3 out of 4 stars
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According to the Talmud, the main religious book of Rabbinic Judaism, thirty-six chosen people prevent the world from ending. The 36 Watchers Book I: Fall, by Dan Bar Hava, is the fictional account of one of these special people. This story is a combination of mystical fantasy and science fiction with a few religious elements thrown in the mix. When Jenna’s strange Uncle Josh asks her to stay home from her work in New York City the next day, she has no idea why. That next morning, September 11, 2001, her life will be forever changed. Why was she spared when all of her co-workers perished in the Twin Towers? How did Uncle Josh know what would happen?
Jenna Berg is a wonderfully written character. She is constantly questioning and always seeking knowledge. She stands up for herself and is not intimidated by anyone or anything, even when she meets the powers behind the Watchers. I admired her spunky attitude and her dry wit. She genuinely cared about her friends and felt guilty she had not saved them too. She takes the job for which she is chosen very seriously and realizes the importance of the task. Her Uncle Josh is another important person in this story. He is mysterious and a little spooky. He acts as a guide to Jenna but allows her to make up her mind without interference.
The part I liked best about this story was the idea that somewhere in the world there were people selected to save the planet. This was a new idea for me, and I was surprised the Jewish holy book tells of these thirty-six watchers. This is creepy, but strangely comforting to think these people are working for the good of the world. It makes me wonder how much truth there is to this myth.
What I enjoyed least were the chapters devoted to past watchers from history. I can’t tell you who they are because I feel that would be a spoiler. However, I was confused when they were first introduced and wondered briefly why there was such a shift in the story. I think the author could have introduced them better so that their purpose would have been clearer.
This story is filled with excitement and suspense. There is a lot of action, but I was left wanting more. It is thought-provoking and made me wonder if the bad things that happen could have a deeper purpose. Are there beings that watch over us and work for our good? Is there true evil in the world? This story deals with all of these questions. Some people might be skeptical of the ideas presented in the book, but it gave me a lot to think about. The book does not end in a cliff-hanger, but enough was left unresolved that a second book is sure to follow.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend it to people who like fantasy, mysticism, and science fiction. There are religious ideas discussed here that some people may find objectionable. The book also has some profanity and extreme violence. Because of this, I would recommend this book to adults only. There was a slight problem with the book printing where some words were written together with no space between, but this did not keep me from understanding and enjoying the story. But because of these errors, I feel I cannot give the book a perfect score. I am awarding The 36 Watchers Book I: Fall, by Dan Bar Hava, a score of 3 out of 4 stars. If you want a book that will make you think but still has an exciting storyline, then this is the one for you. I think you will find it as fascinating as I did.
The 36 Watchers, Book I: Fall.
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