This is more of a summer beach read of a thriller. Enjoyable and well written but nothing spectacular.
A typical plot involving Biblical relics, conspi...moreThis is more of a summer beach read of a thriller. Enjoyable and well written but nothing spectacular.
A typical plot involving Biblical relics, conspiracies, and trying to make a discovery before you get killed. Still the book pulls it off fairly well with a good amount of excitement and the resolving of the mystery.
The only thing that really kept me from liking the book even more was the whole subplot involving the Jars used by Jesus at the wedding at Cana. There was suppose to be all this mythical history involving them along with prophecies and hidden messages and a Church history storyline. This is all rather Da Vinci Code territory and while of course this is a novel of fiction, it works better when there is some grounding of truth that can be weaved into the story. So this aspect left me rather cold. Still I liked the characters and was entertained.
I was interested in this book in the first place as it was put out by Tuscany Press a Catholic fiction publisher dedicated to great Catholic fiction (properly understood). While there are Catholic elements it is not a hit-you-over-the-head-bit-of-Catholic-fiction (which is a good thing).
I was a bit hesitant to read this novel for a couple of reasons. The amateur cover art along with a plot that could lead to all kinds of theological i...moreI was a bit hesitant to read this novel for a couple of reasons. The amateur cover art along with a plot that could lead to all kinds of theological idiocy. Evil monk takes over body of a young man and exchanges their souls is a plot that does not give me much confidence. Still the reviews made it look rather promising.
I am glad I did because it really did turn out to be a superb story that got me involved and caring about the story quite early. Kind of a philosophical thriller as there is a nice meld of the thriller genre along with the philosophical aspects of the story. The philosophical aspects don't really intrude on the story in that they are lightly discussed while adding to the story telling.
I enjoyed how the situation was setup as the young man who is a bit of a jerk finds himself in a middle-aged monks body. Events have been created to make sure that no one will believe what has happened to him and set that he wouldn't survive long enough to do anything about it. I also like the fact that his being a rather agnostic lapsed Lutheran and being placed in the body of a priest does not lead to problematic aspects such as his being able to act as a priest. There was a lot of nice tension in the plot as to how he was going to deal with the situation being in a Benedictine monastery under semi-house arrest for alleged moral crimes and being able to track down the man who did this to him.
I also liked the character development as Eric-turned-Anslem deals with his own flaws and starts to grow into more of a man. Add this to a nicely satisfying thriller and you have a fairly decent page-turner.
As far as a Catholic review going beyond the basic plot of switching souls the only thing I would raise a caveat is towards an exorcism that apparently occurred rather quickly and without a Bishop's permission. Rather minor caveat for a story of this type.(less)
Another taut thriller in this series. I had read the first 3 and then got this one that was the seventh in the series when it went on sale. I really l...moreAnother taut thriller in this series. I had read the first 3 and then got this one that was the seventh in the series when it went on sale. I really like this rather serious take on the action thriller with the very complex character of John Wells the ex-CIA agent. There is a plausibility of the situations that adds to it while also being rather exciting.(less)
I really loved her Prospero trilogy, but this new series kicks it up a notch.
There is a certain tip-of-the-hat to the Harry Potter series while not ju...moreI really loved her Prospero trilogy, but this new series kicks it up a notch.
There is a certain tip-of-the-hat to the Harry Potter series while not just being a clone. She acknowledges multiple writers for influence including Rowling.
So while the situation is similar of people in training for various magical arts there are a lot of difference in the magic schemes and the world building. Plenty of nuances to make things interesting. Really the world building is quite excellent as is the attention to detail regarding characters.
The protagonist Rachel Griffin is especially interesting and while and while she has certain magical potential it is her eidetic memory that sets her apart and the way she user her memory adds to her capability. This being the first book in the series we see the action ramp up rather quickly and also see a hint of the extreme danger developing. There is darkness, yet there is also a light humorous touch.
While I really enjoyed the Harry Potter series there were certain moral choices I had caveats about. For example the amount of lying and how there was with no consequences for it. In this story the morality of lying is taken up at times and while there are secrets there is no overt hiding information from people who deserved to know the truth. I also like that Rachel was not from the typical YA broken family and from an intact family. That she grew up knowing magic along with her brothers and sisters who had excelled at school. (less)
This is one book where I would want to give one general rating and in this case a little higher rating for what the book was in relation to its genre....moreThis is one book where I would want to give one general rating and in this case a little higher rating for what the book was in relation to its genre.
I found it to be a fun read that took an interesting concept and milked it rather well. Despite containing so many genre stereotypes it mostly delivered and kept me interested. This was a light read as far as YA fiction goes and I mean light as opposed to dark. It doesn't have the darkness of the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games, etc. Although it is not as well written as those book either. I got more of a Hardy Boys groove out of it which was nice nostalgia since I loved the Hardy Boys books as a kid.
The only element I didn't like was once again in YA we have a despicable relative in this case the stepfather. Totally unsympathetic character and while the ending regarding this character in the book was ambiguous it left a bad taste for me. Still I guess evil step-relatives have always been with us in stories.(less)
Definitely my favorite book of his in years and in some ways I liked this even more than The Shining.
There is such a connection with the first book pl...moreDefinitely my favorite book of his in years and in some ways I liked this even more than The Shining.
There is such a connection with the first book played out in real time. 35 some years since The Shining was published and a similar time frame for Danny the boy from the original book. The novel takes a bit to develop as it investigates the life of "Dan" and his own struggles with alcoholism used partly to damper his shining. He thinks he has hit bottom from something he did and is struggling to clean himself up. Still the slow build-up is worthwhile, but once he discovers another person with the shining who is probably stronger than he is the story speeds up to a strong crechendo and then relaxing back to a more leisurely pace in the aftermath. There are many connecting threads with the original story and also a danger from a group of people that provides most of the tension.
There were many disturbing element in the first book concerning the father. There are also disturbing elements in this book, but there is a strong sense of family on multiple levels in the confrontation against evil. Totally had me hooked in.(less)
I haven't read this one again since it came out in 1977. Since the sequel Dr. Sleep is now out I figured it was long past time for a reread. I think I...moreI haven't read this one again since it came out in 1977. Since the sequel Dr. Sleep is now out I figured it was long past time for a reread. I think I enjoyed it more reading it this time around.(less)
Despite how talented the author is, this one of hers never really grabbed me. The scenario is an interesting take on the vampire genre where in the U....moreDespite how talented the author is, this one of hers never really grabbed me. The scenario is an interesting take on the vampire genre where in the U.S. they are captured and contained in quarantined cites along with those infected. The problem was I just really never cared about any of the characters and the darkness of it added to that. Plus I just don't like sympathetic vampires even if the majority in the novel were not sympathetic.(less)