Publication Date: November 23, 2012
In Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M. Kerrigan, Anna Kinnealy has been struggling since the death of her husband seven years ago. When her husband is officially declared dead and a settlement is looking likely, Anna expects it to all end and for her life to become peaceful again. Little does she know about the dark forces working against her. She’ll face the worst and best that humanity has to offer in her journey from Wisconsin to the Yucatan.
This reader simply couldn’t connect with Betrayal by Serpent by Judith Kerrigan. Was it simply the long and complex storyline? The fact that I found the main character Anna a little too naïve and that there were so many characters? Or was it the copious plot twists, turns and endless red herrings? I’m not sure, but it was not a book that engaged me. The settings were brilliantly laid out. Kerrigan knows her landscape, and she knows the role of her characters within that landscape.
Whatever else could be said about Betrayal by Serpent, it cannot be called a poorly written novel. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read a technically better-written novel. If there are errors, this reader didn’t see them. I do think that the result of the exhaustive exposition is that we know Anna as a character very well, and yet there are moments that still rung a little false to the ear. People are unpredictable and so are characters. Could she do it is rather a different question from is she likely to do it?
I have heard much about the new genre of fiction known as emotofiction and wondered if Kerrigan’s novel fits into that category. There is a constant weight of emotion about the book. When Anna goes to the lawyer’s office at the start of the novel, there is a trepidation that is palpable to the reader. Are we on this ride with Anna and if she were someone more suited to me, would I have been emotionally soaring with her until the end? Would I have been with her in the ups and downs and crawling on the jungle floor?
In the end, this was not a novel for me. There was always a sense that an editor with a machete could have made it into something more palatable. There were few points where I didn’t think the narrative could use some pruning, but I am not the author, and this novel was not my vision. Though well written, this reader found it to be trying at times, and I had to push ahead to keep reading. If you like epic sagas, Betrayal by Serpent may be the book for you.
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