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Monday, November 25, 2013

Indie Review - The Belgrave Daughter

This week for my Indie Review, I have the privilege in participating in a "Blog Tour" for a new young author's debut novel.  Zara Hoffman's book, The Belgrave Daughter is releasing today and Ms. Hoffman has asked a number of blogs to participate and review her book throughout the week.  The entire list of blogs discussing her book are here.  There is even a raffle for free copies of the book, here.

Zara is a 16 year old author I recently met on Twitter.  She gave me a copy of the eBook for an honest review as a part of her blog tour.  You can find the novel on Amazon.

The Septemgeminus Prophecy states: "A powerful sorceress with blood laced in gold sevenfold shall determine the fate of the world."

Fawn Belgrave's magical powers are the coveted prize in a bet between God and the Devil.

When she meets Caleb, the dark angel assigned to seduce her, Fawn's life is turned upside down.

In order to do a fair review, I must first be honest and say I am not the target audience for this book.  The book is a young adult fantasy romance with witches, angels, and demons about a college age woman.  As a mid-thirties father of three and fan of high fantasy and science fiction, this book is not one I would normally pick up and read.

As I've said in the past, my reviews are here to encourage independent authors and to connect them with potential readers.  Ms. Hoffman's debut work is worthy of such a review.

I was most impressed with the emotion expressed throughout the novel.  Fawn Belgrave experiences a series of ups and downs throughout the book, and the author does a wonderful job of conveying believable emotion throughout the novel.  She wrestles with love and lust, trust and betrayal, loneliness, etc. and I could empathize with her feelings and reactions throughout.

Ms. Hoffman often jumps between the thoughts of several different characters throughout the story, and the effect can be jarring at times.  Several times, we read the inner thoughts and feelings of Fawn and then Caleb in the matter of a couple of paragraphs.  It can be difficult to follow along, and I would suggest Ms. Hoffman try and maintain a single point of view for each scene in order to help clarify the flow of the story for the reader.

I found Ms. Hoffman's descriptions of magic, heaven, hell, and supernatural beings fascinating.  She has created a universe full of intricate rules and details, and I felt she stayed consistent throughout.  But, as a new reader to this world (and this genre in general), I found myself wanting more explanation.  I would have appreciated a little more time spent building up the world early in the story.

When I started reading The Belgrave Daughter, I was worried I would not be able to finish the book.  It is a genre of story that I do not seek out, and it deals with characters and situations that at first do not resonate with a reader like me.  That said, as I continued reading, I needed to see where the story would go.  I found myself fascinated by the characters, and quickly read through the book's 156 pages.

I commend Ms. Hoffman for finishing an endeavor of this nature at such a young age.  I am impressed that she is willing to tackle very difficult subjects, like spirituality, betrayal, forgiveness, love, and even depression.  I believe Ms. Hoffman should continue writing, as I am certain she will only improve her craft as she continues. 

The Belgrave Daughter is a romantic young adult modern day fantasy.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys these types of stories and is looking for a quick read from a growing young author.

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