Emerald's Fire
by Eboni Snoe, contemporary (2001, 1996 reissue)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-203-7

I've just come back from visiting Eboni Snoe's website (beautiful, but difficult to navigate), and it helps me understand what the heck Emerald's Fire, part two in Sienna Russell and Hennessey "Hawk" Jackson's gem-hunting adventure, is all about. Book one is The Passion Ruby, which tells how Sienna and Hawk meet. You may want to read that one first, even though both novels are (somewhat) standalone, because Emerald's Fire plunges right into the action without any preliminary introductions.

The reason I say I understand this book better after a visit to the author's website is because on the website I find this statement that says "Eboni Snoe" is conceived from the author's imagination "in the spirit of Universal Love". The author really does write like that. By "that" I mean the heavy, sometimes awkward, sometimes cringe-worthy lovey-dovey/mystic yama yammerings that are just one cedar short of being cheesy. The author sincerely wants to convey the messages she does rather unsubtly in her book. I have no problem with that now that I know the cheese is intentional. We all need motivation and hindsights. But it's the method of execution that gives me lactose intolerance.

In this story, our two heroic folks search for the fabled (duh) emerald. The story starts with our heroine, who has learned in book one how she is the Stonekeeper, kidnapped by some millionaire scum right out of the Mini-Me Bad Bond Villain Showcase, because the baddie believes that our heroine knows the secrets to the emerald's whereabouts. She is, after all, the Stonekeeper.

Hawk, who has left sometime in between these books for some soul-searching to discover his inner "Sight" gifts (this somehow include lots of yin-yang tao-wao yammerings about finding oneself, listening to one's heart, et cetera), has to go rescue her.

And to make it more complicated, our baddie eliminates Sienna's memory. Hawk who? Oops. But hah, the Mind and Spirit will not be thwarted. Sienna "recognizes" Hawk because their Spirits are One and Their Inner Eyes are Opened (or something) - together they evade the baddie and his many, many henchmen as they trample through exotic virgin wilderness, sun-soaked beaches, and other exotic settings to find the emerald. And Sienna's memory.

The emerald is obviously a not-too-subtle imaginary for our inner chakra well-being (or something - gee, I keep saying that). I don't mind motivation seminars if they are well-written. But alas, Hawk, after two books, you still are the distant, dark, aloof Vin Diesel-ish beefcake who has minimal personality apart from me-man-know-best arrogance. Sienna is still the B-grade adventure heroine, screaming her independance as her man carries her over his shoulder as they escape the Terrors of the Jungles, her torn dress still patched together at strategic places to preserve her modesty.

That's what Emerald's Fire is, despite its good intentions to enlighten as well as to entertain. Heavy on vague philosophies, too light on characterization, too loose in plotting (too much coincidences and action at the expense of characterization) - it may want to be pure gem, but it's actually a very rich slice of cheese. Anyone want a helping?

Rating: 68

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