4 out of 4 stars
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Raven's Peak, by Lincoln Cole is an intriguing fiction novel about demons, humans, and faith, all without becoming oppressively religious. Haatim is an ordinary man with a vast knowledge of religions of the world and an oppressively religious father he left behind in India. He is like everyone else, writing a blog about world religions and just trying to navigate this strange thing called life. One strange day, coincidentally after he decided to remove himself from religion completely and change the topic of his blog, he is hired by a man he met in the library to be a private investigator. His one job: taking incriminating photos of a woman that has been following his client. Soon after, though, he finds himself in the middle of a mess between demons and their hunters, all while struggling with his faith that took a fatal hit after the death of his sister. Enter Abigail, resident demon hunter. Her one goal: finding her father figure and mentor that had saved her from a demon possession at the cost of his own soul. She's been called to Raven's Peak to answer disturbing reports made from the area. Though ostracized by the Council, the group of people that regulate all the demon hunters, and plagued by her constant search, she still travels to Raven's Peak, and discovers something she probably wished she'd never encountered.
Though not the first of its kind, this novel somehow managed to reel me in through its subtle uniqueness. Abigail is a strong independent woman, not in the sense that most novels and movies seem to define the trope, but in the real sense. She’s not perfect, but she's also genuinely strong without the aid of a man. This novel is realistic in the sense that Abigail does not need a man or a cheesy riveting speech to be absolutely dauntless. She is the perfect female protagonist, and it’s enjoyable going through her journey with her and watching her struggle within and outside of herself with different forces that both threaten to crush her. She manages to be savagely amazing without compromising her femininity and humanity.
Haatim is also a character that does not conform to normal male stereotypes. Though not suited to the situation, he still manages not to be a burden. He doesn’t become immediately good at everything, like most male protagonists do, and he is helpful sometimes. The unique and realistic characters in the novel make it relatable and easy-to-read, drawing in the reader until it finally releases you, making you crave a sequel.
The novel was truly well-written, with amazing diction that pulls the reader in. The dialogue is unique to each character, and it's not difficult to keep up with the story, even though a lot is going on. It's truly difficult to introduce religious elements without insulting religion or losing a lot of focus to the religious aspects. The author builds the perfect balance between literature and religious aspects, not drawing away from the story while making religion a genuine plot point. One thing that was strange about the novel was the transition between the prologue and the first chapter, two seemingly separate events that you don’t understand until relatively deep into the novel. I also liked the pacing. It seems slow because the main characters are in the same place for long periods of time, but by the time I reached the end of the book, I was glad it was paced that way. Either way, I didn’t notice the slow pacing much because of the magnetic writing. I didn’t notice any typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation errors. It was well-edited which made the wading process much easier, lending to the suspenseful writing style. The action scenes were also very well-written. It was easy to see all the movements and to imagine each scene.
I rate this novel 4 out of 4 because it was well-written and well-edited, with unique, relatively-relatable characters and an interesting, unique plot. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes action and suspense. I wouldn’t recommend this for any die-hard religious fanatics because, while it was not outrightly offensive, it did deviate from traditional views of certain religions so the religious descriptions might offend some people, but personally I thought it wasn’t much of a problem. It is a pretty mature book, though, so I would not recommend it for children and people that get easily frightened.
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