Author: Paul Hoffman
Release Date: 6/15/2010
MSRP: $26.95 (Hardback), $14.99 (Paperback, $9.99 (Digital)
Recommended Audience: Adult
The Good: Rich and deep characters and world, takes the dark parts of religion and uses it to pique your dark side, skirts typical fantasy clichés, very well paced and balanced
The Bad: End abruptly, may offend hardcore religious fanatics
I love novels that bend religion, especially ones that take the evil in religion and make that the religion. Paul Hoffman is a no holds barred author here with teenage boy Thomas Cale’s murderous attitude and demeanor. You follow him and two of his friends on a forced adventure to escape from The Sanctuary. A religious sanctum of boys only where they are continued to follow the Hanged Man Redeemer and suffer torture and cruel punishment among the Redeemers at this holy (or unholy depending on how you look at it) remote location.
After the first quarter of the book, you follow the boys throughout Memphis and their involvement into royalty. Everyone finds out how good of a killer Cale is and everyone wants him by their side as their personal assassin. In the meantime, the Redeemers are continuing an ageless war against the Antagonists, but their motives move elsewhere. I can’t say much more than this without spoiling the book, but Hoffman’s style of writing is a breath of fresh air. He side steps typical clichés and even brings them up from time to time and explains why he avoids them. The pacing is excellent in this novel and I promise you will constantly be turning pages and having time pass behind you.
The novel is very dark and gory and features a lot of Medieval torture and time period events. Weapons, armor, ways of living, it is all in here from that time period and Paul really draws you in and makes you a part of it. Conversations among the characters are great and engaging, plus he doesn’t drag things on with a lot of descriptive narratives or lose focus which I really hate. This book feels like a smooth train ride with a sudden stop because of the cliffhanger ending which will make you want to run out and buy the second book.
I can’t say it enough, but the book just has such amazing characters and a great narrative that is paced very well. Events unfold from minor to epic and are spread evenly throughout. Plot twists abound, I felt like I was reading a great movie and was absorbed in such a way as well. If you love religion or the dark parts of religion this book is for you. Some naysayers or hardcore religious fanatics may turn their nose up at it, but they are missing out on a truly epic novel that I can’t wait to see where it turns next.