Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Counted Worthy

Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good

Rating: PG (for some violence and dangerous situations)

Recommended for: Ages 10 to Adult

Heather Stone lives in fear of repeating the past, yet she continues doing the one thing that could trigger another disaster. When the police trace an illegal Bible to her house, Heather’s world begins to crumble.

Her father’s life hangs in the balance. No one with the power to help knows or cares. If she tries to save him, she could lead her friends to their deaths. If she does nothing, her father’s fate is certain. Can she evade a hostile police force and win public sympathy before it’s too late?

I started following Leah's blog after meeting her on Goodreads, and when I first heard about Counted Worthy, I was interested. After reading the first chapter online, I was even more interested. So I was glad when I got it for Christmas. It is fiction with a purpose, and I really enjoyed it.

Writing: 5/5

Counted Worthy is certainly well written. Written in first person, it is told from Heather's point of view. Leah has a good grasp on character voice, and knows how to keep a story moving along at a good pace. I felt like I was with the characters. Honestly, it was better written than some traditionally published books.

I only noticed three typos in the book, two where a word was pluralized with an apostrophe (sorry, pet peeve), but in all other instances they were correct. I don't remember what the other one was. The text did not always end evenly on opposite pages, but other than that, it was very well formatted. And the cover is excellent and very professional, besides looking very cool.

Setting: 4/5

This book is set in the future, when it is illegal to be a Christian and to be found with a Bible is a crime punishable by death. Many other books, Christian books, for example (it mentions that C. S. Lewis has quite a few books on the banned list), are also banned. Still, there is a strong underground church, and Christianity is spreading. Bibles are spreading, as dangerous as it is. The world Heather lives in is pretty well developed, but I wasn't quite clear on how controlled things were and how ordinary people lived. I believe it was a fascist society, but the worldbuilding was pretty localized to Heather's immediate surroundings.

Plot: 4/5

Counted Worthy is about Heather's quest to free her father after a Bible is tracked to their house. No one cares except their immediate friends, and they have no power to do anything. Besides that, Heather is afraid of repeating the past. Still, she is determined to do something for her father. But things keep getting bigger and more dangerous. It took me awhile to understand just what Heather's plan was, but I read it when I was recovering from being sick, so it's probably just me. There was also less action than I was expecting, but there still was some, and it was certainly exciting. The ending wasn't exactly what I was expecting, and it almost made me cry. There actually were tears in my eyes. Considering I have only cried over one book in my life, that's pretty big. Leah is writing a sequel, so I'm looking forward to further plot developments.

Character Development: 5/5

At first, I was a little uncertain about Heather because of her Goth disguise, but as I got to know the real Heather, all my uncertainty melted away. She is a strong Christian, but she is not without faults. She is determined to save her father, but she is scared to do it. I could identify with her, and I came to like her quite a bit. I also really liked Bryce. He is a gentleman, a really good friend to Heather (they have a brother/sister relationship, though some people think one day it will develop into something more, which I wouldn't complain about), very protective of her, and determined to do what's right. On top of that, his father is the governor and one of the primary antagonists. Makes me like Bryce even more. I just love characters like that. Miss Lucy was the perfect mentor character. I don't really feel like I know Carmen or Ansley that well, but I definitely know Heather and Bryce.

Counted Worthy is a worthy read about Christian persecution, and standing up for what's right even if it could cost you your life. I highly recommend it.

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