Tuesday, October 8, 2013

King (Books of the Infinite, #3)

Title: King
Author: R.J. Larson
Labels: Fiction | Fantasy
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Recommended To: Middle & Highschool, Adult
Contains: Clean.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Akabe of Siphra is certain his people are insane. Why have they made him a king? What, in the name of peacetime boredom do kings do?
          Frustrated by a lengthy silence from his Creator, the Infinite, Akabe decides to prove himself as king by undertaking a monumental task, his own lifelong dream: Rebuild the Infinite’s temple in Siphra. But Akabe’s impulsive decision sweeps him into a storm of controversy. The Infinite’s enemies join forces in Siphra, and beyond, conspiring to destroy the emerging temple—and to kill their king and his mysterious new queen.
Initially, I didn't really think I was going to like this book, but I'll be honest, I ended up really enjoying it. I initially didn't have high hopes for this book because it looked like it was aimed more toward juvenile fiction (based off the cover and blurb), which is not my age level and therefore usually doesn't really keep my attention, unless it's a classic or just a flat out awesome juvenile fiction.

However, I loved this book. Each character was unique and real; the setting was detailed and vivid; the plot was intriguing and kept me guessing without losing me in the process. One of the things that really stood out to me was the seemingly implied parallel between the god figure in King, referred to as the Infinite. I don't know if this was actually intended or not, but it seemed to me that the Infinite was a representation of God. As far as I could tell, the root theology behind this lined up, although of course the female prophet (one of the main characters) had certain powers that are not necessarily present today, though they could be compared to gifts and temporary abilities God used through His own prophets to fulfill His purpose. I don't really know how to explain it any better than that, but I thought it was cool to see the similarities.

Overall, I thought it was a great book and definitely one I would recommend to those adults as well as middle and highschoolers. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Redeeming Love

Title: Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Labels: Fiction | General | Romance
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Publication Date: May 9, 2005
Recommended To: Adults
Contains: Mature topics

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: California's gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.
          Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father's heart in everything, Michael obeys God's call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel's every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband's pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does...the One who will never let her go.
This book was really deep and emotional, but I loved it. Redeeming Love is a retelling of the Biblical account of Hosea and Gomer. For those of you who may not be familiar with this account, Hosea was a Biblical prophet who, by the instruction of God, marries a prostitute. God's purpose in this marriage was to show a picture of the relationship between Himself and Israel.

Coming into this book, I was already well aware of the Biblical account of this particular couple, so I was very interested in seeing where Rivers would go with it. She ended up going above and beyond my expectations. I wasn't expecting the way in which these two unlikely characters ended up together, but it fit the story well. While some details differed from the Biblical account, the changed details worked well for the story and the overall plot followed the main point.

I thought this book was fantastic. It showed the struggles on both sides, and dug deep into the emotional spectrum of it. I was glad it showed those struggles without crossing any lines between appropriate and inappropriate. I would highly recommend this book to adults--adults because it does touch on mature topics. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

NOTE: I read the revised Christian version, which has had all explicit scenes/language taken out of it. I have heard that the original copy is rather explicit. Depending on how you feel about such things, you may want to take that into consideration.