Book Review | Talon of God by Wesley Snipes

Reason Why I Picked This Book Up:

I honestly walked by this book maybe two or three times at work before my curiosity finally won out. At first I was like “Nah, can’t be that Wesley Snipes.” and then I was like “YOOOOOO, Wesley Snipes wrote a book y’all!” After reading the synopsis I thought that it sounded interesting enough to warrant a read.

SYNOPSIS

Synopsis (from inner flap):
Imagine that everyone you have ever known or loved was forced against their will into a state of demonic possession and spiritual slavery. Imagine an unholy cabal of the world’s richest and most powerful men directing this sinister plan in order to cement their unbridled control of the planet.
Imagine two heroes emerging from that darkness to do battle with the forces of evil.
Set in the mean streets of Chicago, Talon of God is the action-packed adventure centered around the Lauryn Jefferson, a beautiful young doctor who is dragged into a seemingly impossible battle against the invisible forces of Satan’s army and their human agents that are bent on enslaving humanity in a mission to establish the kingdom of hell on Earth.
But Lauryn is a skeptic, and it’s only as she sees a diabolical drug sweep her city and begins to train in the ways of a spirit warrior by the legendary man of God, Talon Hunter, that she discovers her true nature and inner strength. Facing dangerous trials and tests, it’s a true baptism by fire. And if they fail, millions could die. And rivers of blood would flow throughout the land.
Imagine such horror. Such pain. And imagine what it would take to fight against it. For only the strongest and most faithful will survive…
Get ready. Armageddon approaches quickly.

REVIEW

★★★☆☆
✮Writing Style |✮Plot | ☆Character Development | ★Setting |★Uniqueness
(in case you’re wondering: ✮ = 1/2 star)

THE GOOD

First off, I really enjoyed that this book was set in inner city Chicago. It felt like an excellent urban setting for Armageddon. I couldn’t imagine any other city (well, maybe New York but it would have felt very cliche) as the setting for this novel.  I also appreciated that Snipes and Norman drew attention to the way in which drug addicts can potentially be viewed by police officers, medics, and society in general. I thought it was very unique that the authors chose to use drug addiction, along with addiction in general, as a catalyst for demonic possession.  It was a very interesting element of the story and it worked excellently with the theme and setting.

As a slight warning for my non-religious/non Christian readers; Yes, this book does lean heavily on Christianity. However, there is no call for the reader to become a Christian and there is no belittling of other religions. I will say there is a lot of talk of God, quoting of biblical verses, and the typical “Christ saves” spiel but for the most part, I found the religious tones to be rather well done and not too preachy.

THE SHOULDER SHRUG
For the things that were kinda ~meh~.

The writing style was a bit hit or miss. You can tell that certain parts were written by either Snipes or Norman and as a result the story tended to have some hitches and hangups. There were also moments where the dialogue felt incredibly stilted or unrealistic, which really didn’t help with the overall flow of the novel. However, the way in which the character’s emotions and the settings were described was pretty well done; enough to earn half a star in terms of writing style. In terms of the plot, I really enjoyed the pacing for the first 3/4 of this novel. I enjoyed how different characters were introduced and how their introductions served to move the plot line forward. Yet, by the time I hit the last fourth I was struggling to not skim read the rest. The last chunk could have been tied up a lot quicker, especially in regards to how the book ended; there was absolutely no need to drag out the last chunk.  Honestly, the last chunk could have been condensed into 10, maybe 15, pages max and a few characters really didn’t need the amount of page time they received.

THE FACE PALM
For the thing/s that kinda sucked.

