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Birth of Saints #2

Faithful: Birth of Saints Book Two

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Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

480 pages, ebook

Published November 15, 2016

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Michelle Hauck

7 books245 followers

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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,401 reviews254 followers
January 31, 2017
I received a free ecopy of this ARC from Harper via Edelweiss+ for this blog tour.

When I saw the opportunity to sign up for this tour, I was immediately intrigued. I hadn't read the first novel in the Birth of Saints series, but the summary was so intriguing that I wanted to try it regardless. Of course before I began reading this sequel, I went back and read several reviews of book one in an attempt to quickly catch myself up on the goings on, the characters, and the setting. Luckily, I was really able to enjoy this novel, Faithful, even though at times I felt a little out the loop.

There were several things about the novel that I particularly enjoyed about Hauck's novel - the setting and world-building, the magic, and the characters. The world-building is well-developed and the setting is very complex. The epic fantasy has a Spanish flavor that I don't often see in YA, so that was actually pretty refreshing. As refreshing was the presentation of the magic system. I'll admit that I didn't fully understand exactly how it functioned (and I'll probably need to actually read book one to get a better handle on it), but the fact that it operates through music and song still fascinated me. Ramiro and Claire were excellent characters to get to know and learn more about their relationship, plus their duty and home. Both undergo a fair amount of growth and development over the course of this novel.

Overall, if you're interested in YA epic fantasy you will certainly want to try this Faithful by Michelle Hauck, but perhaps first begin the trilogy with book one, Grudging. I know I'll definitely be going back to see how it all begins and I am looking forward to the seeing how the series will conclude. I also hope to someday have the chance to read one of Hauck's other novels, particularly Kindar.
4,676 reviews48 followers
November 17, 2017
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

In a fantasy world at war,Claire and her friends search for someone to teach Claire how to control her song, which can destroy everything. The teacher is her grandmother.

The book's okay.
Profile Image for Christopher Owens.
289 reviews2 followers
February 13, 2017
In the introduction to my last review, for Wade Albert White’s The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes, I talked about how great it is to read and review books written by author friends that I’ve met through online pitch contests. That’s true again today as I review Michelle Hauck’s Faithful. Michelle chose me for Team Snow in the 2016 edition of Sun Vs. Snow, and I’m pleased to be reviewing the sequel to her 2016 novel, Grudging.

First, let me start by saying that I gave Faithful the maximum of five stars on Goodreads. I was concerned that it might take be a while to get back up to speed on the characters and plot carrying over from the previous book, but that wasn’t the case at all. One of the things I loved most about this book was the number of characters that were given such deep characterization. By my count there were seven, but I may have missed a couple more.

I also loved how the romance developed through the course of the book. Although it was so gradual that I don’t think the characters involved even knew it was happening, in my eyes it was also inevitable.

Finally, in the last fifty pages or so, this book changes direction in a very big way. I’m not sure how the series will end, but I’m very anxious to find out.
Profile Image for Carla.
Author 4 books147 followers
November 19, 2017
I love series and was excited to read the sequel to Grudging. The characters are complex and the world building is wonderful. It great to see a fantasy book not based on the typical English landscape. Can't wait to read the next book which will be released on 12-5-17.
Profile Image for Beatrice.
220 reviews13 followers
February 5, 2017
I received an e-arc of of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour organised by RockStar Book Tours. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

I read and reviewed the first book in this trilogy, Grudging: Birth of Saints Book One, as my first book of the year, so it is only fitting that as the year draws to a close, I should be so lucky as to take part in the blog tour for the second book. I loved Grudging, back in January, and am incredibly happy to say that my love for this series only grows stronger after reading Faithful!

Now, I am notoriously bad at finishing series. Usually, I read the first book and then put off reading any sequel because I am just so scared of being disappointed by "fillers" up to the final installment. Gladly, I didn't fall into this trap with Faithful.

