on 17 June 2014
Fiji by James and Lance Morcan is an action packed, thrill a minute rollercoaster ride that combines all the elements of a great historical adventure story - danger, suspense, conflict, love, colourful and larger than life, but believable characters, a good mix of dialogue and narrative and writing that is so incredibly visual that it builds up the tension and totally submerges you in the plot and storyline.
It is 1848 and the beautiful and innocent Susannah Drake, and her missionary father, are on their way from England to Momi Bay in Fiji, to run a fledgling mission station and convert the natives to Christianity.
The handsome, womanising, American madcap adventurer Nathan Johnson had recently arrived to trade muskets for highly prized sea-slugs.
But, Momi Bay is not a safe place to be as they soon find themselves in the middle of tribal war, witnessing death and destruction, human sacrifice and cannibalism.
Fascinating historical facts about Pacific Island natives and their past cultural traditions and beliefs, vividly described scenery, events and emotions all add to make Fiji one outstanding, compelling and gripping page turner.
I loved it - a highly recommended read- enjoy everyone!!
on 22 November 2014
This book is a historical novel. It was well researched, well written, and the imagery and description was beautiful and incredible. This book started out with a bang, the abduction of a Fijian maiden named Sina by the evil cannibalistic Rambuka and his tribe. Rambuka and his people are cannibals and they abduct and eat their prisoners, or they keeps the women as 'entertainment' or for sex. This story is complex and beautifully written but it does have some fairly gruesome scenes and for those that get squeamish this might not be for you.
After the bang in the beginning the book slows down a lot. The book has complex characters and themes in it and they have to be introduced. The beginning though drags a lot. That being said if you can push through it its totally worth it.
Now after the abduction we run into a father-daughter missionary duo who are traveling to Fiji to spread the word of God and stop their barbaric ways Susannah and Brian Drake. On the ship taking them to Fiji they run into the charismatic playboy and arm dealer Nathan Johnson who is on his way to Fiji to sell them muskets(tells you what period this is based in, 1800s). They will stay in the company of the Fijian tribe called the Quopa. While staying there the Quopa get attacked by Rambuka and his tribe many times and during one of them Susannah is abducted and Brian is killed. At this point Nathan and Susannah have started growing an attraction towards each other though neither have admitted to it. Susannah because her spiritualism and Nathan because of his old ways. Rambuka had raided the tribe to get their treasured great tabua which will give they luck, wealth, and leadership.
Of course the Quopa go after the treasure and Nathan joins the expedition thinking he might like Susannah more than he first thought and this is all I'm going to tell you. The rest you'll just have to read and find out.
So the story, imagery, description, and accuracy should give this 5 stars. I had to give it 4 because I honestly could not stand Susannah's character. Don't get me wrong the characterization in this book is complex, deep, and incredibly real. She is just all of my worst pet peeves rolled into one person and I could not get past it. She is the naive, innocent, damsel in distress, can't do anything without a man, type woman. That being said for the time period she is perfect. There's a reason I don't usually read books based on this time period.
Alright done with the criticism. I sorry loved the stunning scenery and description in this book. It was so well written it honestly felt like I there watching this culture become real right before my eyes. I loved the research done of the culture and how well they integrated it seamlessly into the story. I even loved the gory, grotesque battles and rituals in it.
I recommend this book to those the love historical fiction and are not afraid of a little, ok more than a little, violence and gore.
on 13 October 2014
It is rare for me to read a book not set in modern times. It is even rarer for me to enjoy reading a book not set in modern times. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Fiji: A Novel."
For me, when I read books that have historical elements woven throughout, I usually feel like I have to wade through all of that to get to the story. That wasn't the case at all with "Fiji."
While the book was filled with fascinating historical tidbits about Fiji, its people and their cultural traditions,I never once felt the story was bogged down in that. The historical/cultural elements were woven perfectly into Nathan's and Susannah's story.
American trader Nathan and English missionary Susannah are both well-written and well-developed characters. When things turn bad (as they often do in this book!), I was cheering for them both to make it through whatever the current dangerous situation was.
All those dangerous situations and challenges Nathan and Susannah experience really set a fun pace for the book, which reads extremely quickly. There were parts that were definite page turners for me. And, just when I thought everything had calmed down, BAM! Something else happens that puts someone in jeopardy.
