by Jaye L. Knight
From the back cover
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.
I was at first mildly interested in this book because of its attractive cover and the fact that it is Christian fantasy. I expected mediocrity, and received instead high-quality writing with a thick strand of genuine faith woven throughout--no forced scripture quoting or unrealistically cheesy conversion scenes. It captured the beauty of Christianity: mustard seed faith, friendships founded on love, and the quiet surprise of hope.
Jaye L. Knight has a talent for character development. I loved the mystery of Jace and the startling familiarity of his veiled yet strong emotions, as well as the contrasting Kyrin, who, while a strong character, strayed slightly from the usual spunky heroine. I don't always like reading stories of persecution, but the characters were so beautifully painted and the tale so perfectly woven that I couldn't get enough of it.
Of course, I have one complaint, one flaw to the otherwise perfect novel that nearly knocked my rating down to a four. The ending was wrapped up neatly with a shiny bow and warm fuzzy feelings, which, I thought, was a huge contrast to the rest of the book. It was comparable to a simple "and they lived happily ever after," and left me feeling entirely unsatisfied. The good news? Book two is in the editing stages.
*I received this book in a giveaway from blogger Amber Stokes at Seasons of Humility.