This book picks up just a little after Grudging had closed, with the people of Colina Hermosa, Ramiro and Claire still trying to deal with the aftermath of their encounter with the Northerners. From the very beginning, we start to catch glimpses of the main themes that will accompany us throughout the rest of the book. Building on from what was started in Grudging, the role of women in society is further explored, as several strong female figures jump to the lead of their respective societies, opposing world-views clash. I really enjoyed seeing the evolution of Claire's character in particular: still struggling to accept the consequences of the magic she performed in order to save the people of Colina Hermosa, she also has to come to terms with the fact that they seem to fear and distrust her.

And dealing with the consequences of difficult choices is one of the recurring themes of the book: Claire and Ramiro, but also Julian and Beatriz, Teresa and Father Telo... in this time of uncertainty and war, everyone has to make incredibly tough choices, and is left wondering whether the path chosen was indeed the right one. And dealing with the consequences of it all. As in the previous book, the characters were stunning. Each one is perfectly crafted in an incredibly realistic way that makes them stand out as individuals, struggling to cope with the loss of everything they hold dear: family, friends, home and possibly everything they had ever known. The cast is varied, and all the stories intersect and are masterfully weaved together to great a complex world.

In short, Faithful is a great addition to a fantastic series. A middle book that never feels like just a filler, Faithful combines fantasy, action and romance, giving us a great story set in a complex world with constantly-evolving characters. I honestly cannot wait to see how the story will end. Definitely one of my favourite reads this year, this is one series you do not want to miss!

For this and more reviews, visit Book for Thought.
Profile Image for Sean Jenan.
Author 1 book20 followers
January 15, 2018
This was an engaging followup to Grudging, and the characters carried forward in a story that is getting more dangerous and impossible by the page. Hauck is not afraid to kill off a character you were sure would make it to the end, so things get tense, and the unexpected turns make you wince a little because there are going to be real consequences.

This is a multiple pov book, but instead of being disappointed when things shifted to another one of the sub-plots, I was glad to get back to an old friend. Which did I like best - the Ramiro/Claire chapters, the Telo chapters, the Julian chapters? [I left out some character names to avoid spoilers]

I think I have a favorite, but then I get reading on the next one, and I change my mind. Another enjoyable aspect is that each subplot is a different kind of story than the others - an adventure, a plot, a palace intrigue - and the way they resolve is unexpected and satisfying.

Of course, as the hinge book in a trilogy, everything is looking pretty dire at the end. I'm looking forward to reading the final book.
Profile Image for Alan.
90 reviews7 followers
August 18, 2017
Faithful picks up directly after the events of the first book in the series, and continues at a relentless pace for the remainder of the novel. Although I imagine it is possible for a new reader to start with this second book, I would recommend starting with Grudging, as certain plot twists and developments will pack more punch for those who've been with the characters since the beginning. Returning readers should find much to love in the sequel, and for my part I found that Faithful was an even more enjoyable read than its predecessor.

In particular, the addition of Teresa as a POV character did much to flesh-out and diversify the cast, and I found both her and Telo's chapters to be the strongest and most affecting.

A few new characters are introduced, and I thoroughly enjoyed them as well, especially Jorga. Likewise, characters who played a secondary role in Grudging are fleshed out, as are the cultures of the Northerners and the Women of the Song. I still hope for some more detail about both, but I'm sure based on the trajectory of the narrative that the third book will provide. In particular, I find the development that There's a hint of classical mythology and its treatment of gods, heroes, and monsters to the emerging themes and conflicts in Faithful.

I don't talk much about Ramiro and Claire in my review, but I think fans of those two characters will also enjoy their arcs in this second book. I found myself relating to them more this time, as their story matured, but I think younger readers interested in a coming-of-age-narrative will also be pleased.

As this is a review for the second book in a series it naturally contains a lot of spoilers, so I will summarize by saying that if you liked the first book you will really like this second one, and that if you haven't read either, be encouraged by the fact that unlike many series, this one remains strong throughout its second installment.