The authors did a really good job of developing secondary characters. The reader meets a lot of characters along the way, but you find out just enough about their back stories to be invested in them. Not to spoil anything, but not everyone makes it to the end of this book alive. Even though they were secondary characters, I couldn't help but be impacted by their deaths because I felt like I had really connected with them.
The only thing I would have like to see more of was the interaction between Nathan and Susannah in the first part of the book. The authors do a good job of developing that physical attraction between the two characters. But I would have liked to see more interaction between the two in non-stressful circumstances (when they weren't battling outcasts, trying to find kidnapping victims or fighting to survive battle injuries.)
This book has history, adventure, romance -- and more. I highly recommend it.
(NOTE: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
on 12 October 2014
This exciting novel centers around Nathan Johnson, an American trader, and Susannah Drake, an English missionary, who meet each other in Fiji in the 1800's. Nathan is there to trade muskets for sea slugs, and he is only interested in making a profit. Whereas, Susannah has traveled there with her father to spread the word of God to the native people.
It's complete culture shock for Susannah as she learns the ways of the indigenous people. It was fascinating for me to read about them, and although I don't know enough about the Fijians to vouch for its accuracy, it seemed well-researched to me. We get to know many of the Fijians as well; I particularly liked Joeli and Waisale. I also loved their outrageous hairstyles (I can somewhat identify with them since I used to dye my hair bright pink and other fun colors back when I was in high school).
What really drew me in was the romance between Nathan and Susannah. They are completely different people, and Susannah's father does not approve of Nathan. He's ungodly, and he cares only for himself. Susannah is attracted to Nathan, but she tries to resist her feelings because of her strong religious background. He goes against everything that she was raised to believe. I could empathize with her struggle and her conflicted thoughts. Nathan becomes infatuated with Susannah as well, and as the story goes on, he changes drastically.
The main characters get caught up in the war between the Qopa and the Outcasts. The Outcasts are cannibals, and their leader, Rambuka, is vicious and ruthless. There are some seriously disturbing scenes in this book, but there wasn't a dull moment.
Books are often criticized when the point of view switches back and forth constantly, especially within the same chapter or even within the same page. This is one of those books where the point of view does change very frequently, but I have to say it worked. It was done in a way where it wasn't confusing. Once the point of view switched, you knew who it had switched to. As I read it, it almost felt like I was watching a movie - where the camera moves from one character to the next so you can get a feel for everything that is going on. And this book is supposed to be turned into a film, so I can easily see this translated on screen.
This was an entertaining read that I would recommend to anyone who would like to get lost in a completely different world full of adventure, danger, and romance.
on 12 October 2014
The Southern Pacific with its island people and exotic flora/fauna is a setting I can't resist. FIJI by Lance and James Morcan makes the most of the setting to fulfill the reader's expectations in the area of geographical and historical fiction even though the characters are somewhat stereotypical.
As soon as we meet the daughter of Reverend Brian Drake, we find Susannah thinking fairly scurrilous thoughts, considering that she is a missionary, a preacher's daughter. Her vivid sexual imagination stands out as her most important characteristic. In films and books, those strait-laced women are always sex kittens underneath the tight bindings of their underwear.
Susannah lusts for Nathan Johnson, an American with the brashness of Rhett Butler. His enterprise, selling sea slugs to China, is a great detail in terms of the ravishment of the island paradise on the altar of white man's greed. Nathan doesn't think in environmental terms--what 19th century adventurer did? He brings muskets to the natives for trade without a second thought of how guns will change traditional values among the tribes (cannibals, true fact and fittingly gory story suspense).
The book reveals a good look at the changes the modern world makes when it collides with primitive people. The love affair is somewhat less interesting as Susannah seems to think as a man wishes a woman would think rather than as women actually do. Some of the sexual explicitness detracted from the story for me, simply because Susannah's thoughts are way too experienced for the virgin-in-danger.
Regardless, this long book held my attention. I would like to visit the South Seas to see these wonders of nature, but there's not a character among them that I would like to be my guide.
on 12 October 2014
Fiji was immediately very readable, written with flair and smoothly intertwining its character plights with the history of missionary efforts, traders, and the Fijian people. While a love story between Nathan, the American trader, and Susannah, the missionary's daughter, dominates the story, the other characters figure with their own plots. Especially, the Fijian characters and their wars, customs, and intrigues spur the story like the setting does. Rambuka the outcast is comprehended in all his vengeance towards his brother. The passion of Joeli for his people and Sina for her lover, after she is abducted by Rambuka and made a slave, are ably drawn.
