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Review: The Devil’s Game by Sean Chercover

4 Stars

The Devil’s Game is the follow up to The Trinity Game.  I would recommend reading the first book in this series first to get a better understanding of the overall story and to help identify the characters and their motives.  The Devil’s Game will also spoil any surprises that were in The Trinity Game.  You have been warned.

Daniel Byrne spent ten years as a Vatican investigator, debunking miracle claims until his last investigation shook the very foundation of his faith and beliefs.  He is now determined to find the truth and makes the decision to join a powerful group, one that has the ability to influence events worldwide.  They are chasing down another powerful group who have the same ability and are the antithesis of the group Daniel has joined.

Daniel infiltrates a secret government facility and finds a bizarre strain of the Plague that seems to have the ability to flood a patient’s mind with visions of the future and the ability to do things they had never done before, like speak a different language.  Things that were very similar to what happened with Tim Trinity and what he and others call the Trinity Phenomenon.  Daniel begins a search to trace the roots of the pathogen and teams up with a disgraced physician named Kara who is plagued by visions of her own.  The truth is far scarier than they could have imagined and the stakes of the game these two powerful entities are playing for have never been higher.

The story is very quick paced and it was hard to put the book down, wanting to see what was going to happen next.  I wasn’t as impressed with the relationship between Kara and Daniel.  To me, it seemed forced and unnecessary.  I think their interaction could have been done without the romantic angle.  I think it took away from both of them.  I think she could have been a stronger character without the romance.  And I really don’t like what happened to her in the end.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book and would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good thriller with just a little faith, belief, science and science fiction thrown in.  It’s just enough to make it believable and enough to make you think…what if?

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Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

4 1/2 Stars

This book landed on one of my recommendation lists, and I decided to give it a shot.  The plot sounded interesting and I’m a sucker for a good fantasy novel.  I can definitely say I wasn’t disappointed and this is one series I’m looking forward continuing.  Despite its title, The Final Empire is the first book in the Mistborn series.

For a thousand years the world has been ruled by the God-like Lord Ruler.  His dominance has kept the population separated by class.  The noblemen are the ruling class, high in their keeps.  The skaa make up pretty much everyone else.  They are the ones who work the barren land, the mines, the shops.  They are treated worse than animals.  Beaten at a whim.  Killed when they no longer serve a purpose.  They are conditioned from birth that they are lesser beings, they were made to serve.  Rebellions come and go, but no one has been able to throw off the chains and rise up against the Lord Ruler and his Ministry.  But somehow hope survives.

Hope is what brings our heroes together.  They are very unlikely heroes too, they are thieves.  Thieves with a secret.  They have as their leader the Survivor of Hathsin.  Kelsier was once imprisoned by the Lord Ruler deep in the mines of Hathsin, made to crawl daily to harvest the precious metal beneath the craggy ground.  But he escaped and found his former crew and presented them with a nearly impossible job.  Overthrow the Final Empire and dethrone the Lord Ruler and make themselves incredibly rich in the process.  What begins as a heist becomes so much more as they are tested at every turn, always on the bring of being discovered by the Steel Inquisitors where a grisly death will follow soon after.

The true hero of the story is a young thief named Vin.  She was abandoned by the only family she remembers, her brother.  He taught her to never trust anyone.  Everyone always betrays you.  For sixteen years she has lived those words.  Always keeping to the shadows, never trusting, never believing.  She had to rely on herself and this burgeoning power that she’s only beginning to understand.  She seems to have the power to make people do what she wants, but can only do it for a little bit at a time.  During a job for her crew, she comes to the attention of Kelsier and his crew because of her abilities.  She soon finds that she has more power than she ever believed possible.  She is a Mistborn.  A half-breed from the union of a skaa and nobleman.  She has the power of Allomancy, the power to use metals to do amazing feats.  And while there are others who are able to use metals themselves, most can only use one metal.  But Vin is able to use them all and her natural ability sets her above nearly everyone else.

Can this crew of thieves with a conscience really make a difference?  Can they change a thousand years of fear and oppression?  Can you put this book down once you get into it?

I really did enjoy this book.  It did take a bit for me to get into it because the author really just jumps into it and doesn’t start with backstory or being overly descriptive.  You just get thrown right into the story and are left to wonder what are skaa?  Why is the sun red?  Why are there mists that come at night that no one will wander out into?   But you are swept along as the story picks up pace nearly immediately and you are tossed and turned along the way.  There are twists that you don’t expect and outcomes that are surprising.  The characters are strong, interesting and amazing to get to know throughout the book.

If you are a fan of a good fantasy novel with a good plot and amazing characters, pick this one up, you will not be disappointed.

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