Elayne Mayer’s Jaded Idols (2003) creates a huge family tree that stretches from pre-colonial Africa to a contemporary Presidential White House. The novel opens in a polygamous African village were men father as many children as possible and have no problem raising the children of other men. Unfortunately, their lives are shattered when slave traders ambush the village, place the natives on ships, and later enslave them. Relationships between slaves and slaveholders produce children. To improve their social standings in life, some of the biracial offspring turn to passing as white. Some of the novel’s characters are able to become huge Hollywood celebrities. However, these lives are also shattered. Murder, incest, rape, and drugs appear around every corner. Some tragic event seems to await Mayer’s characters up until the final pages of the book.
I was really impressed with Mayer’s ability to seamlessly transition from generation to generation. Everything was smooth and I never found myself lost wondering how the newest character came in. I also loved Mayer’s use of flashback. Often at a crucial part of the novel, the main character will flashback to some important event.
Overall, Jaded Idols is a very good book. I thought the beginning scenes in African were interesting, but it was easy to anticipate what would happen next. However, the suspense picked up in Part Three when the book shifted to Hollywood. Some characters die in the most unpredictable fashions. The only problem I had with the book where the typos. They were annoying but did not make the novel unreadable. I would recommend this book to others.
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I received a complimentary copy of Jaded Idols as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.