Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review | Resistance

Resistance
The Ilyon Chronicles #1
Jaye L. Knight

Publisher:  Living Sword Publishing
Genre:  Christian Fantasy, Clean New Adult, 
Released:  May 20th, 2014

{Goodreads}
“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
NOTE:  This is, as per usual, a rather thorough review.
Forgive the longness, but I feel I should share it.  If you are not up to reading the whole thing, it might suffice you to read at least The Basics section as well as the Conclusion.  :]

{The Basics}
Wow.  This book was AMAZING. And I do not exaggerate.  It is incomparable! I knew from the second chapter this would be a five-star review, and I'm not sure that has ever happened.  Usually, if a novel is to my liking I vary with giving four to five stars, depending on content.  But with this adventure, there was no doubt.  I heartedly recommend to all my fellows!! Especially if you love clean, Medieval fantasy.

Briefly regarding the characters: Jace is a slave--a gladiator--forced to fight due to the raging ryrik blood running through his veins.  He's been told his entire life that he is no more than an animal, a soul-less monster.  And he believes it.  Until an older man, by name of Rayad, stumbles upon him as he is beaten by his merciless master.  Rayad had seen his most recent fight in the arena; had seen him best his opponent, and instead of giving in to the will of the crowd, who shouted for the defeated man's death, watch as he merely knocked him unconscious and left.  Rayad, a follower of Elôm, the One true God, bought Jace's freedom and took him in as a son, despite being on the run from the emperor.  Jace still struggles with his faith, doubting the truths Rayad drills into him, but with war brewing between the emperor and the rebels, he learns to surrender in order to protect those he loves.

While this story picks up on the point of view of many different characters, including a few minors, it plays mainly with that of Rayad, Jace, and Kyrin.  Kyrin is a young lady of seventeen, raised in the capital city of Arcacia at the emperor's school for gifted children, along with her twin brother.  Kyrin is blessed (though she might call it cursed) with a vivid memory and the keen ability to read people's personalities and characteristics.  She is summoned by the emperor himself to act as an assistant of sorts, serving to discern the motives and thoughts of the ruler's subjects.  She, too, is a follower of Elôm, forced to keep her faith a secret or suffer the consequences.  In this case, death.

{Positives}
Kaden is very protective of his sister.  They are incredibly close, inseperable, and have a sweet relationship.  It is obvious, they would do anything for the other.  When attacked by Ryriks, Jace puts himself between the danger and Kyrin.

The two men and woman facing execution, stand strong in the face of death and firm in their belief, they nobly meet their end.  (Oh, to have such courage!)

{Negatives}
Bullying in the emperor's academy at Tarvin Hall is rather common, especially if one is overly different from others--Kyrin, for instance (Kaden stands up for her, every time).  

Due to his blood-line, Jace faces persecution for his race by men who claim to be followers of the One God.  Because of this, he severely struggles with the possibility that he has no soul and is a monster, giving in to the lies of men.

If a young woman (in the emperor's castle or at Tarvin Hall) found herself to be with child, she was to go immediately to a palace physician to have it "dealt with properly" and "at [her] own expense."

{Spiritual Content}
This is a beautifully written Christian fiction.  Therefore, faith wars between that in the One God, or the pagan moon gods, Aertus and Vilai.  

When given the opportunity to witness to a young man about her faith, Kyrin stalls, and later feels intense disappointment in herself for her cowardice.  That might have been the only time they man would have ever heard of Elôm.  

Many of the faithful stand up for their God and boldly renounce belief in the emperor's false gods.  Elôm gives physical strength to His people when they need it most, and true courage is found only in Him.

Kyrin feels a strong prodding, believed to be from Elôm, to connect with the outcast Jace.

{Violence}
Jace is beaten and whipped by his master.  Others are beaten when it is learned of their faith in Elôm.  Broken ribs, swollen jaws, cuts, and aching muscles result.  A farm is attacked and burned to the ground, it's owners killed and left exposed in the yard.  Rayad and Jace fight the soldiers left in waiting.  They kill all but one.  A noble is reported dead after a government meeting with the emperor, it is suspected he was murdered on the way to his home.

Ryriks, a savage race known for their quick rage and violence, are despised by the people of Arcacia.  When caught, they are publicly executed (by beheading) for their various crimes.  A group of six such ryriks attack Kyrin and Jace as they are hunting.  [SPOILER] Kyrin and Jace fight well, killing all but one, with Jace coming away with a minor wound. 

[SPOILER] Kyrin, herself, is nearly executed after voicing her faith.  Thousands gather to see her the day before, and, as she's leaving the platform with her guards, throw rotten vegetables and trash.  A rock hits her in the head, causing a small gash. So begins the fight for Elôm.  Later, two men and one woman are executed for this belief.

An evil knight threatens to send pieces of prisoners' bodies to lure out a person wanted by the emperor.  He goes so far as to begin cutting a finger (all the way to the bone), but is interrupted.  Later, he pierces a man's cheek, with another threat to blind him, simply to say he could do so. 

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
None.  Brief mention of certain drugs to end pregnancies.

{Love-y Content}
As an assistant at the palace, Kyrin wears a uniform gown (to her relief, rather modest) of sorts and cosmetics are layered to her face.  At one point, she is made to wear a more revealing, low-cut dress for a special gathering of the lords.  Needless to say, she gets more than one look her way.

After her arrest, Kyrin is imprisoned and forced to give up her dress.  She is left with naught but her shift, drawing soldier's acute attentions.  (Nothing happens, never fear!)

There is an obvious love interest between a knight's daughter and a baron's son.  Turns out, she is also pursued by a disgusting captain, as well.

Jace and Kyrin embrace twice--once for comfort in grief and the other in friendship.

The emperor's wicked daughter attempts to seduce Kaden.  He sees through her scheme and tells her it won't work on him.  Here, I wanted to shout a hoo-rah! and give him a fist bump. :] 

{Conclusion}
Oh, dear.  What more can I say, without making this any longer??  

This story was FANTASTIC.  MARVELOUS.  INTENSE.  GRIPPING.  A must read, for sure!  I can't wait to get my twitching hands on the sequel.  Don't miss out!  If you appreciate a good clean adventure, filled with daring fights, white-knuckled scenes, and the even more dangerous subject regarding the Christian faith, this is the book for you.

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Recommended ages:  16+
Due to violence.

My rating: 


If you made it this far, I salute you!  Muchly thanks.  :]

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6 comments:

Katie Grace said...

Whoah. This was an amazing review. You certainly gave the book the awesomeness that it deserved. :D
Oh! And have you heard about her novella prequel, Half-Blood coming out in the summer? It's about Jace's past since he was six, leading up to his gladiator years. I'm so excited for that and Samara's Peril!

Alea Harper said...

This is my favorite book ever!

Autumn Raelin said...

Yay for long reviews! I loved this review, Sarah, and this book looks really interesting. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Katie Grace: Thanks ^-^ Glad you think so! Yes, I have heard of her little novella. And I can't wait to read it and the following sequels!!

Alea: Definitely a KEEPER. :]

Autumn: So glad to hear that! Yes, please do, and then join the fandom!! ;D

Christine Smith said...

The more and more I read about this book the more I realize how much I NEED it.

LOVED your review. It was fantastic and gave me another taste of how wonderful this book really is. I must get it soon!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

YES. You of all people will absolutely LOVE this book! I just know it! And if for some reason you don't, than I'm a hippo. ;D xD