The thing about having a review blog is that sometimes people actually do write in and ask or reviews! A. Keith Carreiro sent me (by snail mail! lol!) the first two books of his The Penitent Trilogy, which is the beginning of, he said, a planned 9 books called The Immortality Wars.
I was hoping to put up the reviews in March, but things came up. Anyway, I for Immortality, so it fits right in with today's A to Z Challenge! :)
The Penitent: Part I by A. Keith Carreiro
The Penitent: Part I traces Pall Warren's story in the aftermath of a devastating battle. He meets the mysterious John Savage, gets caught up in the pillage of the farm they're sheltering in, and faces the strange otherworldly creature, Unger.
Carreiro jumps back and forth in time through a series of flashbacks within each chapter, often Warren's memories or reflections on the past. At times, this feels a little clunky and disorienting--then again, I very much prefer streamlined stories that stay mostly in a singular time period. (I blame the speed-reading; I really should concentrate more.)
His writing style hearkens back to an older style, a little more stylistic and laborious, complete with random outbursts of poetry--possibly due to Carreiro's background as an adjunct professor of English. All that Shakespeare must come out somewhere, I guess. The Christian themes don't really come up that much in this one, other than some supernatural events and visions (it's much more obvious in the next book: the Penitent - Part II).
Even though it's only Part 1, and I expected it not to have a complete arc, I personally wanted more story in it--more moving forward action, instead of reflections on the past. As it is, I'm not going to give any star-rating for this review because I really don't know how to rate it.
the Penitent - Part II by A. Keith Carreiro
The Penitent: Part II follows Evangel Blessingvale/Greatworth and the revelation of the Risen One.
Evangel is saved as a child by Matthew Greatworth, the hermit she calls grandfather. Now seventeen, she is touched by a rare spiritual power when their home is attacked by the Dread Rovers and Matthew is tortured. Evangel is faced with opposition from the Priory when news of her miraculous meeting with The Risen One spreads, as the religion has long been outlawed in the country--on pain of death.
The Christian themes are presented much more clearly in this part, with the obvious Risen One as the Christ figure. Part 2 moves forward more fluidly too--there are fewer flashbacks as Carreiro focuses on the current events of miraculous salvation, changed lives and spreading of the good news.
There isn't much interlinkage between Part 1 and 2--you can almost read them as standalone stories--as the only mention of anything from Part 1 comes in the last two chapters when Evangel has a vision of Pall Warren.
There's a coming Part 3 which should round out this trilogy, but I'm not quite sure what's the status of that.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of both books from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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