There is almost zero character development in this novel. I would describe it as if Snipes and Norman wrote one version of the character, sat down and wrote an ~updated~ version and then just decided to yell out “through the power of Christ these characters have been changed!” and bam – updated version enters the story. Not denying that the power of Christ can indeed change a person, but dang, I need something about how the character feels about their changes and what their thought process was; not just a sudden “This is me now” type of development.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I don’t tend to read a lot of Urban Fantasy, but this was definitely a pretty cool approach to the genre. Now, before you go and assume that it’s Urban Fantasy because it’s written by two black men let me just tell you that Urban Fantasy refers to fantasy novels set in an urban setting – i.e. a city and not an imaginary place. I had to check a patron on that when they complained that calling it “urban fantasy” was racist. I would also argue that this book could also be considered Christian Fiction/Fantasy because the religious tone of the novel is that strong.

NOW, in terms of who I would recommend this book to;

  • People transiting from YA -> Adult fantasy/fiction
  • People who read Urban Fiction and want to try a different genre
  • Readers of Christian Fiction who want to read something grittier
    &
  • Fans of Wesley Snipes – because this is a very Wesley Snipes type of story.

Let me know if you’ve read this book before and what your thoughts were! Also let me know if you think this a book that you might read at some point in time!

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!
Rae

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

 

Realization

I am like Henry VIII when it comes to how I handle love and relationships – minus the beheading.

IMG_8421

Last night, after fucking up what could have potentially been The Best Relationship because of my inability to communicate coupled with my ability to lash out with precise cruelty, I tried to continue to fight of the depressive funk I’ve been falling into for the past few weeks by watching Showtime’s “The Tudors”.  Which, I will admit was probably not the best decision that I’ve ever made since I’m officially convinced that I’m a horrible, horrible, horrible romantic partner and friend. It’s a fact of my life at this point that I am just a mean + horrible person who occasionally does nice things.

-Rae

 

 

NonFiction November + General TBR

Huzzah! It’s Nonfiction November which is motivation for me to get around to reading the massive pile of nonfiction books that I tend to accumulate. Nonfiction November is hosted by Olive and Gemma and the whole point is just to encourage people to read more nonfiction than they usually do. The four themes for this year’s challenge are:

1. Home
2. Substance
3. Love
4. Scholarship

NONFICTION

Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute

Synopsis:
In 1913 the San Francisco Bulletin published a serialized, ghostwritten memoir of a prostitute who went by the moniker Alice Smith. “A Voice from the Underworld” detailed Alice’s humble Midwestern upbringing and her struggle to find aboveboard work, and candidly related the harrowing events she endured after entering “the life.” While prostitute narratives had been published before, never had they been as frank in their discussion of the underworld, including topics such as abortion, police corruption, and the unwritten laws of the brothel. Throughout the series, Alice strongly criticized the society that failed her and so many other women, but, just as acutely, she longed to be welcomed back from the margins. The response to Alice’s story was unprecedented: four thousand letters poured into the Bulletin, many of which were written by other prostitutes ready to share their own stories; and it inspired what may have been the first sex worker rights protest in modern history.
For the first time in print since 1913, Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute presents the memoirs of Alice Smith and a selection of letters responding to her story. An introduction contextualizes “A Voice from the Underworld” amid Progressive Era sensationalistic journalism and shifting ideas of gender roles, and reveals themes in Alice’s story that extend to issues facing sex workers today.

This is my selection for the “Home” challenge. I live in San Francisco, which was once upon a time known as part of the Barbary Coast. I also have a slight obsession with Gold Rush era SF and how prostitutes have been viewed throughout history. Essentially, this book is the perfect combination of two very interesting topics to me.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny

Synopsis:
A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Cullen into Holy Madison, Hugh Hefner’s number one girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, Holly’s plunge down the rabbit hole took her to a world where she discovered that not all was as it seemed. What appeared to be a fairy-tale life inside the Playboy Mansion – which included A-list celebrity parties and Holly’s own number one television show – quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing Bunnies.
Life inside the notorious mansion wasn’t a dream after all, and it quickly became Holly’s nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future she found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide – but instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it. Here for the first time, she courageously shares the real story, from the details of her demeaning and controlling relationship to the hard work of healing, a journey that culminated in her own successful television series, a live Las Vegas show, and the joy of motherhood.

