Reviewer Susan Ravagni: Susan lives in the greater Boston area and works in the medical industry. When not found prowling the aisles of local independent bookstores, she’s either out conquering one of New Hampshire’s White Mountains or delighting in the pounding Atlantic surf. An avid reader her entire life, Susan took the plunge and published her first book, I'm Just a Girl. A medical mystery thriller – with a comedic twist, I’m Just a Girl had been percolating in Susan’s mind for a number of years. And guess what? Writing is addictive! So her next book, It Keeps Getting Better, is almost complete. To find out more about Susan, Click Here
Author: Phyllis Gunderson
Publisher: Bonneville Books
What’s all this brouhaha about the year 2012? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question but haven’t the time or inclination to mine the internet or wade through the myriad tomes at your favorite bookseller, then Gunderson’s fictional work The Jaguar Prophecies provides a nice intro to the subject.
Carve out an evening for some fun reading and hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen…
Matt Howard, single mom to adopted Chinese daughter, is an unlikely and reluctant chosen one. Chosen for what? Chosen to deliver a message to the uninformed masses.
Out of the blue, archeology professor Matt Howard receives a mysterious invitation to attend the famous fall equinox celebration at the Kukulcan Pyramid in Mexico. Excited to observe the sun’s play over the surface that mimics a snake crawling down the pyramid, Matt’s viewing is interrupted by a persistent boy who hijacks her identification forcing her to follow him. She ends up in a chamber inside the pyramid and is told about an upcoming cataclysm prophesied by Mayan texts. She is “marked” to voice this warning.
Marked indeed. Matt balks at the idea and returns home intent on learning why she was chosen for this mission and what it means. Inexplicably, Matt now sports a tattoo of a jaguar on her inner arm.
Thus starts Matt’s quest.
From a fellow professor, expert in astronomy, she receives an education on all things cosmic. Sunspots might be 30% to 50% stronger in 2012. Planetary precession – Earth’s slight wobble that takes 25,800 years to complete – finishes up a cycle around 2012. Also, Earth will align with the galactic center, believed to contain a black hole emitting electromagnetic pulses, in the year 2012. Additionally, some star or planet called Nibiru in Sumerian texts might cross Earth’s path at that time. Yikes.
Following the thread, Matt gleans more and more information. She discovers that a plethora of cultures in ancient times predicted a cataclysmic ending. The date of 2012 seems to be a recurring theme. Prophecies ranging from the Sibylline Oracles to Nostradamus to I Ching to Hopi foretell of this ultimate destruction. Matt then discovers governments around the world as well as private citizens are secretly building underground bases seemingly with the hope of surviving a major disaster. Double yikes.
Evidence of forthcoming catastrophe continues to pile up, convincing Matt that she must warn people. But how? Inspiration hits. As Matt drives home from her latest investigation, she calls in to a talk radio program she’s been listening to. Going by the name Jaguar Lady, she begins her campaign of warning audiences. It’s a rough and inelegant beginning but when her astronomy colleague, more eloquent on the subject, takes over they begin to make headway. They coauthor a book and between them, millions of people are reached.
So what’s the final message that Matt Howard is supposed to deliver? A very difficult time is coming. Be prepared. But the human race is resilient. We will survive.
Gunderson advances her plot at a good pace. She deftly navigates the huge amounts of information on End Times. Each chapter ending makes you want to take a peek at the next (hence the warning about carving out an evening for this read).
I cracked open her book with enthusiasm, expecting a work similar to the Celestine Prophecy. Gunderson, however, did not dive deeply into New Age spiritual concepts. Actually, she barely even dipped her toe in them except to mention the more far out elements. It would have been interesting to see how she might have handled that. She certainly opened the door for a metaphysical discussion with all the prophecies she quoted.
As a stand-alone book the information may leave a reader if not rattled, at least somewhat disquieted. Is there impending doom? Gunderson certainly builds a case. However, I’m not so sure she gave the message of hope that blurbs from different reviewers suggested. The only thing I would change is, again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, to add a New Age spin on it. Many in that community are talking about a shift in consciousness and humans rising to a higher vibrational level along with Mother Earth; following her into a Golden Age. Perhaps this is a little out there by some standards, but one that gives a message of hope rather than just possible survival. In this way the ending could have a more encouraging take.
Overall, Gunderson delivers a well-paced interesting adventure with a very likeable heroine. Two thumbs up. Cheers!