There are definitely a lot of positive things about this book (and the rest of the series, I'm sure). I enjoyed the writing style and, for the most pa...moreThere are definitely a lot of positive things about this book (and the rest of the series, I'm sure). I enjoyed the writing style and, for the most part, the fast pacing- the way that there's very little detail about anything that's unimportant in setting the mood of any given scene (a common thread in most good young-adult novels). I enjoyed the characters, which, although not very deep, are at least distinctive and mostly interesting. I liked the protagonist in particular- she's self-confident in the kind of way only truly sheltered people can be, but she doesn't do kindnesses out of the good of her heart (in fact, she rarely thinks about other people at all unless the matter is life-or-death), and yet she isn't an annoying brat either. I also enjoyed the setting at the start of the book (the Abbey), the main character's role in it, and how everything there functions.
Now the slightly longer list: things that I didn't like.
I absolutely can't stand books and series that have some sort of absolute power (be it a god or otherwise) that sees everything, past and future, and influences events and people into semi-preordained situations. More than that, the idea of foresight itself bugs me to no end. Telling when an earthquake is going to happen is one thing, because there's nothing in the many millions and millions of variations of choice and coincidence that occurs from people interacting with one-another that's going to influence a natural disaster's occurrence, but seeing any man-made event further ahead of time than a few seconds is FAR beyond my apparently meager skills in suspending my own disbelief. Even if I accept your midichlorian god and its ability to calculate probabilities over an extended period with thousands and thousands of people involved, doesn't that rather defeat the concept of free-will? Why are we concerned about the story at all if it's a foregone conclusion? There's a sphere in the book that allows the main character not just to see what direction things lie in, but the fastest path to them (which isn't always the SHORTEST path), and even the fastest SAFE path to them (assuming she doesn't have a crisis of faith and lose its direction, oh my!). Seriously?
Another thing, call me a nerd, but I can't stand things that can't be quantified and/or measured, such as energy/magic which is only seemingly limited by emotion or necessity (even if something's never ACTUALLY measured, it should feel like it COULD be). It bothers me when there's always a cheap way out of any situation that doesn't need to be explained further than "trust in God and he shall deliver thee". Whether it's a half dozen seeming-coincidences all coming together in one moment to dramatically shift a situation to the benefit of the protagonist, or a completely hopeless situation that's overcome not through ingenuity, cleverness, strength-in-numbers, skill, or luck, but desperation tapping into an unlimited power supply (or faith, doing the same thing), I REALLY don't like it. I know that this is a young-adult novel, but if you don't ground your magic system (or should I say faith system?) in some sort of boundaries, how am I supposed to take it seriously? Not enough power? Pray harder. Still not working? God's procrastinating, give him time.
If you don't have any qualms with faith-based magic systems, oracles/seers, and very short rather shallow books/series, then ignore this review and read it. After it was all said and done, I didn't hate it (I finished it, which should say something), but I won't be continuing the series either.(less)