Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Queen Jade - Yxta Maya Murray

The Queen Jade: A New World Novel of Adventure

The Queen Jade is properly billed as a New World adventure novel.  The story is an Indiana Jones-type, following the cast through the Guatemalan jungles to rescue the heroine's mother and find The Queen Jade, an ancient Mayan treasure.  The book is exactly what you would expect, but not in a bad way.

Niche bookstore owner, Lola Sanchez, daughter of an archaeologist mother and museum-running father, heads off into the jungle to find her mother, Juana, after Hurricane Mitch strikes Central America.  Juana has traipsed off in search of the Queen Jade, a mythological legend created in Murray's imagination.  The story, as with any novel of this type, is half that of the treasure and its history and half the story of the modern characters.

Unlike many novels of this type, Murray's characters have complexities and even some personal development throughout the story.  Interwoven into the adventure are difficult family dynamics.  The relationships that Lola has with her family members are odd, but loving.  Her intense care for her reckless mother is evident as she risks her life over and over again to find her.  Her cohorts on the adventure seem to be in it for the archaeological find, but Lola's highest goal always remains rescuing her mother.

I really do not feel like there is a lot to say about this book.  It was good, but not great. I have read many like it.  It was a nice change of pace to have the adventure center around Central American culture, rather than European.  I also enjoyed the strong female characters.  The Sanchez women are fierce and determined, unashamed of their eccentricities.  I liked that.  Murray took an old formula and spiced it up a bit.  At the core, however, this remains a standard adventure novel.  This would have been great beach reading.....someone, please take me to the beach.

Pages: 368
Date Finished: April 22, 2012

PS: This is the 20th book I have read so far this year!  I am 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule at this point and it feels awesome!  I am loving this 52-book challenge.  I'm reading so much more than I have in the past few years.  I'm spending less time online or watching TV.  Once in a while, I get a book that's so good that I can't put it down and it disrupts my life a little.  I'm learning to predict those and manage my time better. In fact, last night I opted to start a non-fiction book rather than another novel because I knew if I started the novel, my poor fiancé would get lonely.  It will have to wait until he works late some night this week.  
More to come soon....

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