To Swim Beneath The Earth by Ginger

A debut novel by a promising author.

3/5 stars.
ebook, 280 pages.
Read from July 04 to 07, 2016.

I’m jumping the gun on this review too because this is another lovely gift from Netgalley. The first half of this book I would have easily given 4 stars, but the second half bordered on 2 stars for me. What happened? I felt like I ended up reading two different convoluted plot lines. I was intensely into the first half of the book and couldn’t put it down but it all changed after the halfway mark. The writing is good and I believe the author has massive potential but the plot line could have been more concise.

Megan Kimsey lives in a small town in Colorado and is a successful emergency room doctor. It’s the 1970s and she is dealing with the traumatic death of her father, one of the only family members that understood her. The problem is she knew she was going to lose someone close to her, she saw it happen in a vision. Since she was a girl Megan has had unwanted glimpses in to the future along with puzzling images of Ecuador, more than 400 years before she was born. Her neurotic and very Catholic mother forced her into psychiatric treatment after a previous traumatic event that caused a mental breakdown in Megan’s youth. Megan’s mother is however, more concerned with appearances than giving her children affection so Megan learned to take care of herself and has a fierce independence that doesn’t always correspond with her mother’s wishes. Before her father’s death, Megan received a gift from him that will take her to South America so that she can deal with her demons and her visions. An adventure, that opens up a life that Megan has apparently lived in a previous lifetime.

The good stuff: This author does great character work; Megan is a solid character throughout the book, even with the mismatching plot lines. She beautifully depicts tragedy and grief, as well as how mental illness is poorly dealt with, as well as the quirks of a dysfunctional family. This is the author’s debut novel and I would absolutely read another book by her as I enjoyed her character development. She is a admirable writer with plenty of potential.

Alright, now here are the issues I had with it that prevented me from giving it a higher rating. The beginning of the book is quite cryptic about Megan’s visions and their cause. It’s mysterious, exciting and empathetic as the author does a great job in describing the fall out of her potential mental illness before you learn the truth. You get an wonderfully detailed story of Megan’s youth and the relationships leading up to the traumatic event that caused her mental breakdown as a teenager. It was absolutely riveting and I was counting my lucky stars that I got another great find from Netgalley. But then all of a sudden the plot line takes a full 180 and then instead of focusing on her dysfunctional family and Megan’s own turmoil, you’re all of a sudden talking about the Inca’s in South America. I felt like I wasn’t prepared for this twist at all and was actually asking myself what the heck had happened? I felt severely disappointed.

The plot line with Bella’s family and the fall out of that tragedy is completely dropped. Megan’s family is completely dropped and what I thought was the root of Megan’s turmoil is now something completely different. Now she’s in South America and I feel like there was no proper lead up to it and that I’m reading a whole new book, one that I didn’t ask for. The author tries to pull it back in the last few pages of the book but I found it wasn’t successful. I think there is supposed to be a connection this frozen child in Megan’s visions and Bella but it wasn’t embellished very well. I actually wonder if this is supposed to be a series with the way the book ended, as I found it very unfinished. If it is, I would be curious about reading the second just to satisfying my own yearnings to patch together some of that parts I feel are missing.

Mostly, I didn’t care about this Inca Lord that Megan is apparently the reincarnate of, I was more interested in the dynamics of her dealing with her visions, tragedy and her family, and that’s because that’s exactly what the first half of the book was about and what the author lead me to believe was important before Megan could all of a sudden speak Quechua, an ancient Incan language. I’m not saying that the second half of the book was bad, far from it actually. It was just jarring as the plot lines didn’t seamlessly go together like the should. I enjoyed aspects of the second half of the novel, the characters were interesting and there were definitely some riveting scenes.

I also didn’t understand the connection to the title of the book. It’s a great title but I don’t get a reference to it at all in the book, unless I missed it or something.

So, I stuck with a 3 star rating, as I loved the first half and was ambivalent about the second half. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reincarnate stories, Incas, exploring tragedy or for those looking for a bit of an adventure. Keep an eye out for this author, she is definitely up and coming.


Author: thepluviophilewriter

I have an obsession with running, pole dancing, cats, video games, books and angry music. I also like to write. Read my book reviews.

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