My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Actual rating of 3.5 stars.
I had no idea really what this story would be about going into it. The only thing I knew was that it follows a man who has no idea who he is, where he’s come from or what he’s been through. He wakes up on a dust covered ground with nothing but dust and emptiness surrounding him. Has has no idea how he got to where he is, he doesn’t even know his own name. He is soon happened upon by a group of men who are all glowing, he is asked if he received the mark by force or if he willingly accepted it, he has no idea what they’re talking about and they soon deduct that he was forced. He ends up travelling with them to a bunker where he meets other people and finds out exactly what is going on. I won’t go into that here because I don’t want to give away too much. So if you don’t want to know what is actually happening in this book, I’d suggest turning back now because I’ll be talking about a few different things that came up in the story that have to do with the slow reveal of the story itself.
Okay, you’ve been warned. Possible spoilers ahead….
So I found this to be an incredibly interesting story. I had no idea going into it what it was about at all, which I’ve said above. This story is heavily rooted in religion, Jesus and God are mentioned quite a lot throughout this story. So if religion isn’t really your thing, this story MAY not be for you, but don’t let it discourage you too much. I’m not religious per-se but I still found the idea of this story quite interesting. So, our nameless, memory wiped man has no idea what’s happening or what has happened. I love that this wasn’t revealed straight away, it took about 30% of the book before we actually found out the protagonist’s name which I thought was clever. It’s also around this time that we find out what’s really happening. There is a war happening, that has been happening for some time. God has scorched a third of the Earth as there are demons running rampant, they are kidnapping and holding unassigned humans hostage and forcing them over to the way of the beast – so to speak. We find out that the group of men who happen upon our lonely hero, work for God more or less, they go through rigorous training exercises which leads the higher ups to decide what kind of Angel will be assigned to them. Those with angels assigned to them generally fight with squads trying to save as many unassigned people as they can and to try and drive back the dark forces. I found this to be incredibly clever, I love the author’s take on this and the was he’s incorporate his religion into this story.
Now, I’m not a religious person, so I did find the God and Jesus stuff a little much at times, but overall it didn’t take away from the story too much. From what I can gather it’s almost a mirror of what is happening today all around the world, we have a war of good VS evil, which happens everyday, and we have those soldiers and warriors who fight for what they believe in, everyday. That’s exactly what was happening in this book. The author is a veteran so I felt that that added SO much to this story. He’s been there, he’s been out there fighting for the good of the people, he’s been in horrible situations and he’s no doubt questioned is faith and his God at times, yet he still believes, he still has his faith. This is illustrated in the story as well, our main character questions his faith many times, he questions how all of these awful things could be happening and God not do anything about it which is a MASSIVE question that a lot of non-religious people ask. So I love that the author put this in there. I love that the characters were written with flaws, with doubt, it really added a level of realism to this story which was fantastic.
The authors combat knowledge also added something to this story as the rotating shifts above ground were written by someone who has done this before, the combat techniques, the sweeping techniques used by the squads, all of it came across as real because it no doubt is. I’ve read a few books where things happen and I’m like “really?” but this book I had no trouble at all believing what was happening because of the way the author describes it – he has been there and done it. That’s what I got from these descriptions.
The writing style was very clinical I felt, it felt a tiny bit stilted because of how clinical it was. But then on the other hand this also kind of added to the feeling of being an unknown being just trying to work out what had happened to them. The protagonist didn’t know anything about himself, so how could personality be injected into the narration when the person narrating feels like a shell? So I guess in a way the writing did work for this story. As we learn more about our protagonist he began to exhibit more personality, this was sometimes shown in the writing but not too much, I feel like if the author started injecting more personality into the writing as the protagonist started to remember who he was, it really would’ve just added that bit of oomph to it.
The pacing was a teeny bit slow for me, but at the same time I kind of understand that the author had to try and set the world up as well as the war and what was happening above-ground without giving away too much about the protagonist at the same time. I liked that things were done slowly because having info-dump at the start of a book can sometimes be too much.
All in all, it was an interesting concept, well executed, the length worked perfectly for this instalment. This story ends on a MASSIVE cliff-hanger so I’m kinda waiting for part 2 because I need to know what happens.