I was reading an electronic copy provided by the publisher.
The writing in the Penitent was much tighter than the first book. I complained about too much repetition in The Unwilling, and in this book C. David Belt managed to avoid it until the very end. While you should really read the first book first, there is enough recap in the second book that you could read it alone. He tells just enough so the new reader knows what's going on.
This book contains more of the Latter-day Saint beliefs and contains references to stories from The Book of Mormon. A key story is described in enough detail that all the readers will be acquainted with the highlights and understand its significance to the penitent vampires. And Belt also mentions some other stories that illustrate the same point, but does not give any details. I don't think it will be confusing for the reader.
I especially liked the authors comments at the end of the book. You should check it out.
I am reviewing a copy I received from the publisher. Good story, I liked the ending and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel. I would have liked to give it 3 1/2 stars because I'm a little ambivalent about it. I liked it, but I'm not crazy about it.
The police are unable to bring the murderer of Carl's sister to justice so Carl infiltrates the vampire cult himself seeking justice. He doesn't believe in vampires and believes it is all part of a Goth fantasy, until he finds himself changed. But a very important step has been skipped, Carl did not willingly become a vampire.
Horrified and unwilling to kill to survive, Carl flees the cult and is found by Moira, a repentant vampire who teaches Carl what he needs to survive. But there is an interesting twist, Carl is a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- a Mormon. Can God forgive him for becoming a vampire? Is his soul lost forever? And can Carl and Moira destroy the vampire cult?
It is a story of choices and redemption and my favorite character is actually a very minor character -- Ben. Ben is a slave boy who's been turned by his Master and is trapped in slavery as a vampire forever.
So again, some really great moments in the story, but there was too much repetition which keeps me from really liking the book. Moira and Carl discuss something, and then Carl meets with his Bishop and has to explain it again. In most stories we'd see, "And Carl laid the plan out for the Bishop." In this book, Carl repeats everything he and Moira discussed. While it was slightly annoying, it didn't make me want to quit reading.
Disclosure - I know the writer. That said, here's my review.
So far, this is my favorite of the books she's written. This was a real page turner.
Tamar and her mother, Joyce have a dysfunctional relationship. Tamar is out to destroy her mother emotionally, and Joyce is just a hurtful. But it's not entirely Joyce's fault, she's got her own emotional baggage from her relationship with her mother.
Now Tamar is pregnant, and the Sins of the Mothers will move on to the next generation except finally someone steps in to end it. Tamar and Joyce are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their Bishop wants the cruelty to stop.
The women have to decide which is more important, hurting each other or their membership in the Church and their relationship with Jesus Christ. And how do you stop the habit after 20 years?
I really enjoyed being able to see the motivation of both characters as the point of view switched. At first, Tamar seems like a horrible person I'd like to chuck out the window and Joyce is a long-suffering, patient parent. Next when I found out what Joyce is thinking, I can't blame Tamar for her behavior.
As the story goes on, the revelations show what made these women the way they are and show that we shouldn't jump to judgement. They are are both damaged. Up until the end, I hoped the women would just walk away from each other because I couldn't see a way they could forgive and have a loving relationship.
The conclusion would make for a great Book Club discussion.
Disclaimer: I was given a review copy by the publisher.
It had been awhile since I'd read The Penitent but there were enough references in The Prophecy to the main events in The Penitent to get me back in the story. The Prophecy picks up right where The Penitent left off so if you haven't read the previous book, you are going to be totally lost.
So now it's war. And war is ugly. And painful. And you lose people you care about. And it seems unfair. And hopeless. And because of the prophecy, Carl and Moira know that if they lose, they die and if they win, they die because all Lilith's children will die with her.
C. David Belt doesn't hold much back as he shows how evil Lilith is. I really like the part where Tony breaks the rules and is in contact with the enemy even though Carl tells his followers, “I cannot stress this enough, people: please watch what you say on cell phones, text messages, and emails. If you're posting on a blog or Facebook or some other website, please stop. Even little details can be assembled into a larger picture like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle."
But the rules don't apply to Tony, he's too smart. However, while we are free to chose our actions, we are not free to chose the consequences and sometimes it isn't us who ends up paying the price. And of course there are consequences to Tony's actions. It was hard reading about the consequences, but Belt managed to find the perfect balance of horror without going over the line with graphic details.
That said, there will be readers who will disagree with me and think Belt did cross the line and think it was too horrible for words. But that was the point, Lilith is capable of acts too horrible for words just like Satan. We all know people who think they are smarter than Satan and the rules don't apply to them; Belt is illustrating the consequences of this attitude in his story. Belt just takes the consequences to the worst extreme.
Belt adds two new groups of players in the war against Lilith -- the Marines and The People of Esther. Both play an integral part in the conclusion of the story. And while in one way the story ended the way I expected, I was surprised with how Belt handled The People of Esther and the future of life in this world without Lilith.
Overall, the three books were well written and it was a really good story with a satisfying ending.
(reviewed the day of purchase)