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on July 16, 2012 :
Once I started reading Armor of God: The Paladin, I couldn't put it down! Loved the setting and the characters. The author made it very easy to slip into the world he created for his readers.
I was also impressed by the way he handled scenes where the characters were talking about Jesus, salvation, etc. That sort of thing often comes across as forced and out of character in many of the Christian novels I've read, so I applaud the author for managing to keep his characters who they are while they talked about Jesus! :)
I'm looking forward to the next installment.
PS - To the reviewer who posed the question "Why should I continue reading if Paladin is very hard to kill?" I'll answer that question with a question: Why would we keep reading Lord of the Rings if Sauron is very hard to kill?
(reviewed long after purchase)
Susanna C. Mahoney
on July 05, 2012 :
This story is about the earlier times of Christian crusades against the enemies that were overtaking the land of Jerusalem and surrounding territories. It is set with a gallant character that was a monk serving the Almighty but his soul was restless and he prays to become a warrior in the fight against evil. He choose a path which left him no choice but to abandoned his ole life and all that meant something to him; his family. Tragedy destroys his family and his mission turns into a vow of revenge but the Almighty has other plans for his destiny.
He fights the earthly realm villains but all the greed and bloodshed of the marauders turn his heart to seek other purposes for his journey. Thus the real battle begins against the true evil angel himself; Satan and his henchman and minions of the night. He is reward with God's Armor to protect him against the darkness and he charges ahead to win the battle and to seek revenge. Along the road he meets various challenges and people who opens his eyes and heart to truth. It was interesting reading and gave the reader a glimpse into the rise of the Christian theology and its history. The cover is of excellent quality too.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 18, 2012 :
Armor of God took me to a fantastic world of faith and fantasy with a touch of mystery. From the beginning I was kept guessing and just when I thought I had it figured out, Tracy gave me a new twist (such as the magically appearing sword- what a creative device).
There were delicious lines for those who love good writing, and there was an interior struggle for those who love a good story. But there is something else in this story that is hard to put a finger on and I think it is the something that made him Writer of the Year with this book. I think it is in how Tracy's writing of the story takes us on a journey of discovery (he doesn't spell everything out to the reader from the get-go, we have to figure it out) even as Jean Baptiste is on his journey of discovery. For some this book will be unsettling because self-discovery is quite unsettling, but for those who are, the journey is worth every penny and every turn of the page!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 16, 2012 :
Armor of God: The Paladin is the work of Tracy Lesch. According to Amazon’s bio, “Tracy Lesch is an award-winning writer of Fantasy, Suspense, and other Speculative Fiction. He is a former Dungeons & Dragons illustrator, radio, and television personality. His work has appeared in books, magazines, and online venues.” That’s why it surprised me that I didn’t like the novel.
Excerpts of Armor of God: The Paladin won him Writer of the Year from the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference and his Christian Writer’s Guild mentor is Eva Everson—author of Chasing Sunsets (Baker/Revell 2011), This Fine Life (Baker/Revell 2010), and others. Tracy is a member of Word Weavers and the Christian Writer’s Guild. I can understand why excerpts of Armor of God: The Paladin won awards. Depending upon which excerpts, by itself some sections are quite well written:
“I cannot win with my own human hatred or bloodlust, but only with His righteous anger. No human could possibly stand against the unholy evils I have seen.” (Location 208-209)
“The silver was exquisite, beautiful as I softly polished the blade. When I looked closely I could see tiny rainbows in the mirrored surface.” (Location 178-179)
The novel is about a monk named Captain Jean Baptiste who is fulfilling a role as “God’s own Paladin.” He seeks demons and kills them. Part of the description states, “the hardest demons to vanquish maybe those that lurk within the human heart. What lies ahead for the one mortal on earth who can summon the very Armor of God?” There were so many problems with the novel.
Each chapter does not designate a place or date (i.e. Germany, 1505). In chapter one the line where Jean, the Paladin says, “As long as I pursued the Quest, I was very hard to kill,” made me take a pause. Also, as the talons of the monster attacking Paladin begin to tear him a part, a sword “magically” appears in his hand saving the day. Both of these items lesson the high stakes.
Why should I continue reading if Paladin is very hard to kill? Chapter two had no designation of time or place and when I read the name, “Germany,” I felt confused. Obviously, this was the past on earth, but when and where? Shouldn’t there be historical references as the story takes place on earth in the past? Chapter one also confused me because I could not tell if this was a man or a woman. If one didn’t read the description of the novel, one would be wondering about this until more information is discovered later in the novel. Voice is another issue.
Right away I don’t like Paladin. He’s arrogant, conceited, and self-absorbed. I couldn’t imagine why any farmer or lay person in that world would invite him into their house. He’s overly dramatic. The novel is written in first person and so it gets you into the head of Paladin. There are also classic writing mistakes—things most of us would get critiqued for in our own Word Weavers group.
Chapter two continues to leave the reader in a dark fog. This short chapter is all conversation with no beats, tags, or description. At this point, I have no idea who is talking to whom. Then, Tracy manages to commit massive info-dumping for several chapters as Paladin sits down with Gustav and Anna and recounts his life story to them. From chapter ten to chapter fourteen Paladin’s dialogue is mostly unbroken. The reader is forced to read his entire history in dialogue. Typically, novels I read do not force the reader to sit through what I would call a “lecture.” It loses its tension here and my interest. Then, there’s the preachy dialogue.
“No, that is not what I mean. Do you commune daily with the Lord, is He part of every moment of your daily life? Do you pray?” It didn’t sound natural. While I was reviewing this novel, I was also in the midst of reviewing, “Scream,” by Mike Dellosso. He had a great example of showing why a character should believe in God instead of telling by mixing in relational issues associated with being a believer in a family of non-believers and showing the fear of the demons (hence, the screaming) in each character. I think there was way too much telling in Tracy’s novel.
The novel didn’t stir my emotions, excite me so that I looked forward to returning to its pages, or make me feel sympathy to Paladin as I neared the end of the novel and learned more about his family. I think the plot and story have potential, but in its present form I wouldn’t read it again. When I finally discovered some good emotional paragraphs I became excited because some humanity finally comes through in Paladin’s character.
Overall, I rated this two stars. To judge the novel yourself, you can buy it on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.
*Book given by author to review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)