3.45/5 stars Insanely Far-Fetched Suspense Story with Fantasy Elements
Major Jaime Richards, an army chaplain, gets caught up in a giant conspiracy with world-altering consequences on the eve of Saddam Hussein’s fall in Iraq.
Jaime’s likable but not realistic in any sense. She doesn’t think, speak, or act anything like I’d expect a chaplain to … except in maybe 2 scenes. There’s maybe three prayers in the whole book and they seem bland. We don’t know much about Jamie’s family. I think that’s by design. Does she have just a brother or a brother and a sister? Yani’s mysterious. I get that. There are reasons for the mystery man. There are very few sections by random army personnel. They’re good but too few to know the character.
– Aside: The main character might be a chaplain but it’s not a very Christian-y book. That might thrill people, but it makes her unrealistic. (The cynical part of me says that perhaps she’s “too realistic” in terms of what the church has become in America, very politically correct.) If you’re looking for something marked Christian Fiction, look elsewhere. If you’re just in it for general thriller with fantasy-ish elements, go for it.
Scattered is the best term I can come up with. It’s definitely fast-paced much of the time, but the pacing’s also slightly awkward. It’ll be full-speed action sequence (well-described) then *boom* history lesson. I have several misgivings about coincidences that happen. Without going into too many for fear of spoilers, let me just chat a moment about a few. The character who shows up in the beginning “stumbles out of the desert” right across Jaime’s Humvee convoy – after having been captured by some nameless bad guys and tortured for information. How did she escape? How did she know how to find Jamie? They also went to college together. Jaime’s even in the Middle East at the right time and place she needs to be to be caught in the conspiracy. She speaks the right language to be relevant to the bad guys. I understand that they’re setting up for a larger world, but the plot’s needlessly complicated. It’s like they read a book on conspiracy theories and had a shopping list to tick off for items. Must have 2-3 crazy dudes looking for ultimate weapon for world domination.
End Sequence (4/5)
Unrealistic, but cool.
– Very End Sequence (1/5) – Intriguing in the sense that it explains a lot, but it also strikes as a blatant, “well, if you want to know the real story, you’ll just have to buy book 2” bid. That leads to lack of closure and tends to tick me off. I have a thing about needing closure to enjoy a story.
– Narration (4.5/5) – Fitting. The narrator did a nice job, and I would listen to more books from her. She has a matter-of-fact style but it comes across as informative and earnest not annoying. Her voice quality is soothing.
Content and Language warning:
Besides a few war scenes (well-described), there is also one almost rape scene. There are at least 3 f-bombs in here. I officially tap out of a book at 4, so that’s saying something. Definitely not a kid-friendly book.
It’s an enjoyable listening experience if you can get past the highly unrealistic points.
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