Resistance by Jaye L. Knight
Amazon Book Description:
“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.
Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.
Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.
This book caught my attention with its back cover. I love resistance stories and standing up for one’s belief in the true God. I was also intrigued to see a Christian fantasy offering for the New Adult audience (a new subgenre for twenty and thirty year olds).
Plot – Grade A-
The basic plot pulls in elements of both fantasy and biblical motifs. The half-blood outcast, a girl with a special ability, and the tension of true faith being forced increasingly underground by an ambitious emperor who serves false gods in order to have absolute “divine” power over his people. These elements are present and yet they are used in such a way it doesn’t feel tired or cliché.
The world of Ilyon evokes the medieval-esque feeling but the political and spiritual atmosphere reminds me of Rome in the days of the early church when the persecutions first began. Kyrin was an enjoyable character. We meet her after we meet Jace (the Half-Breed) but she quickly takes over the bulk of the narration. She is the believer in the heat of the fire (along with her twin brother) who must find a way to keep her beliefs secret while also struggling with what the emperor is using her to do to people. As for Jace, he is the half-breed, an almost unheard of mix of Human and Ryrik (one of the other races inhabiting Ilyon), and as such he deals with a lot of prejudice and personal angst/inner conflict over his mixed heritage since the Ryriks are deemed to be little better than rabid animals and believed to be soulless. He had a lot of potential depth but I don’t think his character was explored as deeply as it could have been. We don’t get as much time with Jace from HIS perspective as I would have expected for a character mentioned specifically in the summary in a way that makes him co-protagonist to Kyrin and several times I caught myself wondering when we would go back to Jace because I wanted HIS perspective of his struggles and of the changes around him.
Content – Grade A
This is a very clean fantasy. There is no language. The violence is portrayed more through characters’ reactions than through actual written out depictions of violence such as characters looking away when someone is executed. There are mentions of blood and several characters are beaten and tortured and there are wounds from battle, but nothing comes across as gratuitous or unnecessarily gory.
There is just a smattering of romance between two secondary characters (one quick kiss, that’s it). But, I do have hope that maybe Jace will find love in future books. There are references to women wearing shockingly low necklines and an immodest statue of a goddess so Kyrin scrubbed it clean instead of her brother. There are also references to Kyrin being leered at by guards in one particular scene and there are also references to human men being worried about the safety of the women (especially their daughters) when Jace is around solely due to his Ryrik heritage (they’re infamous for doing unspeakable violence against human women before killing them), but these things are handled well and it doesn’t become graphic or tastelessly detailed.
Technical – B
This book had some superb editing. I didn’t come across any typos or other spelling gaffs. However, there are about ten chapters in this book after chapter 5 where the pace really slows down to about a trudge. It wasn’t throw the book against the wall mind-numbingly boring but I kept having the same points (especially about Jace) hammered again and again. Every time Jace and Rayad (his father figure) meet someone new, it’s “Oh yes, he’s only half-Ryrik and he is different from the Ryriks, not monster” and “But, I still don’t trust him” because Jace is persecuted by fellow refugees for the circumstances of his birth. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we saw this from Jace’s POV but it’s usually Rayad who’s narrating and Jace is once again shouldered out of the way. I honestly think about one hundred of the 478 pages could have been cut and/or condensed to help revive the pace faster. As noted above, Kyrin takes over most of the narration but there are so many secondary characters who are also jumping in to narrate (especially when Jace is around) that it was a bit confusing at times. I also felt Jace was getting the short end of the stick since the lack of his POV save for very brief snippets in the middle and near the end of the book made it difficult to really get in his shoes. This is something I hope Knight remedies in the next book.
Final Grade – B+ or 4.5 stars
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The world-building and intriguing little glimpses at certain secondary characters left me wanting to know more, especially about the other races of Ilyon (we’ve encounter three of the five races so far). There are some pacing and narration gaffs, but I still want more of these characters as they gear up for spiritual warfare and other adventures in Book Two, which is coming in 2015. I would recommend this book to fans of clean fantasy with heavy world-building and ties to both history and the Bible. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
Resistance is available through Kindle and Paperback.
Next – A Light in the Dark by W. M. Beck Jr.
*A day late, but I’m pretending it’s Wednesday anyway, next review will be on time. 😉