3 out of 4 stars
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A. Keith Carreiro's The Penitent - Part I is the first book in the Immortality War series. Its first scene opens on a battlefield, wherein the stench of death and decimation hangs heavily in the air. Pall Warren, the main protagonist in this book, awakes on this battlefield in somewhat of a trance. He is unable to pinpoint when or why the war occurred. Pall leaves the fields in search of water and maybe other life. Here he meets the giant of a man, John Savage, who takes a liking to him.
In the hopes of finding shelter against the raging storm, Savage and Pall head to a farmhouse. There they encounter a Valravn, a possessed bird of sorts, who delivers a cryptic prophecy to the duo. At night, their abode is overrun by a band of marauders. They capture Pall and take over the farm. Unknown to them, an ancient evil resides in this farmhouse; a shape-shifting demon whose sole purpose is to absorb the essence of every living thing it comes across, leaving a trail of corruption behind. It attacks the crew. Savage sees this as an opportunity to rescue his companion. Will he succeed? Or will the Unger get them? What do Pall's visions signify? Read on to find out.
It is rare to encounter books that keep a reader's interest from start to finish. This is one such book. It kept me spellbound, and I was interested in knowing what the next page would bring. The writer's style of writing is commendable. His narrative prowess is felt throughout the story, which is told in the third-person perspective. He uses flashbacks to portray a number of events in the story. From the circumstances surrounding Pall's birth, some of his time growing up, to how he became part of the Aeonian unit of the king's guards. The story felt so realistic that I even felt a sense of dread whenever the Unger almost caught up with them. This book deserves to be remade into a movie. It is that good.
On a scale of preference, I felt the cast member descriptions placed at the back of the book should have come in the beginning. It could have helped build anticipation on the part of the audience in preparation for reading the book. Also, the numerous flashbacks in the story confused me at one point. I think they should have been separated, put in different paragraphs, or written in italics. There were also some underdeveloped plots and characters. For instance, what happened to Merek was not discussed. I only came across two errors while reading this book. All in all, it was a good read.
This book receives three out of four stars from me. It was a professionally edited work. I'd recommend it to those interested in adventure, horror, and fantasy tales.
The Penitent - Part I
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