Official Review: There Ariseth Light in the Darkness

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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greenstripedgiraffe
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Official Review: There Ariseth Light in the Darkness

Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 03 Jul 2019, 14:02

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "There Ariseth Light in the Darkness" by JV Love.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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I found There Ariseth Light in the Darkness by JV Love to be a curious fictional account of several groups of people during the early first century. So many centuries have gone by since that time that the world has largely forgotten what life would have been like so long ago. The Jews in Jerusalem and surrounding areas were governed by Rome. In the cities, you could find devout Jews worshiping in the temple, tax-collecting Jews working for the Roman government, zealous Jews avenging Jews from Roman leadership, and Roman soldiers attempting to keep the peace. Also inhabiting the city would have been "Gentiles," that is, any non-Jewish citizens. This many subcultures seeking to inhabit the same geographic area allowed for only a very uneasy truce between the various factions. Into this somewhat unstable region, a child was born who was destined to create peace.

Meet Jonah and Thomas, two Jewish brothers whose way of life was decimated by the Nabataeans. The family of their cousin Zebulun takes the brothers in and raises them in the way of the zealots. After spending several years under the command of Zebulun, Jonah eventually realizes the zealots will never offer him peace. He leaves the bandits and seeks his own life as a nominal Jew. Mostly, Jonah wants to be left alone, but he also seeks answers to life's difficulties.

Meet Vitus, an ambitious Roman soldier determined to attain the rank of Centurion. Contrary to most in Roman leadership, Vitus has the propensity to be fair to those around and under him.

Azara is an educated female Gentile who wants to change the world for the better.

Can Zebulun, Jonah, Vitus, and Azara all find what they are looking for? JV Love weaves a tale of despair, love, desire, and humanness. His characters are not only well developed, but they undergo transformations throughout the book. Each character makes decisions that take him or her on a path of either self-discovery or self-destruction. I loved this process. By the time the book ended, I felt grief for the characters who lost everything, anger at the characters who would not budge toward the light in stubbornness, and relief when the world finally made sense to the true seekers.

The book follows the stories of each of the main characters somewhat separately. At times, the path of one character intersects with the path of another, but having all the characters meet and interact as a whole is not the author's main purpose. Philosophical sections are handled appropriately; the various characters are allowed to process life's questions naturally instead of forcing the reader to endure long discourses written by the author. This allowed the author to keep a good pace throughout the book and added to my overall enjoyment.

As a historical fiction novel, I appreciate all the effort the author put into researching the time period. The knowledge of each subculture mentioned is obvious, making this a jewel of a novel. I noticed an interesting side theme, namely that racial diversity and tension are not new concepts.

I have one issue with this book. When it becomes clear that Jesus is key to understanding life and happiness, the author does not seem to have a genuine understanding of the message Jesus brought. Instead, the author talks in generalities of forgiveness and living for others. While these things are good, they are not what the Bible brings out as the reason for Jesus' life on earth. At the end of the book, the author includes discussion questions and historical notes. The wealth of facts that the author built the book around is impressive. I did also find scattered editing errors.

I feel that the book was edited, but perhaps not professionally. Since I generally enjoyed the story and felt that it was historically accurate, I would give it 4 stars, but due to the lackluster editing, I am going to rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I feel that any history buff ought to enjoy reading this book. However, if you are looking for a particularly religious (Christian) novel, I don't feel this is a strong candidate other than that of gaining a better understanding of the world into which Jesus was born.

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There Ariseth Light in the Darkness
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Shadiid
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Post by Shadiid » 04 Jul 2019, 14:46

I'm confused.. in your last paragraph you stated that the book is historically correct 👀👀you also stated that you found it to be "fictional"

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Post by Magnify3 » 05 Jul 2019, 01:56

Thanks for the very detailed review. It is a pity that the author does not seem to have a genuine understanding of the message Jesus brought. I think that could have added a bit more.

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Post by Prisallen » 05 Jul 2019, 07:37

It does sound like a very interesting historical fiction about the time period in which Jesus was born. I would like to take a look at it. Too bad about the errors, though. Thanks for a wonderful review!

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Post by kdstrack » 05 Jul 2019, 12:02

The author has chosen a diverse range of main characters to represent this time period. I agree that it would be interesting to observe how each one, from their peculiar perspective, processed life's questions. I have a copy of the book and your review motivates me to read it. Thanks!

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Post by Dee_218 » 05 Jul 2019, 14:51

It sound like s complicated historical development. Sounds mature and engaging.
Thank you for the review.

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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 08 Jul 2019, 14:27

Shadiid wrote:
04 Jul 2019, 14:46
I'm confused.. in your last paragraph you stated that the book is historically correct 👀👀you also stated that you found it to be "fictional"
Hey! Thanks for reading my review!!

The book is historical fiction :) Excellent historical fiction is based very closely on real events/circumstances/etc. and has historical figures who behave according to educated guessing on how the real person would have behaved. That's the historical part. The fiction part is the author's creating characters who speak and act as a real character of the time period would have...Often the fictional characters interact with the historical figures. In this case, JV Love chose to create fictional characters to represent the various historical factions represented in the time frame. Also included were actual historical characters. :) I hope that helps!
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Post by Nisha Ward » 08 Jul 2019, 15:03

This is quite thorough in terms of an analysis of the book. I do wonder if the author identifies as Christian or not, as that may explain the vagueness of their portrayal of Jesus' message.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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