Excavations by Kate Myers: book review
Overview: A constellation of women come together at a Greek archeological dig to reveal a crook and make sure that history is told accurately. Kara, Gary, and Elise have come back to a particular Greek site every year for a decade. Elise is a leader out on the dig, but her lack of degree holds her back from advancing in her career. Gary keeps moving along in his LiDAR specialty, and Kara has been promoted to running the lab and getting the coveted single room. This year, though, looks a bit different. Kara and Elise are barely talking after an artifact's demise last year, and Z, Gary's ex-girlfriend who once worked at the site before going to the corporate world, is returning. Instead of just being another year, Kara, Z, and Elise are tasked with coming together to uncover something sinister happening behind the scenes. Overall: 3.5
Characters: 3 We get to see the story unfold through the lens of four characters – Kara, Elise, Z, and Patty, one of the undergrads. Despite getting so many points of view, the characters still feel somewhat flat and underdeveloped. Kara is uptight and organized, and her privileged upbringing has made her loyal to authority to a fault. Elise is somewhat washed up, talented and overlooked because of her lack of degree with a chip on her shoulder about it. Z is just a mess, flailing through the last few years of her life with little satisfaction or plan. And Peggy is a timid, lost undergrad that just wants to be liked. That's pretty much how they all stay through the entirety of the book. Maybe because there was such a large cast or maybe because it was the plot and the setting that took primary importance, there just wasn't the depth and development in these characters that I crave in books. Oddly, it was the question of if Z and Gary will rekindle their one-time romance that had the most interesting development and tension even though that wasn't really the point.
Plot: 4 I read this book in just about two days. It's a quick read and very fast paced. It takes a while to get into the central mission of the book, and there's a lot of time spent getting to know the site and the day to day dynamics of it. Then, once the girls get their plan into action, things unfold fast. There's never really a mystery to solve or too much tension, even though it seems like there will be this big mystery for the reader in the jacket summary. You know that they'll succeed, and all the facts and evidence easily fall into their laps. But it's still interesting to see the hijinks along the way and how it all unfolds. It's easy to see the skeleton of the outline here, and there isn't much connective tissue between one big event and the next towards the end, but it's still a satisfying romp in a very full and interesting world.
Writing: 3.5 The style of this book wasn't my favorite. It was a bit flat and cheesy, in a way. Where it does succeed, though, is in capturing the world of living at the dig, the camaraderie, the atmosphere and setting, and how archeologists work. The author did study archeology in college, and she does a good job blending that knowledge into the novel without making it bulky or difficult to understand. She's also good at writing love triangles, something I normally hate. There's enough good in this book to make it a fun beach read, but I never fell in love with it.
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