It might seem a bit strange that I chose this one for “substance” but hear me out! “Girls Next Door” was the first reality TV show that I actually watched religiously. I was fascinated by the whole Playboy Bunny lifestyle and absolutely loved how calm/down to earth Holly was. When I first heard that she wrote a book I felt as if her time to prove that she has something substantial to say/contribute to the people who desired the Playboy Bunny lifestyle had finally come. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten around to reading the book until now, but I’m super duper looking forward to it.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

Public Library Services for the Poor: Doing All We Can

Synopsis: Among public institutions, the library has great potential for helping the poor and disenfranchised. For many, the library is their only source for information, entertainment, language skills, employment help, free computer use, and even safety and shelter. Experts Leslie and Glen Holt, with decades of service to inner-city communities between them, challenge librarians to do more for poor people. While recognizing the financial crunch libraries are under, the authors offer concrete advice about programs and support for this group, showing you how to *Train staff to meet the unique needs of the poor, including youth *Cooperate with other agencies in order to form partnerships and collaborations that enrich library services to the poor and homeless *Find help, financial and other, for your library This groundbreaking work demonstrates how five Key Action Areas adopted by the ALA Council (Diversity, Equity of Access, Education and Continuous Learning, Intellectual Freedom, and 2lst-Century Literacy) apply especially to this disadvantaged population, and motivates librarians to use creative solutions to meet their needs.

I love libraries and I love the public servant aspect of library work. Honestly, I do believe that if I wasn’t hellbent on becoming some form of librarian I would have considered a career in social work. Anywho, I’m partially reading this because it’s one of my sources for a paper that I’m writing, but I’m still looking forward to it!

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

Charlemagne

Synopsis: When Charlemagne died in 814 CE, he left behind a dominion and a legacy unlike anything seen in Western Europe since the fall of Rome. Distinguished historian and author of The Middle Ages Johannes Fried presents a new biographical study of the legendary Frankish king and emperor, illuminating the life and reign of a ruler who shaped Europe’s destiny in ways few figures, before or since, have equaled.
Living in an age of faith, Charlemagne was above all a Christian king, Fried says. He made his court in Aix-la-Chapelle the center of a religious and intellectual renaissance, enlisting the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin of York to be his personal tutor, and insisting that monks be literate and versed in rhetoric and logic. He erected a magnificent cathedral in his capital, decorating it lavishly while also dutifully attending Mass every morning and evening. And to an extent greater than any ruler before him, Charlemagne enhanced the papacy’s influence, becoming the first king to enact the legal principle that the pope was beyond the reach of temporal justice–a decision with fateful consequences for European politics for centuries afterward.
Though devout, Charlemagne was not saintly. He was a warrior-king, intimately familiar with violence and bloodshed. And he enjoyed worldly pleasures, including physical love. Though there are aspects of his personality we can never know with certainty, Fried paints a compelling portrait of a ruler, a time, and a kingdom that deepens our understanding of the man often called “the father of Europe.”

I absolutely loved Fried’s “The Middle Ages” so when I saw that he wrote a book about Charlemagne how could I possibly resist? Obviously, I chose this one for scholarship since Charlemagne is often thought of when people think of early European scholarship. I don’t exactly plan on finishing this one this month – just because it took me nearly a year to read Fried’s last book, but I do intend on knocking out a decent chunk.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

FICTION

The Name of the Rose

Synopsis: The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

Whenever ~literary~ people find out that I like to read and that I love medieval history they always ask “Have you read any Umberto Eco?” and when I say no they look at me as if I’ve just lied about my entire life. SO, I’m going to remedy that this month with this novel. I actually started on it last month and so far I’m enjoying the mystery aspect of it.

BORROW || PURCHASE

 

YESSIR.

That brings to a happy close my TBR goals for November. Let me know what you plan on reading this month or if you’ve read any of the books mentioned above!

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,
Rae