Wow. Ugh. Blood, lust and more blood. This was not a book for me. The writing is really quite superb and I caught myself rereading sections with delight as I prepared for this review. The turn of phrase, descriptive language, active plot, interesting characters all work together to make this an excellent novel were it not for the sensuality, lust and blood that were deemed necessary (and probably are) to this type of novel. I just felt smothered by it – sickly fragrant syrup that I was drowning in.
There is much descriptive language and it is often a delight to roll particular phrases around the tongue and mull over in the mind. Some of these sentences are:
Enemies were about with sharp knives and blunt intentions. pg. 2
But now everything changed within me. The moon lost its place in the sky. There was another light edging into my horizon, and jealousy came like a storm to block it out. pg. 97
Trees rose higher here, clawing for the sky on either side, blocking out the moon’s glow. pg. 104
Four spires stabbed the moon…. pg 104
Many heroic and passionate knight scenes such as this one:
The only way to cope, I reasoned, was to remove myself from that horizon. And so I took another long ride around the entire property on my dark steed, quickly bringing him to a frothy sweat. pg. 97
His gloved hand was on his gold-busted sword. Leather armor wrapped his chest and thighs, same as mine. A goatee cupped his chin and joined his mustache but he’d shaved the rest of his face in the creek earlier, anticipating his ride into the estate, the arriving hero from abroad. Alec, the lover. Toma, the warrior. pg. 3
It is filled with sensuality that made me uncomfortable.
Caught staring, I turned. But everywhere I looked, I was surely staring. Though there was no overt sexuality on display here, the room was drenched in sensuality, in tracing fingers and weaving arms and smouldering looks that drew out the wildest imaginations, pg, 109
The dance resembled no movement I had ever seen – a twisting, twirling affair that might be better suited to dervishes than ladies and gentlemen. It was at once beautiful, even breathtaking, and terribly sensuous, in part because of the way the women were dressed in their tight-fitting leathers and boots. pg. 112
Bitten lips, blood drenched sheets, dark black eyes…. Too much for my comfort.
At about two thirds of the way through the book I was disappointed to see the plot revealing who these mysterious people really were. At this point, I kind of threw up my hands and shook my head – another book, Christian no less, in this expanding genre of popular fiction. It felt like a sell out to popular culture but having thought about it more why shouldn’t Christians have a voice here as well?
I also thought the plot reveal 2/3 of the way through was a way the author “dumbed” the book down spelling it out for those who hadn’t made the connections. I felt insulted at this.
Although having read one of the most popular in this unnamed genre, I have to say the writing in this Ted Dekkar book is considerably more mature, robust and eloquent. It was the language that kept me turning the pages when I felt like I was drowning in sensuality and blood. I really enjoyed the language, symbolism, and descriptive turns of phrase. If blood and sensuality do not bother you, then this book might be one to try. If you love good writing, then this is a great book to read.
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