Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Relentless by Robin Parrish (Dominion Trilogy #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Intriguing story with enjoyable characters
Cons: Writing weak at times
The Bottom Line:
Allow lots of time
As you will get hooked on this
Relentless thriller




A Relentlessly Paced Thriller

Author Robin Parrish used to write for some Christian music sites I read, so when he released Relentless, his first novel, I immediately bought it. And there it sat on my bookshelf for over two years waiting for me to finally pick it up and read it. I really wish I had picked it up sooner.

On that particular rainy morning, Collin Boyd was walking down a rainy street on his way to work and sees himself across the street. We're talking the same clothes, same briefcase, everything. As Collin runs to catch up with himself, he catches his reflection in the mirror and sees...a complete stranger staring back.

As he stares at the new him, a woman appears and warns him and he is now part of something huge. He must figure out who are his friends and who are his enemies because there is an assassin after him. And with that warning, she vanishes.

Thrust into a world he hardly knows, the now named Grant Borrows must figure out what is happening to him and how to control the powers he suddenly seems to have. Because the answers hold the key to a long ago prophecy that he just might fulfill. If he can stay alive long enough, that is.

This is one of those books that defies easy categorizing. Between the change to Collin/Grant and his new powers, this book is clearly fantasy. Yet all of our characters are human, and it is set in a modern and realistic Los Angeles. There's a conspiracy theory behind everything that dates back millennia. And it is clearly a thriller with twists and revelations coming so quickly it was hard to put the book down.

But no matter what you call it, this is a great read. I was hooked on the first sentence (nope, not an exaggeration). And the pace never slows. Just when you get a new piece of the puzzle, you are left with two new questions. The action never lags either, with many great action scenes. Every time I put the book down, it took a tremendous effort. The climax might seem over the top on its own, but in the context of the book, it fits perfectly. While satisfying, the ending certainly leaves things open for the second and third books in the series. You can almost see the "To be continued...."

Despite the weird things happening to him, I really identified with Collin/Grant, which certainly helped. He leads a rather large cast. Most of the supporting cast never truly gets developed, but there are about a dozen main characters that do. We even jump into all their heads at some point as the story uses various third person viewpoints to completely tell the story. Naturally, that only adds to the suspense most of the time.

This is a novel from a Christian publisher, but it isn't an overtly Christian novel. In fact, religion only comes up in the last 50 pages.

The only real weakness is the writing. This is Robin's first novel, and unfortunately it shows. I didn't notice it as much in the beginning, but near the climax, I found several repeated phrases and awkward phrasing. There's nothing here that will ruin the book. In fact, I would probably make the same mistakes. And it hardly slowed me down as I raced to find out how it would all end.

I truly wish I had entered the world of Relentless much sooner. Don't make my mistake. Pick up a copy today.

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