Friday, August 31, 2012

The Dark Faith by Jeremiah W. Montogomery

I almost declined to review this book. Almost. In the first chapter, I got very confused as to what type of book this was, was it a Christian novel? The prologue promised a very interesting story, but the True Faith was Christianity in a thinly veiled disguise. The words were too similar to the prayers and liturgy of Christianity, but I wasn't certain if the theology was sound.

But I needn't have worried. After searching the web, I found out that the author, Jeremiah W. Montogomery and settled down to read the story, happy to find out that I wouldn't have to start worrying about theological issues in a fantasy story.

And what a fantasy story. The True Faith may be Christianity in disguise, but the Dark Faith is wholly original. Well, it doesn't bring to mind any religion I know. It's blood-thirsty, but tries to disguise itself as good. It's aims are evil and it's willing to do anything to acheive them.

Plot-wise, the book is quite sparse. After reading it, I could probably summarise the whole plot into one short paragraph. But, I'm hoping that this is the first book in a series, because the world-building was awesome. While the novel is complete as a stand-alone, I would love to read more about the entrancing characters introduced in this book. And I can totally think of how some sub-plots (like the translation), can be developed into another separate story. The best way I can put it, is that I hope this becomes something like the Discworld Series (or Krista McGee's books - I'm still on a high from her latest book, Where I Belong), standalone books in the same universe with the same (and some new) characters.

Thinking about it, the plot isn't so much short, as that it's detailed. The huge arc that ties the whole story together is short, but there are lots of sub-plots that connect it together. It's not that long a read (about 350 pages), but it's incredibly satisfying.

There are probably a lot of lessons that I can draw out from this book, but the one about forgiveness left the deepest impression on me. Fairly early on in the book, Morumus is tasked with teaching Oethur, the son of the king whose people killed his father (or so he believes). Because of this, he's unfair in teaching him, and they argue. But when Morumus realises how hypocritical he's been, well, that was a very touching moment for me. I realised that forgiveness is necessary to release bitterness, and that if you don't have true forgiveness, what you have is just thinly disguised hypocritical actions.

If you're looking for a really deep and interesting Christian fantasy, this is the book for you.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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