Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Dawn's Light by Terri Blackstock (Restoration Novel #4)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Sub-plots and characters are great
Cons: The main story winds up being too rushed
The Bottom Line:
Interesting end
Sub-plots are handled so well
Main plot disappoints

Things are Darkest in the Dawn

The RestoratioNovels by Terri Blackstock have featured an unique premise. What if modern technology as we knew it failed? That's the question the Brannings have had to face in three previous books. And this Christian family have come through with flying colors, growing closer as a family and finding ways to help others while dealing in the increased crime and lawlessness that have resulted. Dawn's Light is the fourth book in the series and brings it to a close. It is absolutely vital to have read the other three first. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide the finish I wanted.

It's been a year since the pulses started. The Branning family has been through a lot in that time. But things are finally looking up. Banks are opening on a limited basis. Even better, word has come out that the pulses from a supernova that have caused the blackout have stopped. While that doesn't mean technology is back, it means the government can get started restoring power.

Which is why Craig shows up. Denni Branning's former fiancee has taken a job trying to restore the electricity in Alabama. And he's using it as an excuse to worm his way back into Denni's heart. Naturally, that's not sitting well with Mark Green, Denni's new boyfriend.

But while all this is going on, twelve year old Beth Branning is withdrawing. After witnessing a murder, she is afraid the killer will track her down and fulfill his threat to murder her, too. Should she keep her mouth shut? Will he find her?

Over the last three books, I have fallen in love with these characters as I've watched them struggle to overcome huge odds. And I've often wondered how I would deal with these same circumstances. So it shouldn't be a surprise to find out that I loved them here again. While they seemed a bit one dimensional at the beginning of the series, I don't feel they are here, which is a sign of how they have grown over the course of the series.

The writing does continue to be a drawback. It's weak, often telling us how the characters feel in stead of showing us. On the other hand, the style is easy to read. I fairly flew through the book, hardly wanting to put it down.

And that's because there is just so much happening. In fact, there's too much happening. This is the longest book in the series, and there still isn't enough time to get it all done. The story of restoring power to the community is well developed. And I enjoyed how the love triangle played out. In fact, the scenes between Craig and Mark provided some much needed comic relief.

It's Beth's story that really weakens the book. And since it's the main story, that's bad. A constant complaint in the series has been that the mystery isn't properly developed. That's the case again here. Several key things happen by coincidence in a rush to tie up loose ends.

But it's the emotional part of the story that really gets short shafted here. The book tries to wrestle with some very weighty theological issues. I appreciate that in my Christian novels. But, honestly, we needed another book in the series to fully explore things. Instead, we get a quick tie up that didn't satisfy me emotionally at all. Given enough time to fully develop, I think I would have liked where this book ultimately ended. As it is, however, I was disappointed.

Even though I was disappointed, I do recommend Dawn's Light for fans of the series. You really will want to know how everything ends.

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