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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Book Review: The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
Authors: James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
Series: The Order of the Sanguines, book 1
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: From publisher for review
Buy it here: Amazon | Book Depository
For more information visit James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell's websites
Reviewed by: Beth
Erin is an archaeologist working on a dig in Israel when an earthquake opens a tomb in Masada. The government sends her to Masada with no explanation. There she is meets Sergeant Jordan and Priest Rhun. The priest is there for a holy artifact, and the three of them together make up a prophesy surrounding the holy artifact. When they are attacked it launches them into a supernatural thrill ride.
The Blood Gospel tricked me. It ended up in my stack because of the nod it gave to Anne Rice, and how it pronounced itself as a Gothic novel (it actually says, ‘gothic tale’ on the back of my copy). It isn’t like Rice’s work, unless you count the vampires. As far as writing goes, I don’t see the similarities. It also lacks the atmosphere of a gothic tale, in my opinion anyway. Now I knew this might be the case starting out. I looked at the authors other works and knew it might fall along the lines of thriller, which it did. There isn’t anything wrong with that, and these authors do it very well. The characters are constantly in action, and end up in the worst scenarios. This reader was often compelled to keep reading to see how the characters made it out of the next bind.
The story is in close third person and switched between Erin, Jordan, Rhun, a villain, and a young boy. The first three are the main characters. All of which are certainly likeable in their own ways. Erin, the archaeologist, spends a lot of the novel figuring out where they are supposed to go, and how things work, all the while having some mass attraction to Jordan. I enjoyed how smart she was, but I didn’t enjoy the budding relationship with Jordan. Erin seems to know she is hot, and knows when someone is paying attention. It can be a little annoying. While Erin is the wiz kid of the group, Jordan is part all American golden solider guy. Although he is the copy cut out of a good guy, he is also at times the group’s smart ass. It makes him all the more likable. Rhun’s character is a little more shadowy than the other two. He is a part of the order of Sanguines. They’re good vampires that drink holy wine instead of blood. Rhun has a darker more complicated past, but in comparison to the other members of his order, he’s a saint. His order fights the ‘Strigoi’ who are actual vampires. The real vampires are after the same relic as the trio. Rhun is your classic brooding hero, fighting his dark side and all that jazz.
There is a great deal of references to biblical stories in the pages. It uses a lot of the bible stories to build the mythos behind the holy relic. That being said, it didn’t feel like Christian fiction, it more felt along the lines of a Dan Brown kind of story. On the other hand I kept having more questions that I think the characters never seemed fit to wonder about. The whole no soul thing bugged me (you guessed it, vamps have no souls) and why are all vampires but the ones working for the church bad? Safe to say this brave new world didn’t answer enough of the blood sucking questions for me. I wanted it to expand on these things more.
My favorite thing about The Blood Gospel was the use of twisted actual history. While the facts are great it wasn’t perfect, it lead to some unnatural sounding conversations were characters gave others history lessons. I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but this one rates up on the scale of good ones. The middle of the story slowed down for me, but I kind of figured the equation of the ending by that point. I think many readers who’re into this kind of thing will eat it up. It does the action and adventure well, but it is far from a gothic story. It does have notes of horror, but that’s only because the hell like hounds and vampires. At heart it’s a gripping supernatural thriller.