are treated to reiteration after reiteration of the vignettes. Rafael rescues Christine who is about to be thrown into a volcano as a sacrificial victim, after having been tortured and starved for weeks by the evil chieftain and his evil shaman. Rafe and Christine escape on a boat and Christine passes out. When Christine wakes up, Rafael repeats the story of the rescue for her benefit. After a few days of sailing and more life-threatening events, they arrive at a village where Rafe is known to the inhabitants, and he relates the stories to them. A few days later, Rafe's brothers arrive, and they too must hear the stories. And when their father flies in they must tell him as well. And they still haven't told Rafe's mother and Christine's sister --on and on ad infinitum!
So I don't want you to think I don't like the book, because I do. It was exciting and suspenseful and exotic and dangerous except where it wasn't because of the multiplicity of redundant repetitions. Get beyond those and it's all great.
The battle scenes are terrifying, and there are many battles and varied. Christine and Rafe discover an intact Inca temple and you want nothing more than to follow along during their exploration of the rooms and see what they see and find what they find and to know what they are going to do next. The evil shaman is chasing after them because Christine inadvertently escaped in the Cape of the Red Jaguar and he wants it back. He sends all manner of monsters after them which he conjures with his powerful, dark magic.
In this book they defied death more than once. I don't think they are through yet. The next book promises more dangers that must be overcome. They are leaving the jungles of Venezuela for the seeming safety of Christine's home in Minnesota. But the blurb for Seeds in the Blood promises that more horrifying events are waiting for them.