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Truth: Makilien Trilogy - Book 1 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 338 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Oh my goodness, I just can¡¦t even find the words to describe this book properly. At first it went at a little slower pace, and I was just reading it now and then, and enjoying it. Then it became so much more! The characters were unforgettable, the relationships so real and personal. I got goose-bumps on the part where the shepherd (Jesus) appears to Makilien and reveals who he is. Makilien¡¦s struggle with accepting Elohim (God) was is such a real thing; and when she did, it was so wonderful! :)ºWith humor, tenderness, anticipation, and surprises, Truth is a vivid and beautiful Christian allegory.
Truth is for teens, I believe, but I think my ten-year-old and twelve-year-old little sisters will love this book! A beautiful mysterious cover, a beautiful, mysterious story! :) :)
Thank you for writing this, Molly Evangeline, I loved it!
Truth is a very difficult book to judge and review, as the impressions I had whilst reading were all over the place. Overall, I'd say that it was quite a page-turner and very enjoyable. The characters, whether the eponymous main character, or her friends, were very believable and sympathetic.
But there were problems. First we shall summarize the plot, and then go into the pros and cons of the book.
The story begins in the fictional city of Reylaun, where a young woman named Makilien is extremely restless with her life. The city is essentially an economically poor police state. The citizens' ability to move, make commerce, and do, well, anything really is under the control of their king, Zirtan, who seems to be deliberately suppressing them as he prepares to expand his empire.
Fed up with the situation they live in, and the docility of her family and fellow citizens, Makilien makes an escape and eventually comes to a town outside of Zirtan's direct control. There, she meets a kind man named Halandor, and is swept up into the affairs of kingdoms to the south. Kingdoms that Zirtan wants to conquer, that is. Now Makilien must join her new friends in the fight of their lives to escape the oppression of her evil former ruler. But she is plagued with doubts about what happens if they lose or she dies. Can she trust this "Elohim" her new friends speak of with her fate?
The above is a rough sketch of the story. It seems a tad cliched, and drawn from many different well-known stories. It is, to be honest, but that isn't a bad thing. The reason that tropes and plots are re-used is because they work, and make for good stories. The same fact is at play here.
Despite the above, Evangeline does make an effort, a successful one, I believe, to paint a vivid picture of the world in which her stories take place. She differentiates the story from Narnia and Middle-Earth, which are the two fictional worlds she seems to borrow the most from. No one could look at this fictional location and mistake it for the above two places. It seems to be, in fact, somewhere in-between Narnia and Middle-Earth, which the sense of adventure and magic of Narnia and the gritty "real-life" feel of Middle-Earth.
That is not to say that the story is perfect. There were a few areas that could have been better. The first of which is that Makilien is a tad too perfect. She is the weakest of the main characters, it is true, but if you look at her skills in isolation, she kind of sounds like a "Mary Sue" character. She is extremely pretty, smart, quick-witted, kind, beloved by young men in both her hometown and the kingdoms she visits, can sketch and use a bow with ease, is a natural at learning swords and horses, saves the day, etc., etc. Now, to be fair, some of this makes sense. In an oppressive environment, the more skilled or resourceful will be the likely ones to figure out a way to escape or survive. I just wish the author had given Makilien a few more faults.
The second problem was how easy her faith was, and her expert perspective on it afterward. This book isn't the only book to do this, or even the worst, but it really drives me nuts. Yes, she struggles with believing in Elohim, but once she believes, it is easy for her to continue to believe. Elohim essentially gives her a spiritual pat on the head via a "feeling of peace". And what's more, she seems as knowledgeable about her faith as those who have held belief in Elohim far longer. I won't critique Evangeline for this element, as it is an issue I think most Christian writers have.
The next issue is that of the Christ figure, which was just plain confusing to me. I had him pegged early on, but that was just because I anticipated where the story was going. I'll leave his name out, but you'll recognize him quickly. I felt little reaction to his death, unlike with Gandalf or Aslan. It's like Evangeline inserted him so as to have us see a Christian parallel, but spent little time trying to make us actually care about him, or develop him as a character at all.
Finally, not really a critique, so much as advice for authors in general, but I'll put it here. Please do not have your military commanders on the outnumbered side of good just do an "epic" rush of the far larger enemy. It might be good drama, but those who know anything about military strategy will recognize how bad this idea is. What's more, the commander of the forces of good in this story had no plan once the enemy was too close for his men and women to safely shoot arrows at them. At least, no plan other than a suicidal rush. It just bothered me.
The above might make it sound like I'm trying to take the story apart, but I'm not. I'm just listing the parts that I thought were weak. Overall, this book was superb. As I said, the world was vividly portrayed. In fact, this alone is a plus for Evangeline as too many authors fail to differentiate their work from that of the other authors from whom they borrow.
For that matter, the species were beautifully described by the author, and that contributed to the enjoyment. I could feel the pleasure of meeting a new type of creature on the side of good, and the revulsion of seeing new fiends on the side of evil. Despite some clumsiness in the writing at times, Evangeline overall exhibited a talent for writing quite poetically. She has a sense of how to describe or write in such a way that it seems almost an art form.
Despite my allegation of Sueishness and bad writing on military tactics, there are some caveats in that Evangeline deserves praise on these fronts. First off, Makilien, all things considered, was a fun character to "tag along with", if you will. I felt suspense when she was in danger, and relief when she escaped or was rescued, depending on the situation. In the end, I was happy with her growth and new-found strength. She was an audience surrogate I really liked to "root for".
For the rest of the book outside of the overall strategy of the last battle, the political and military intrigues were fascinating, and quite realistic. It seems obvious that the author researched these issues, as well as researched weapons and sword fighting. It all carried an air of authenticity, including in Makilien's individual fights in the big battle at the end.
Despite the few criticisms that I made of the book, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this tale. I look forward to continuing with Makilien's adventures as she serves and fights for Elohim and her friends.
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