Also, the theme of death, its meaning to the Fijians, to the missionaries, and to Nathan, gives this book its realistic depth and in contrast with the festivities and the meaning of the native attachments and lifestyles.
I enjoyed other characters also, Lightening Rod the sailor and Drake, the missionary. Again, they were convincing characters in a convincing tale. The information about the time and setting came along with the storytelling, illumining it without any stiffness. The nineteenth century sexuality of Susannah was well-told however her love story felt over-explained at times.
Moving at the end, the book is full of believable heroism.
on 14 October 2014
The year is 1848 and Fiji is just another set of islands full of wild savage natives. En-route to the islands is missionary Brian Drake and his lovely daughter Susannah. On board ship is an American, Nathan Johnson. He's going to the islands to trade muskets for sea slugs. The first day on the island is filled with more than either of the Drakes were prepared for. Nathan notices Susannah and is instantly smitten by her. Her father, however, will do everything in his power to keep Nathan away from his daughter. Circumstances change though and they will all be in the fight of their lives.
An action packed book that is filled with detailed accounts of run-ins with the natives and life in Fiji. This one puts you in the islands and you can almost feel the heat and the rains of the wet season. You will enjoy the voyage this book takes you on and the not so subtle love story entwined in the fighting. I loved the history in this book and though some parts seemed graphic, it wasn't overly so.
The one problem I have is that the ending was drawn out way to much. I think they could have ended it sooner and had just as wonderful a book as they do have.
I gave this one 4 out of 5 books for the long ending. ~Copy of book provided by author in exchange for a fair review~
Ever since I read the Mutiny on the Bounty Trilogy as a teen, I have been drawn to exotic stories about the South Pacific. Fiji immediately drew my interest and I was more than pleased with this fascinating novel.
If you like your stories straight up, told like it really was, and without any sugar coating, then Fiji is sure to please. This novel transcends gender and will appeal to both male and female readers. The characters in the story fascinated me, evolving and adapting to their circumstances and surroundings. The underlying romance that weaves itself through the story is beautifully written and credible as the couple move from intense dislike to meaningful love.
This book had a bit of everything – sex, violence, humor, historic detail, and plenty of twists to keep one reading. A warning for all readers - in keeping with the authentic tone throughout, you will come across scenes of ritualistic slaughter and cannibalism. A fabulous novel, beautiful for its blunt rawness, exotic scenery, and fascinating storyline. Definitely one to pick up and read. The Kindle version is less than a dollar! A quality book for sure!
on 25 October 2014
"Fiji" is an action-adventure set in the exotic Fiji islands in the 1800’s. The authors do an excellent job of drawing the reader into the culture of the islanders. The descriptions of their traditions and way of life are well-done and highly entertaining. There is plenty of action to keep the reader’s attention. I did feel that the writers referred to the cannibalistic ways of the “outcasts” too often. They seemed to add it for shock value, but after reading about it a few times, the impact diminished. Also, the “sexual frustration” of Susannah was overdone. However, overall, the storyline was an entertaining look at a culture very different from our modern civilizations. I would recommend it for readers looking for a fast-paced action novel with a heavy dose of romance.
on 16 May 2014
read this for a 'light' historical novel and ended up enjoying it for the humour and the depictions of island life. The romantic sub-plot was not for me, however.
The descriptions of cultural practices and island life were particularly interesting - and gruesome, in a few cases - and for me this was the best part of the story. The second half of the story was non-stop action. The description of large, muscular Fijian warriors and their amazing hairstyles is simply not to be missed. Hilarious. And when a young female missionary in this period has a thought that the cannibal native's hand 'grabbed her ass' - I burst out laughing. There were a few of these moments in the book where I wondered if the writer was trying to stay in period/setting or poke gentle satire at the reader's expectations for a character from that period.
As for the romantic plot, it wasn't for me. I prefer my romance multi-layered and more complex than two characters who see each other, fall for each other ... and that's it. I was disappointed that the writer did not provide the main characters stronger back-stories and more complex motivations, which I felt could have enriched this aspect of the story. They ended up coming across more as caricatures than as characters.
Nevertheless, the story succeeded in transporting me to Fiji, and the action was, while a little predictable, intense enough to feel realistic. All in all, an enjoyable read.