I would recommend the series overall to upper YA readers in the epic fantasy genre, as well as anyone who is a fan of tightly paced fantasy or historical fiction.
Profile Image for H.W..
57 reviews6 followers
February 13, 2017
Grudging, the prequel, gives Hauck a lot of momentum, and she takes the story forward from the beginning. You meet the same characters while the author expands on their relationships (interpersonal and social) -- and they drive the book as much as the big-picture plot, which I like. The true conflict underlying the first book's contest get unearthed here, and it's enough to scare the most seasoned warrior. WE also see a nicely done romance grow, and like her approach to the fantastic, Hauck plays her hand with subtlety. No uncomfortable moments. Which is odd when you reflect on her handling of action, as noted in the Grudging review, which is exciting, crisp, but starkly brutal. There's a lot of blood. I mean, a LOT. That's an interesting dichotomy and I have to think there is a reason she structured the story that way.

So, yes, there are battles big and small and they are nasty, as they should be. Repercussions are serious, and drive character development. Excellent stuff, this is fantasy grown up.

This is a middle-of-the-trilogy book but it's got a solid climax and is a satisfying read. And yet, it sure makes you winder, what's next....

No work is perfect, and this is a review, but there is not much to say to the downside. Haucks writing is delightfully straightforward, her vision clear, the depth of the culture delivered without overwhelming the reader. there is a bit of navel-gazing going on, perhaps a tad heavy now and then, but none of it stopped me from reading a chapter father than I'd planned each night.
Profile Image for Melissa Menten.
303 reviews9 followers
May 28, 2017
The citizens of Colina Hermosa are dealing with the aftermath of the Northerners attack on their city. Ramiro feels bound to protect Claire, even if he must dishonor himself by disobeying orders. Claire feels the suspicion of the people that her magic saved even as she is terrified of using it again. Ramiro's parents negotiate the politics of trying to help the survivors while dealing with criticism, and Teresa grows impatient for news while caring for some of the refugees. Each of them plays a role in trying to prevent the Northerners from finishing their objective-using the survivors to appease their god, but Claire's magic has unwittingly brought a worse terror to their land by releasing Dal's power on everyone.

The first part (maybe even half) I had a hard time getting into the story, perhaps because it seemed like too much aftermath and not enough new action. Once each character decides on their course of action, the pace picks up. I actually found myself admiring the way real world religious beliefs underpin some of the beliefs while the new revelations about Dal and his followers were fascinating and seem fresh. While Claire seems weak in this installment, afraid of her powers and really kind of lost for much of the novel, eventually she grows strong enough to pressure both Ramiro and her grandmother to work together. (I can't wait to see what becomes of Claire's plot thread in book #3.) Stronger female characters are Teresa, who isn't sure what she can do but risks her life to accompany Fr. Telo and Beatriz, who comes across as more shallow at first, but turns her apparent weaknesses to strength. The climax of the story focuses on the next confrontation between the Northerners and the joined forces of several ciudades-estados with a creepy twist that leaves the ability of Ramiro's people (and the witches) to prevail in doubt.

Profile Image for Michelle Hauck.
Author 7 books245 followers
December 28, 2017
Thanks to everyone who picked up Faithful and took the time to honestly review and rate it on a website. Authors are forever indebted to your generosity. I hope it took you to another world and entertained.
Profile Image for M.L. Keller.
Author 1 book4 followers
June 17, 2018
Really enjoyed the first one, but this one had a slow start. The ending managed to pull me back in enough to continue with the series. I have high hopes for the finale.
Profile Image for MaykenAlanna.
106 reviews
March 8, 2018
FAITHFUL is a worthy sequel to GRUDGING, the first book in this trilogy. I strongly recommend reading the books in order, or the story - told through several different points of view - might not make sense.
The author masterfully weaves together the points of view of Claire, afraid of her own magic, Ramiro, the soldier from the desert city destroyed by the northern enemy, scholar Teresa, the friar Father Telo, and Ramiro's father Julian, the destroyed city's mayor, all of whom have directly how brutal and merciless their northern enemy is.
Settle down for the second part of this magnificent tale.
It is followed by STEADFAST, which brings the story to a close.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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