Jael’s #CBR #5: The Story of My Face by Kathy Page

After much procrastinating, I’m finally going to get my reviews done.                                                        Image

The Story of My Face is the story of the past and present of Natalie Baron.  When she was thirteen, she became involved with a religious sect that followed the teachings of Thomas Envall.  Neglected by her mother, Natalie grows close to Barbara and her family, who invite her to an Envallist retreat.  Natalie is clearly an outsider there and her presence leads to conflict and division amongst the church members.  It also stirs up painful memories for Barbara, which eventually lead to the tragedy that disfigured Natalie’s face.

As an adult Natalie becomes a lecturer in religious history.  She goes to the birthplace of Envallism in Finland, to research Thomas Envall.  There is still tension between Natalie and the Envallists, who remember the trouble that was caused in the past.

I was interested in this book as I studied religion and am interested in stories about extreme sects.  And it partially takes place in Finland, which you don’t get in many books.  I was curious to find out what had happened to Natalie’s face, and why she had such an uncomfortable relationship with the Envallists.  The tension is slowly built throughout the book until everything finally unravels at the end.

I wish the author had gone into some more detail about a few things.  When Natalie is thirteen, she just walks up to Barbara off the street, and is suddenly like part of their family.  I thought it happened too quick, and I re-read that part to make sure I hadn’t missed anything that explained why she went to them or why they were so accepting of her.  There weren’t many details about what the Envallists believe, other than that they ban pictures.  There is also a seduction that comes out of nowhere.  Despite these minor complaints, I did enjoy the book.

3 stars

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Jael55’s #CRB5 Review #1 The Passage by Justin Cronin

ThePassage

It only took me half a year to get around to writing my first review.  Sorry about that, I’ve been a bit busy with being unemployed and trying to generally sort out my life.

The Passage is a massive novel, and I don’t want to give many details and spoil it.  The first part details the events that lead to the destruction of civilisation.  There are two main story threads in the first half; that of Amy, a young girl who has been abandoned, and that of the government facility that experiments on test subjects they obtain from death row.

The second half of the book focuses on a colony of survivors ninety years after The End.  This was my favourite part of the book.  I liked the details about life in the colony and their fight against the Virals.  Eventually Peter, Alicia, Michael, and a few others are forced out into the wilderness, where they have to try and survive on their own.

I won’t give many more details, as I don’t want to risk spoiling things for anyone who might want to check this book out.  I definitely recommend it.  The only thing that I didn’t like was the ending.  Things wrapped up a bit too neatly for my liking, but otherwise it was very enjoyable.  I’m looking forward to the follow up, The Twelve.

4 stars