Like, seriously, whoever recommended this book to me needs a good punch in the face. I’m serious. Everyone’s got a tortured past and a damn doctorate. WTF. Okay.
Let me silence my annoyance long enough to summarize this thing.
So, Isabella Kopas is a nice white girl (with a doctorate in what the hell what I don’t know) with a tortured past. She is ALL WOMAN but fragile and just wants to LOVE. This means that she’s incredibly pliant and submissive and whenever OUR HERO wants to inappropriately do it (like when they’re suffering from hypothermia after being fished out of a river by some random Inuit and are waiting to see if the baddies know where they are) she is down for it. Like… they have to get interrupted at gun-point. He fists her hair constantly. HER KINDNESS CAN HEAL HIS HURTING HURT HEART! Because she is innocent and pure and a survivor. She loved her mama even though her mom was a whore and lacked the courage to be pure, and she knows the men in her life don’t MEAN to be sociopaths. Please note how these two things are discursive equivalents. Let me repeat. Isabella loves her mother, who was forced into sex work, despite her mother having been forced into sex work. She loves the men in her life despite their consciously choosing to murder. I swear to God. Sometimes I want to poke my eyes out with spoons to make the pain of this ILLOGIC go away.
Anyways, she lives with her boss, Marcus Fie, for some weird reason. He is a baddie with too much money and a hard-on for antiquities. She can tell whether shit is real or not and has never been wrong. No. Don’t ask me if she’s got a specialty or if she likes her work. I DON’T KNOW AND IT DOESN’T MATTER, OKAY? SHE IS PRETTY AND TORTURED. Anyways, Marcus gives her a necklace that’s covered in rubies and is from some unnamed South American tribe (whose last members now live in Alaska??) and is promptly kidnapped. OR IS HE? Anyways, Isa is now on the run (presumably with snags in her pretty cashmere sweater :() and the only person who can help her is her boss’s estranged son, who is now a bush pilot in Alaska but is NOT friends with the Natives in Alaska who aren’t Alaskan natives. Huh. I think this means he must miss out on some rockin’ parties because he is one DOUR dude.
Anyways, Isa and Luke are hotties and promptly fall in love with each other. It’d be awesome, except the baddies want the necklace and are totally after Isa. Luke, the son, has to go back to his old violent ways in order to protect Isa… even though protecting Isa means he can’t chillax in the Alaskan wilderness anymore. That’s sad, because he really liked Alaska, despite his constant insistence on refusing to let others in. He’s also got a PhD but unfortunately it’s not in bullshit, which is sad because this book is full of it. Yo. If you want to name drop that someone went to a doctoral program at Harvard, also name drop what the fuck they studied and know that they probably are ALWAYS thinking about their research even when they’re not. I mean seriously? My friends HATE it when I randomly bring up anti-racist colonial histories when we’re watching movies but it totally happens. Because being in graduate school makes you a killjoy. It also makes you think about your research CONSTANTLY, particularly if you love your research so much it is your damn job. If you’re nuts enough to waste your youth on reading, you bring that shit up constantly. This brings me to my next point. Ummm. Let’s think about timeline. Luke is supposed to be 30-38. He spent the last 8 or so years in the Alaskan wilderness. Okay. Before that he earned a doctorate. Let’s assume it’s in something like archaeology, since that would make sense. Those programs are generally about what — 7 years? Okay. So assuming he was 18 when he started college, did it in four years, then went straight into graduate school… he was 29 when he graduated. So… in all that, when did he have time to do all the amazing fieldwork and gem stealing he says his father made him do? Same for Isabella. She’s TOO YOUNG to have the educational background she’s got. Also, she’s useless. Like everything she does is wrong and useless. And, she blames her mother for dying because her mother was a whore and was raped and beaten by a man in a strip club. Um. Isa is the heroine? And blames her raped and beaten mother for not having the strength to live? AND SHE’S THE HEROINE? God. Someone bake me cookies because the brain bleach I needed after this has erased my learnings.
Look. I don’t ask for much. Just… characterization. Logical characterization. Coherent plot structure. Internally consistent emotional responses. Just… some sign that the author labored on this text and didn’t just wake up one morning and go, “Hey, you know what’s a sign of smartness and a true Bostonian life style? A PhD from HAHVAHD! Phew, I thought I’d have to specifically name some landmarks to establish place.”