Resistance by Jaye L. Knight
I don't even know how to begin a review like this. Have you ever read one of those books you were expecting a lot from and it was so much better than all the expectations you put on it? If you have than you know how I feel.
I had read another series by Jaye and I loved it. Resistance was part of an even longer series and Jaye said she spent a lot of time working on the plot. I allowed myself to hope it was going to be amazing.
Resistance isn't your typical fantasy book. In the story the characters are faced with persecution when the government decides Christians are a threat to their false gods. The Christians are mostly outcasts, looked down upon by society. But things are changing and they know it won't be long before their lives are in danger.
Caught up in the middle of this is a girl named Kyrin. She works for the emperor because she has the gift of being able to discern what a person's real character is like. It is her job to sit and listen on important meetings so she might know if a person is lying to the emperor. Working so close to the man who hates anyone who disagrees with his gods, it isn't long before Kyrin is forced to choice a side, continue worshiping the one true God and maybe lose her life, or bow before the false ones and live.
I liked Kyrin. And I loved her relationship with her twin brother. Reading about them reminded me how rare it is to find a good brother and sister story and I hope there is more of them in the next book.
There were a lot of other characters I liked as well. I liked most of them, except the emperor, his wife, daughter, and some of his henchmen. But, of course, one wasn't supposed to like them.
My personal favourite though was Jace. Jace is a half blood ryrik - they are a race of violent, ill tempered beings who kill as a past time. Jace was bought out of slavery and shown love, but when tragedy strikes he forgets almost everything he has been told and again believes he is nothing more than a mindless animal who will kill anyone who gets close to him. He is nearly ready to give up on everything and just sit down and die because he believes it would be better for everyone.
Then he meets Kyrin and....well, you just have to read it.
Jace broke my heart and I fell in love with him. He was so sad and lonely, I often wanted to hug him and tell him over and over he was human and loved. (There is wonderful scene with him, where he has to decide between his ryrik instincts and his human side. That was my favourite scene in the whole book.)
Aside from the characters, the plot is well done and thought out. And the world is especially well done. Jaye put a lot of time and effort into it and it shows. Everything felt real and believable. And while some of the races she created had enough characteristics in them to feel fantasy, she changed them just enough that they are completely new. It is worth spending the time in her new world to get to know and see everything better.
This is another book I can highly recommend. It is listed as New Adult and it took me a while to figure out why. There are no suggestive scenes in it, I don't even remember there being a kiss, but some of the characters are tortured. Jaye does go into some detail, to show just what they went through and how they still stood for their faith. (A lot of it felt like the trails the early Christians went through.) There isn't unneeded detail, but things are described. Jaye balanced everything out well, but caution should be taken for younger readers.
It is, I believe, a book everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.