If you’ve been following this website for a while, you’re aware that this is the seventh AAR review of a Cassie Edwards novel, and I am the seventh reviewer to give Edwards an F. You might think that there is a kind of backhanded recommendation in that. But I don’t want you to be misled. This is not a fun read, in a so-bad-it’s-good sort of way. Sometimes its awfulness is amusing – but not nearly often enough.
Sun Hawkis the love story between two chiefs of the Ojibwa tribe, also known as the Chippewa. Summer Hope, a beautiful and virginal young woman, became a chief of the Northern Lights clan when she saved her people from an avalanche. She is highly revered by her people in spite of her sex. Sun Hawk was born Jeffrey Davidson, who was kidnapped from his parents by renegade Indians. Eventually he was adopted by the Ojibwa and is now the chief of the Enchanted Lake clan. He is highly revered by his people in spite of the fact that he’s white.
Summer Hope and Sun Hawk fall in love at first sight, but there are numerous issues that come between them. There’s a villainous Frenchman who keeps popping up to try to rape and kill Summer Hope. There’s the wily British, who want to double-cross Summer Hope’s tribe. There’s Sun Hawk’s real father, a gentle white minister, who by an astonishing coincidence arrives and begins to build a church nearby. There’s Eagle Wing, one of Summer Hope’s tribesmen, who loves her and wants her to be his wife, or, alternately, wants her to marry Sun Hawk and go away so that he can be chief. But the greatest conflict is that both Sun Hawk and Summer Hope are proud chiefs who are accustomed to leadership. They are unwilling to yield to one other. The fact that every single one of these characters is a dyed-in-the-wool stereotype did nothing to endear them to me.
Ms. Edwards’ prose is priceless for the first several pages, but then it just gets irritating. She likes to use one- and two-sentence paragraphs, like this:
The canoe that he had been following had surely capsized, but what of its occupants?
Had they drowned in the frenzy of waves?
Would he soon see the lovely, proud maiden floating lifelessly in the water?
And what of her abductors? Had they lived?
The entire book is written this way, studded with exclamation points and apparently Ojibwa words: “As I sit here, safely praying, she … is in nah-nee-zah-ni-zee, danger!” (The ellipsis in this quotation is Ms. Edwards’, not mine.)
If the only problem here were the stereotypical characters, massive plot leaps and ridiculous prose style, I might have broken with tradition and given this book a D. But Sun Hawk’s most serious flaw is that it is mind-bogglingly boring. Sun Hawk goes to Summer Hope’s village. They renew their love and apologize for past mistakes. Then they argue and he returns to his village. Can they ever learn to compromise? Do they have a future together? After the seventh or eighth time, do I care? How often do we need to do this?
Each of these three hundred and seventy five pages seemed longer than the last.
Even the “action” sequences are dull. There’s a description of the sinister Frenchman stalking an unsuspecting Summer Hope through the forest. For several paragraphs, Summer Hope admires a bald eagle that’s perched nobly nearby. Then the evil Frenchman also spends several paragraphs gazing at the same bald eagle. Will the bald eagle warn Summer Hope? Will it fly to Sun Hawk and tell him to save her? Will it have anything to do with the plot at all? No. The eagle does nothing. Things like this happen repeatedly – odd, awkward bits of introspection or description that turn out to be totally irrelevant and superfluous. Soon I was longing for something to happen. Anything. No matter how absurd.
I am sorry to confess that, about fifty pages from the end, I could bear no more. I rapidly flipped through the remainder without really reading it. If you’re thinking of picking up a Cassie Edwards book hoping that it’ll be good for a few laughs, all I can say is, don’t pick up this one. I might be able to chuckle at the silliness and the strange paragraphing; but this degree of monstrous tedium is unforgivable.
|Review Date:||May 17, 2000|