Sunday, 17 November 2013

Book Review: Return of the Light by AJ Church

Raphael is a rogue. Has been his entire life—breaking the wrong rules, crossing the wrong men, romancing the wrong women. It’s a habit that has gotten him into trouble more times than he can count, but when his poor judgement lands his neck in an executioner’s noose, he’s given the opportunity to cheat death by joining the ‘Ru, an ancient, immortal race sworn to protect mankind from the demons of the Underworld.

Embracing his new role, Raphael becomes one of the most feared Enforcers in his Clan. Lethal with a blade and deadly in a fight, he can best any demon that crosses his path. About the only thing he can’t defeat is his knack for making bad decisions. This time, however, there’s more than just his own neck on the line. Signs are pointing to a war with the demons, and the key to not only its outcome, but the fate of the entire ‘Ru race, could rest on a single choice. The question is, can Raphael finally make the right one?

My review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I had to give this book a one star review because I did not complete it. I struggled with the way the book was written, I was confused by the language, somewhat frustrated by the switching POV, and finally I had enough when a plot theme infuriated me. Allow me to explain what I mean.

OK first of all, the way the book was set out was not really to my taste. The POV was switching from past to present and between three different people at least, so it would take me a bit to work out where we had last left that character when it was their turn again. The language used in the book was very confusing at times. There were so many titles used for the characters which I could not remember a few pages on ie redum, nabu, baraggal, kish, hunter, ru, sebitti, uttuki, gallu, sanga, rabishu. I also found this book to be far too descriptive for my taste, to the point of becoming boring. I'm not a fan of every single thing/place/person being fully described all the time, which is something that I feel the author does with all her books. This in depth world-building will work for some readers but I really struggle with it. These are issues that can be put aside if you can enjoy the plot and care about the characters.

The plot itself was very dark and gritty, the characters were also dark and brooding, and the setting felt like historical gothic meets dystopian future, than being set in reasonably modern times which is what I expected. That is not really the kind of book I like to read and once I realised this, I knew I was going to have some struggles with it. This of course is not the author's fault and I would not mark the book down so low purely on the fact that it wasn't my thing. I had fully intended to read to the end, thinking that more action in the second part of the book would raise my star rating and that I might get more into the book. Then that scene came and I threw the book down in annoyance and did not pick it up again.

I despise books that have rapists as the romantic hero and that is what happened in this book. Our heroine wakes up during the night to find that she is being raped by a man in the party she is travelling with, and halfway through the rape she starts to enjoy it. I'm sorry, but NO. I draw the line at any book where rape victims enjoy the rape and fall in love with their rapist. When the rapist remembers her as 'the girl he had seduced in that cave', and thinks that taking her virginity was a good thing as he saved her from the preisthood, I refused to read any further than that as my blood was boiling. Rape victims I know do not have fuzzy feelings for their attackers and I will not read books where the rapist is the big hero in the story. So that was the end of this book adventure for me.

This did not stop me reading other books by this author which I marked at 3 stars, so my review is not meant to be an attack on her personally or on her plot choices. I get that this is fiction and I'm not going to like everything I read! My reaction to the plot was based on my own feelings about the subject.
star rating photo: One Star Rating 1star.png

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