Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review - Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock (4/5 stars)

Miserere: An Autumn TaleReading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 350 pages
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: June 21, 2011
ISBN-13:  978-1597802895
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through Netgalley(dot)com.  It was an interesting book and a solid fantasy, but I was a bit confused about what age group this book is aimed at.  I had trouble relating to the characters, but enjoyed the fascinating world and magic.  I am not sure if there will be a sequel to this book; it stands alone well but there is room for future adventures too.

The Woerld is a plane of existence between Earth and Hell where the inhabitants fight back denizens of Hell to protect humanity on Earth.  In the Woerld Lucian has been suffering under the evil rule of his sister Catarina.  Years ago he abandoned his lover Rachael in hell to save Catarina and he has been paying for it since.  As Lucian flees Catarina's fortress he runs into a foundling named Lindsay who has fallen through a Hell Gate from our world.  Lucian goes against his vows (to never open a Hell Gate) to rescue Lindsay, but alerts the authorities when he does so.  Meanwhile Lucian's ex-lover Rachael has been struggling for her soul against the demon Wyrm who is fighting to possess her.  Rachael is tasked with finding Lucian to bring him back to the authorities.  What unravels is an evil plot that may force the Woerld to succumb to Hell; the ultimate question is can Rachael and Lucian stop Catarina?

This book weaves an interesting and complex story and builds a unique world.  I loved the idea of a plane between Earth and Hell where beings struggle to protect humanity.  The description in the book is well done and the characters are intriguing.  The plot is masterfully woven and moves along at a good pace.

The thing I had the most trouble with were the characters; I had trouble relating too or liking any of them.  It left me a bit confused about what age group this book is aimed at.  Lindsay is a pre-teen, yet there is too much torture, violence and sex for this to be a middle grade or YA book.  Rachael and Lucian appear to be older, in their forties or fifties maybe?  Their older age and frame of mind made it harder to relate with them as characters either.  

The other thing I didn't like about this book is the inconsistency of tone throughout.  Lucien fights with prayer, so when Lucien is in the story it has a heavy Christian flavor to it...there is lots of praying and talking about God as the savior and chooser of fates.  The portions with Catarina are opposite, there is lots of torture and deprivation.  So at times this book was a bit too Christian for me and at other times it was a bit too yucky.  I know that sounds strange, but it was strange and I just had trouble deciding where this book fit.

Overall this was a decent fantasy read.  The world is very well done and the characters are intriguing.  The plot moves at a good clip and is complex but not confusing.  I had trouble relating to the characters and had trouble deciding what age group as well as genre this book was really aimed at.  Although everything about this book was pretty well done; the vacillation between heavy Christianity and uber evil torture scenes made it something, that for me, wasn't really a joy to read.  Because of this I probably won't read any sequels to this book.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- E-book Reading Challenge don't link reviews
- Fantasy Reading Challenge

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

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