3 out of 4 stars
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Rise of the Savior: Acolyte of Truth is a standalone fantasy novel that also functions as a prequel to the Rise of the Hearts series by Antoine Bonner. Amanda is just finishing up high school, with no definite plans for the future, when she and her father are in a terrible car accident. In her unconscious state, an ancient deity chooses Amanda to be the acolyte of truth. Meanwhile, the doctor who is treating Amanda’s comatose father has had his own encounter with a deity, making him the acolyte of death. Jamie has plans to use his new powers as the acolyte of death to save his own dying son. With her new powers – detecting lies and summoning guns with mind-controlled bullets – Amanda is suddenly responsible for saving not only herself, but millions of people in the world who could fall victim to Jamie’s sinister plans.
Amanda is a unique and fun character to follow. She’s loud and outgoing, and her only interest is karate. Her six-year-old sister, Saira, is also unique in a completely different way; Saira is very down-to-earth and serious, and she speaks in a monotone voice without any emotion. Their contrasting personalities make for an interesting dynamic. Although Saira is much younger, she often comes across as the more rational adult in troublesome situations, and she creates a nice balance to Amanda’s much more chaotic approach. I really enjoyed reading about the nontraditional relationship between these two girls.
This book is extremely action-packed and fast-paced. Oftentimes, I felt like it was too fast-paced for my taste, and I had to re-read sections to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. With so much going on within every line of the text, it was easy to miss important details. It was especially easy to lose track of characters; there is a huge cast of characters that I couldn’t even begin to cover in my brief summary above. Almost all of the characters have connections to a deity and a kundalini, each with their own names and powers to keep up with. Furthermore, some of the characters have very similar names, such as Amanda, Ameena, and Ana. I got these three names confused throughout the whole book, despite Amanda being the main character.
Although I enjoyed the opening of the book and the portrayal of several of the characters throughout the story, this book became extremely more difficult to read as it went on. I think that readers need to have some background knowledge in a variety of mythologies and religions in order to understand what is happening. For example, there are references to Buddhism, Hinduism, ancient Egyptian mythology, and probably more that I overlooked. There is mention of kundalini and prana that an average layperson might not know much about. Fortunately, I have an adequate amount of knowledge about Buddhism, which helped me understand much of the text, but I think that someone without as much knowledge would easily give up reading the book.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I found it harder and harder to read as it progressed, due to the complex topics and massive number of characters. When I was able to keep up with the characters, they had interesting personalities, and there was humor woven into the dialogue that kept them intriguing. In the end, I give it a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. There are lots of scenes containing graphic violence and profanity, but there are only a handful of minor errors that do not interrupt the flow of the text. I recommend this book to readers who have strong background knowledge and an interest in a variety of non-Western religions/mythologies.
Rise of the Savior: Acolyte of Truth
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