This is supposed to be a story about a middle aged woman embracing her empowerment via belly-dancing. I expected it to have a lot of dance narratives. I also imagined that since it is a coming-of-age story (of a sort), it would have a number of ups and downs.
Instead, Ameera Unveiled runs on like a personal fantasy, with very little colour or detail to make it interesting. The actual dance sequences are skipped over with a line or two like ‘In less than an hour, she slipped away’. I went all the way to page 202 in a 322-page book without one single dance action being described. It made me wonder whether the author did any research at all on belly dancing or whether she just cleverly spun words around the idea because she thought it would get more interest.
The narrative is extremely linear and the characters, cardboard. Two-thirds into the book, I still didn’t know the different names (only that they were all part of the ‘troupe’ and were excited to be in it). Instead, the story is filled with page after page of Kat’s own whining and self-glorification (Look how wonderful I am! I’m so shy, I’ve suffered so much but I’m doing this cool thing!). You already know with every situation that she’s going to enter it with trepidation and come out smelling on top, something that everyone else can see but mysteriously she never can.
I suffered Kat’s lousy tale all the way till 2/3rds the way before giving up. I don’t expect the story or the characters to change much by this point. And if they do, then it’s too little, too late. You’ve lost your reader already.
I got this book from NetGalley.