Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In The Arms Of Immortals

In the Arms of Immortals:
A Novel of Darkness and Light

by Ginger Garrett
291 pages

*** About the Book ***

In this historical-fiction-with-a-touch-of-the-supernatural novel, angels and demons are battling for the soul of a young woman. To save her, the angels take her back in time to learn some important lessons. Unfortunately, the time they take her back to is the Middle Ages - and the Black Death is breaking out.

As a side note, I really love the cover of this book - not sure why, but something about it intrigues me.

*** Why I Read It ***

I was intrigued by the publicist's email and agreed to accept a review copy based on the synopsis. I was hoping it would be something like a mix between YEAR OF WONDERS by Geraldine Brooks and THIS PRESENT DARKNESS by Frank Peretti.

Although it is book 2 in The Chronicles of the Scribe trilogy, I understood that it could be read as a stand-alone novel.

*** My Thoughts ***

I really hate to say it but this book was a disappointment.

The characters were under-developed and very stereotypical. Garrett seemed more interested in conveying the moral of the story as quickly as possible than in allowing the characters to make meaningful - and understandable - choices.

In addition to under-developed characters the plot seemed to jump ahead in spurts, almost without explanation. Time and again characters were put into situations and I asked myself "how did he/she get there?"

In the author's note at the end, Garrett explained that she wanted to examine the way the role of women in relation to the Catholic Church changed during the Black Plague. For being her main theme, this seemed to be a relatively minor plot point and one that was rather blatantly stated in the story itself.

The author had a great idea for a story but she seemed to only give the reader parts of it and she didn't allow her characters to become real. This book had lots of potential but unfortunately it failed to pan out.

*** Second Thoughts ***

I just read Amy's review of the first book in the series, IN THE SHADOW OF LIONS. Having read that, the beginning of this book makes a lot more sense to me. I would definitely not recommend this as a stand-alone novel; this is a situation where you should read the books in the order they were written.

*** Your Thoughts ***

Have you reviewed this book or others in the series? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Ruth said...

I haven't read this book yet, but I thought the first book in the series was absolutely spectacular - one of my favorite reads from last year. I'm sorry to hear this one didn't quite measure up for you!

Heather J. said...

Ruth - I'm thinking if you liked book 1 then you'll like this one too. I read Amy's review of book 1 and it seemed similar to this one - I guess it just wasn't the book for me. :(

Amanda said...

I have the first book in the series but I haven't read it yet. I'm kind of interested though since it's a bit different w/ the supernatural element. I'll let you know what I think of the first one.

bermudaonion said...

I don't think I'd enjoy the mix of genres, so I think I'll skip this book.

Serena said...

I had not heard of these books before. Sounds disappointing. I hate when books are billed as readable as stand-alone novels when they are not.

Nicole said...

Haven't heard of this one before but I know that I am stickler for strong characterization and I really like to have the plot make sense and not make sudden leaps. Sometimes with series you just can't get around starting with the first book.

Heather J. said...

Amanda - Please do! You and I usually have similar taste in books - I definitely want to know if book 1 was better than this.

bermuda - I usually like mixed genres so this really was disappointing.

Serena & Nicole - The plot of this second book and the characters are COMPLETELY different from the first, but there is a manuscript that appears in book 1 that has significant impact on the initial story in book 2. It would have been helpful to know the story behind the manuscript ... but that wouldn't have redeemed the rest of the book in my mind.

Alyce said...

I'm not a big fan of fiction involving supernatural forces anyway, so this series will be one I pass on.

Kailana said...

You had my interest, but then you said you were disappointed. I guess I shall pass on it, then!

Literary Feline said...

I'm sorry this one turned out to be a disappointment, Heater. As you said, the premise for the story sounds great. It's too bad it didn't come off better.

Heather J. said...

Alyce - I do enjoy books that deal w/ the idea of angels and demons from a Christian perspective, which is why I expected to enjoy this one. Alas ...

Kailana & Literary Feline - I'm hoping to see some other reviews so I can tell if it was just me!

Kathleen said...

Love the cover of this! Sorry to hear it was such a disappointment. I'll have to check out the first book.

Heather J. said...

Kathleen - the cover IS gorgeous, isn't it? And the book is one of those that "feels" really good too - know what I mean?

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