Written in Ruberah: Age of Jewelled Intelligence
by P. Christina Greenaway
Three crazy fantasy stars
Blurb – New York real estate broker Miriam Lewis takes off for a brief getaway to a remote inn on the rugged cliffs of Cornwall. Rest and romance with her boyfriend seem like the perfect cure for a life that appears to be going nowhere, and too fast. Entering Cornwall, Miriam crosses the River Tamar and glimpses a luminous girl floating in the river. A memory from long, long ago begins to unfold in Miriam’s thoughts-something about a promise she made to perform a selfless act of courage. Could it be true? Could she ever rise to such heroism or is it just a hallucination? While at the inn, Miriam experiences a series of flashbacks from a life she lived in an ancient land called Ruberah. These startling images convince Miriam that she did write the promise and that she must keep it. But to do so, Miriam will have to let go of everything in her life and place her trust in a guide-the river girl-the wise and eternal spirit of the River Tamar.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review so here goes….
Written in Ruberah is an incredibly complex and detailed fantasy novel that is somewhat based in actual Cornish folklore.
This novel is not exactly what I was I expecting, it was sold to me as a paranormal romance and I would argue that it is much more of a fantasy epic, because the romance was conspicuous in its absence.
This is not necessarily a bad thing but if you are expecting a happy clappy romance this is definitely not it!!!
So the good bits….
· Tamara, I found her story to be the most compelling of all of the characters.
· The idea behind the book is very imaginative and intriguing.
And the not so good bits….
· This book definitely needs a glossary, there is so much background info, place names, character names etc that I completely lost track of who was who in a past life etc!!!
· I hated Miriam & Mitch; if they were supposed to be the romance element of this novel then they failed miserably!!
· Kate, she may have only been 14 but she was a spoilt brat!!
Ok so Written in Ruberah is quite possibly one of the most complicated fiction novels I have ever read!!!
Now being complicated can be both a good and bad thing and in this case I don’t think it works in its favour.
Having read 421 pages of story I’m still not actually sure I understood most of it!!
Each main character had at least two names/identities and in some cases multiple past lives that as a reader you are expected to take in and understand. In some cases the persona or planet is referred to in passing at the beginning and then never mentioned again until a critical point at the end. I actually found myself having to flick back to the start to remind myself what something was or who the person was in Ruberah.
The book ends with Mitch going to New York with the intent to ask Miriam to marry him and then take them and Miriam’s daughter Elaine (who is actually his daughter in several of his past lives!!) to Tahiti. Now this all sounds very romantic doesn’t it, but if I were Miriam I would open the door punch him in the face then slam the door in his face!!!
Miriam and Mitch are not in love at all they are comfortable, even the couple they were in Ruberah was not exactly a grand love story Mitch (AKA the prince Da’krah) and Miriam (AKA the princess Li’ram) may bond for life and she may be infatuated with him, but he is manipulating her to get what he wants!!
In the present they are actually only a couple for the first day once they arrive in Cornwall and then he is possessed by Gwendellen (aka the evil mermaid) and then he basically follows her round like a lost puppy for the rest of the book.
Don’t get me wrong, this book is impressive because of the sheer quantity of information that is in here. She has obviously done a lot of research into Cornish myths and legends and must have had an amazing imaginary friend as a child to create this insane, in-depth fantasy world that is both old and yet new age and futuristic.
My main issue with this book is the fact that it is not written from any one or two people’s point of view. I have no idea who was narrating this story, at times it was Tamara and I enjoyed those sections. In my opinion Tamara is the grounding influence of this story and when she was telling the story it made sense and was cohesive and calm.
Unfortunately the rest of the time the POV jumps from person to person and at times is just an unidentified overseer who just reported on the action.
I wish this book had a decisive main character so I knew who I was intended to engage with, as it stands the only characters I liked were Tamara, Tavy & Tawridge and considering they were river spirits I feel like it says a lot.
The detail is beautiful, the fantasy worlds were in depth and I could imagine what they looked like. But for me there was too much information, too much going on that wasn’t explained fully enough and no romance.