Title: The Keepers of the Rose
Author: D.J. Dalasta
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Review by: Sarah Nicolas
Summary (from Goodreads)
Nestled off the coast of a charming little town in Nova Scotia, Oak Island is home to the longest running treasure hunt in modern times. The secrets hidden on the small piece of land have been thwarting treasure seekers for over two hundred years, consuming millions of dollars and costing multiple lives. For famed treasure hunter, Rock Tilton, the island is nothing more than an obsession.
When Rock receives a call from his ex-wife, archaeologist Anna Riley, to help with the excavation, he finds himself on the next plane to Canada. Rock arrives at the location to find Anna wedged in the middle of an escalating feud, pulled between a covert organization, The Keepers of the Rose and an aloof but influential corporation, The Delega Group. As the two sides become increasingly hostile, Rock begins to realize that the secretes buried on Oak Island may contain lost information about the prophesized events in 2012. As he is pulled into a world of secrets and murder he must decide if the truth is worth more than the people he loves.
Rock Tilton is a treasure hunter who seems to rely more on instinct than any factual information. I didn't really care for him. He came across as very cocky even though there were several instances where he seemed dumb and I really couldn't believe that he was successful as he was.
Anna is an incredibly flat character and I really didn't understand her or her motivations most of the time. She was just kind of along for the ride, merely reacting to everything around her.
There are many more characters involved in the story, but I couldn't bring myself to care about any of them – or even differentiate between a few of them. Sayla, Rock's apprentice, had promise but her dialogue was so cliched in each situation she was involved in that I found myself grimacing.
The back story was intriguing and there were times when the plot was really moving along nicely. However, at the end there are way too many "we each have a gun to each other's heads and I promise that I'm telling the truth and so do you but how do I trust you?" sort of conversations and situations that I rolled my eyes every time a new one popped up.
I really liked the cover and it is one of the main reasons I selected the book for review. The inside was formatted perfectly (I read this on the Kindle app on my phone).
I feel a little duped because nothing out of the realm of the ordinary actually happens in this novel. There are a lot of stories about SFF-like things that (maybe) have happened or will happen, but the story itself is a straight forward real-world venture. The mythology is interesting, but I had problems with the way it was presented: none of it is really discovered so much as told to the MCs by other characters.
I believe this book could have been a four to five star if it had been put in front of a discerning editor (both content and copy) with a vicious red pen. The prologue was very well written, but promised something the rest of the book didn't deliver on. Sentence structure and comma usage were horrendous. (""Because then I'll kill you," the smaller man drew a gun and before Rock could react. He walked forward and came close enough to push it into his chest.") The author seems to be strangely averse to using a question mark in dialogue when questions are being asked. (""Where am I going," she said.") Cliched dialogue and awkward phrasings abound, ("watch to whom you speak with." and "from where I come from disguise is just short for dramatic interpretation solely guarantees uselessness...").
If I wasn't reading this for review, I'm really not sure how far I would have gotten into it. The writing style is so distracting I literally replied out load with snarky responses several times. I feel like there was promise here with a intriguing back story, but the book didn't get much past that point.