3 out of 4 stars
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Navigating between a time before history and modern now, Epiphany by Sonya Deanna Terry is a story of epic proportions. Written in two parts, the first part takes the reader through the "true history" of the world. In this fantastical history, the world's economy went from being based on a currency of kindness to a time of greed and hoarding of gold. Part two describes the process of general healing as well as returning to the economy of kindness.
I found the premise of this book to be intriguing, which is why I originally picked it up. The author includes elements to please nearly anyone. Fantasy elements include elves, sprites, talking woodland animals, and more; while the more realistic elements uncover what would be the greatest conspiracy theory of all time. The author definitely delivered on both these accounts. As a bonus, the author depicts characters that are both believable and relatable. However, while the interactions between characters are definitely plausible, one must stretch the imagination a little to believe how each character is related to the others. "Couples," that is, husbands and wives, are all interconnected with other couples. After a while, this became a bit mind-boggling as I juggled who each character was and how they were connected to all the other characters.
Throughout both parts of the book, the reader is taken back and forth between ancient and modern times via a "fiction" book written in the 1700's by a man named Edward Lillibridge. A modern day book club regularly gathers to discuss Our True and Ancient History. As time goes on, this book club begins believing that the book is not actually fiction, but is, in fact, true. Over time, they also discover that they and their acquaintances are actually reincarnated versions of characters in the book they meet to discuss. While this could be fairly unbelievable, the author does a great job of tying up all the potential loose ends.
I felt that the well-developed characters were the strongest point of the author's writing. The weakest part of her writing was the sheer size and length of this book. While everything in the book definitely related to the plot, there was just so much material that I started to wonder what could be cut out. At times I found the book to be so exciting I could hardly turn the pages quickly enough. Other times, I felt the story was dragging, and I would put it down to gather enough mental energy to work at it again later.
While I definitely appreciated the main theme of a return to kindness as an overall currency instead of a gold standard, I felt some of this strained credibility. Essentially, it gave a somewhat expanded and alternate version to the biblical narrative. The alternate story was so radical that the 1700's church fathers declared the man exposing the modern currency to be a heretic! You will have to read it yourself to discover why...
The book itself was edited exceptionally well. Also, there is no profanity or adult intimacy that would hinder this book from being recommended to a wide audience. The sheer length would be the greatest hindrance to anyone's general enjoyment, so I would not recommend that a young reader pick up the book. Regardless of whether or not you are ready to suspend belief long enough to to enjoy this book, I feel that there is definitely enough philosophy about money, greed, jealousy, and lack, etc., on which any thoughtful reader could ponder for days. I am going to give this book 3 out of 4 stars. One star is taken away due to the uneven pace and the extreme length, both of which make the book somewhat difficult to finish. I can't take away any more stars, because the book certainly has merit on many accounts. Brilliant characters, a complex and believable plot, and plenty of takeaway points all contribute to my overall recommendation of this book to a wide audience with only a small caveat.
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