Monday, August 25, 2014
Book Review: Resistance
Recommended for: Ages 12 to Adult
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, torture and threats of torture, and dangerous situations dealing with persecution)
“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.
I have been a fan of Molly Evangeline/Jaye L. Knight's books since I first read The Pirate Daughter's Promise. I absolutely loved that book, and was pleased to see how her writing improved in later books. In fact, when I first started reading Resistance, I was blown away by how much better her writing is. I mean, Pirates & Faith and Makilien are awesome, loved, and highly recommended, but Ilyon Chronicles is above and beyond those two series put together. So excuse me if I rave a bit. Resistance is amazing. And, if you've been to my writing blog, especially earlier this year, you probably already know that I think that. You should get used to it. I'll probably be saying it again.
When I first received it, I was riveted to my kindle, even reading it in the car in the middle of door to door campaigning. Backing up, I probably made my sisters sick of hearing how excited I was to read it when I finally got the timetable on getting it. As a disclaimer, I did beta read the book, but I loved it tremendously then, and love it even more now that I've read the final version. I'm no more biased toward it than I am towards C. S. Lewis, or Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.
Pretty obviously, I think the writing in Resistance is fantastic. The character point of view is well done and adds a whole new dimension to the storytelling, the settings are well described, it made me feel the emotions...The writing really pulled me into the story and kept me there, making Ilyon and it's inhabitants a permanent part of my imagination. The book was also extremely well formatted, which pleased me much.
Even before I read Resistance, I got the impression from Jaye's Pinterest boards that the Ilyon worldbuilding was intricate and well developed. It really is. Ilyon is a magic-free fantasy world, but it takes more from Ancient Rome than from medieval times and has a somewhat dystopian feel to it. It is a harsh world, where people are in danger for believing in the one true God rather than in idols. And, I don't know, it just feels very real. You can tell Jaye put a lot of effort into developing the different races and cultures, and it definitely paid off.
The plot of Resistance isn't exactly what one would expect from a fantasy story. It's not a quest, nor is it a battle to free a land from an evil king. It really deals more with things one would expect from historical fiction and futuristic stories: Christians trying to survive in a pagan world, and what happens when they can no longer stay undercover. It really follows two stories which come together towards the end. It has many ups and downs and dangerous situations and a few moments to relax before things just get worse. Resistance has a lot of action. It is clean, but it can get pretty intense at times, which is why I probably wouldn't recommend it for anyone under twelve.
Character Development: 5/5
I'll take the main characters in turn. First, Kyrin. Kyrin Altair is the main girl. She has a perfect memory and a lot of insecurities. She really leans a lot on her twin brother Kaden, and it's hard for her to be without him. It was interesting to see how having a perfect memory might affect someone. I related to her best of all the characters. While my memory is really rather opposite of hers, in almost every other way, I'm like her. Her personality, her shyness around strangers, her timidity about sharing her faith, even her headaches! Seriously, when it described her headaches, I would think, "I know exactly how that feels!"
Kaden. Kaden really really made me wish I had a brother. He has always been there for Kyrin. He wants to protect her and take care of her, and she really needs him, just as he needs her. He's really close to his twin sister, and, to be honest, made me jealous of the close sibling relationship they have. I know, they're fictional characters, but there's a good reason why my favorite character I made up based on me has two triplet brothers.
Jace. The general consensus seems to be that Jace needs a hug, and I agree. Thankfully, he eventually gets a few. He grew up as a slave where people constantly told him that since he was half ryrik he was a soulless animal. It's terrible to see how much this hurts him. He's tortured with doubts, and has a really difficult time not condemning himself as a dangerous animal. He's not, not by a long shot. He's a really great guy, if only he would see it. I only wish I didn't have to wait until book 3 for Jace and Kyrin to fall in love. Yes, that will be book 3. No, I never miss a series Facebook post.
Other honorable mentions. Emperor Daican was a very well done villain. He really was made to be human rather than evil incarnate. That being said, he's still the villain of the story. His son Daniel was a particularly interesting character, and my sister's favorite. I was glad to interview him during the blog tour. Rayad was great as a mentor, Holden made an interesting minor antagonist, and I loved what we get to see of Kyrin and Kaden's family.
Wow, this is probably the longest book review I've ever written. Resistance deserves it, after all, the book is about 500 pages long. If you haven't picked up on it already, which I'm sure you have, I highly recommend Resistance, Ilyon Chronicles book 1. It's exciting to know there are still 5 more books in the series, all bound to be better than the last.