Beach Read Quick Shot: Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

The Blood Gospel
The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell William-Morrow, 2013

I’m pretty sure I pulled this off a list at the HWA website (it’s down at the moment so I can’t check right now) The Blood Gospel is a supernatural tinged thriller from NYT bestelling author James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (an up and coming author best known for her Hannah Vogel noir series). It should be warned that this book leans heavily on Biblical knowledge and some previous knowledge of Catholicism; particularly the belief in transubstantiation. The novel opens with a flashback to the siege of Masada (around 73 CE) delving straight into the novel’s more fantastic elements with a scene straight out of The Exorcist (though not nearly as terrifying). Fast forward several thousand years to present day when an earthquake in Masada reveals a strange tomb. The sudden appearance of the tomb brings together the novel’s three heroes the mysterious priest Father Rhun Korza, the smart archaeologist Dr. Erin Granger (she escaped from a radical Christian sect in her youth and holds tight to her skepticism about all things religious as a result), and the brave Sergeant Jordan Stone (who works in military forensics).

What unfolds of over the course of the novel is a historical mystery and globe-trotting adventure full of strange and horrific creatures. The Blood Gospel isn’t a heavy read by any means, this is a light, action packed thriller with a strong thread of the supernatural horror running throughout. I’d hesitate to call this a horror novel though as the novel’s primary focus isn’t fear but action. The Blood Gospel as about as much horror as The Underworld series of films is. By and large The Blood Gospel is a taught novel tuned to catapult you through the plot. The novel’s only major stumbling block involves a young man who survives the opening earthquake, though with some rather strange side effects. This plot thread isn’t wholly developed here and doesn’t really offer any major benefit to the novel. The Blood Gospel is the first in a series and I have no doubt we’ll get deeper into this part of the story but it just felt a little out of place here. While the characters aren’t wholly original and fall into specific archetypes (amusingly enough this is touched upon in the plot) the author’s still manage to infuse them with a sense of individuality that leads to at least the beginnings of emotional attachment. For fans of action and the supernatural The Blood Gospel is a must-read.

I’ve been pretty cagey about the supernatural elements of The Blood Gospel. The last bit below the jump might spoil that some so read on if you don’t really care.

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Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon | Bloomsbury USA, 2013
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury USA, 2013

The Bone Season is the first novel by author Samantha Shannon who, after receiving a six figure book deal for three books out of a potential seven, is being touted as the next J. K. Rowling. It should be noted that while the circumstances of her book deal is similar to Rowling the content of her fiction is not. Set in 2059 The Bone Season shows readers a dystopian future where many major European cities are under the control of a group called Scion who have risen to power thanks to their hard line control over the world’s clairvoyants (typically shortened to voyants). Scion ruthlessly captures and locks away any who exhibit one of the many varieties of clairvoyance. As in many instances when an iron grip is applied an organized and troublesome underworld has risen. This is where The Bone Season’s heroine Paige steps into the picture as one of the Seven Seals, one of the voyant underworld’s most (in)famous gangs. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare type of voyant, with the ability to enter and observe the dreamscapes of other people. Inevitably, or there might not be much of a story, Paige is captured by the Scion authorities. She is transported to the voyant prison in the ruins of Oxford where she finds the otherworldly race known as Rephaite’s have been manipulating things behind the scenes and collecting voyants to populate their army.

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