First of all, one of my greatest pet peeves will always be people who criticize other people for things they’re not doing.
So, like, if you’re all, “Mother Theresa isn’t all that. I mean, what’s she ever done for homeless pets?”
Sure, she’s didn’t help pets. BUT SHE DID A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN YOU SITTING ON YOUR BEHIND CRITIQUING HER.
Anyway, I realize I’ve never published a novel…or even written a novel. So I can’t really judge. Let me state that as a fact.
That being said, OK, what was going on with this book? A Voice in the Wind?
Reasons I read it:
- I read Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love book. I didn’t love it at first, but it ended well. I didn’t ever love it, actually, but I appreciated it in the end. Easy, light reading. And I saw her point and appreciated it.
- Recommended by both Lauren and Colleen. Both, mind you! And highly recommended.
Ladies, this post is for you.
***SPOILER ALERT. I talk about things in the book.***
Explain to me what I am missing. I don’t even know what’s going on anymore.
I’ll tell you what I appreciated:
- I could tell she did some research. Like, we heard about Roman traditions and gods with some early church history thrown in for good measure. Granted, I feel like most of the research could have been found in an “Eyewitness” book, but that could because I was homeschooled.
- I was happy that we saw Hadassah’s inner prayer life. I dug it. I was a little disappointed that it was all, “I’m not good enough!!11!!” when she’s all saving babies and what not…but, I could handle that.
This is what I can’t wrap my mind around: character development! And plot! It actually made me so mad! Let me break down characters:
Hadassah. OK, I get it. We’re supposed to like her. And, you know, I carry a sense of fondness in my heart. What I didn’t get, though, was her attraction to Marcus. I DON’T GET IT. And we hear about this rather frequently. The only thing we ever hear from the author is that he was attractive, attractive, attractive.
Whatever, girlfriend, I ain’t impressed. Is there something I’m missing?
Marcus. I actually really don’t like him. Things he does to Hadassah: nearly rapes her. I think several times. (“NO MEANS NO!”) He hits her a few times. He “shakes” her at least once. He forbids her from worship. I kept waiting for the Mr. Darcy moment where I’d be like, “Oooooooh! He’s not a jerk!” But, it never came. I feel like the closest we were supposed to come was, “…and then, he didn’t actually rape her.”
No dice, mate, no dice. Keeping your pants on does not a hero make. In fact, I now despise your character.
It makes me conflicted: am I supposed to think he’s all that??
Atretes. I think I liked him. It was enough to keep me reading until the end. I think I just wanted him and Hadassah to end up together in a, “we’re the two people with realistic personalities” moment. But, not really. Because he was kind of a womanizer, too, in his own way. But he still had a bit of nobility.
I also skipped his battle scenes towards the end when I realized that they served no purpose—they were just there to fill a violence quota or something.
Julia. What the crap. I guess we aren’t supposed to like this one, right? But she was so unlikeable there was nearly a formula for it. “Oh, Hadassah saved my life. Whatever, girl, Imma send her to the lions.” Be real for fifteen seconds. Make her relateable. I wanted to relate to these people…but this was just a little much.
Calabah. I feel like Francine Rivers wants to make us know: the bad characters are bad. Therefore she will illustrate with the worst things she can think of. “Hi, I’m Calabah! I’m going to encourage you to have an abortion! And marry a homosexual man! And poison your other husband! Abandon your infant on the rocks!” (Not even exaggerating right now).
I mean, the author doesn’t even give her the decency to let her smile, did you notice that? Sometimes her “mouth will curl.”
Ms. Rivers, even people who are “evil” can smile, OK?
This character was just supposed to be evil for evil’s sake?
I’ll give it to you. I don’t like it, though. I think it’s cheap and silly. Here’s a character with no developed reasons to be evil who just decides, on every turn, to encourage the most vile life decisions.
Phoebe and the father. His name starts with a “D”. Am I supposed to like them? I really don’t know. Only thing I could tell you in an off-the-cuff book report: he gets ill, she worships Roman gods. And I don’t really care.
Plot: Home-girl Hadassah starts off captured in Jerusalem. Is sold to a Roman family. Hands-y son takes a fancy. Spoiled sister bosses her around. Haddassah bounces between being abused by the sister and handled by the brother. Both brother and sister continue to make formula-bad life choices. Somewhere in there Hadassah meets the Apostle John.
And then she’s thrown to the lions.
I break myself of my New Years’ Resolution to finish this trilogy. Because if you can’t tell me a good story in one book, odds are pretty good you can’t tell me a good story in three.
I close with six words from Ernest Hemmingway. In six words, a better story than 500 pages.
It’s said that Hemmingway was asked if he could write a story using six words.
His alleged story:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
There’s some literature.
Now, go and read Ben Hur. And then talk to me.
Or just talk to me now and read Ben Hur later. Because I seriously don’t know what’s going on.