Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review: Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman

Shadow of Time
Author: Jen Minkman
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Synopsis: All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.

But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the past of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?

Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Bridget Strahin 
Review: Hanna's a high school teacher looking for some peace and relaxation after a difficult year, has decided to join her brother Ben at their parent's summer cabin. But fate has another plan for Hanna and she finds herself on a crazy self discovering adventure, full of ancient curses, hot Navajo locals, and a love story that has withstood the sands of time.

First and foremost, the thing that drew me to this book was the Navajo folklore. Minkman went above and beyond with descriptions, customs, language, and locations. It felt like I was actually in the book and experiencing the Navajo life for myself. But even though the book was so rich in Navajo culture like I have never read before, this book had a lot of flaws.
Hanna the main heroine was absolutely annoying. When she is introduced to the reader and we read about her first encounter with Josh at the gas station (before she knew it was the same Josh from her past) it's obvious that Hanna isn't offering anything memorable. I was shocked to read that she was 23 and a high school teacher because her thoughts were better suited for 17 year old high school student. I didn't like being in her head and found myself rolling my eyes at most of her dialogue. But the kicker came when she realized that the hot Navajo native she was drooling over in the opening scene is a 17 year old boy she used to baby sit over the summer but still chases after him. I almost stopped reading that book right there. Maybe it could have worked if she had been anything other than a teacher, but all I kept thinking was that Josh could have been her student from the previous year and how creepy she was for hitting on him. Of course as you continue reading, it's made clear why she has an attraction towards him but I still couldn't get past the whole teacher-student scenario. Hanna was needy, whiny, un-relatable and just all around frustrating.
Then you have Josh. I'm not going to give away what Josh is because that will give away too much of the plot but I will tell you that he's an enjoyable character. He was believable as a 17 year old with the weight of the world resting on his shoulders but I wish the author would have went more in depth about his 'curse'. Josh is loyal and brave but also troubled and closed off. I liked his relationship he had with Ben (his best friend and also Hanna's brother) and how he was treated in high regards by his elders but still remained humble and very much a 17 year old boy.
The plot of the book was original and packed with suspense. I liked how the author weaved old Navajo traditions and culture into her world of skinwalkers and spirit guides. The pacing of the book was slow but I think a lot of that had to do with Hanna's endless thoughts of stuff that didn't really matter to the story line. The ending was predictable but still left me satisfied with the outcome. Overall, if you're looking for a way to escape the same ol' NA/YA reads than Shadow of Time might be the book you're looking for, but I wouldn't go as far to say that this is a MUST read, just a nice change of scenery.
Author Bio: Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English, career counsellor and teenage coach at a secondary school in Voorburg, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication.

In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack. Visit Jenn on her website or twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting! I'm sorry one of the main characters was so unrelatable to you, that must have been difficult to read around. I understand why Hannah might feel annoying to some readers, but I still stand by the way I wrote her :) I appreciate your time to review and explain thoroughly why you thought the book was flawed in some ways.


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