Monday, August 31, 2009

Against All Odds by Irene Hannon

Against All Odds (Heroes of Quantico Series, Book 1) Against All Odds by Irene Hannon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I don't read a lot of Christian fiction. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the genre has evolved since my last foray some years ago. And shame on me for not keeping up! Irene Hannon has done a good job of putting a lot of my fears about Christian Fiction aside.

The plot was a lot of fun and full of action The hints about upcoming heroes and heroines in the series are always fun to spot. The emotions felt by the hero and heroine were genuine. The chaste behavior was downright refreshing, as were the character's struggles with maintaining that behavior.

The heroine's relationship with her father and the circumstances surrounding his situation were well-explained. Great descriptions of the countryside involved in both locations.

Ummm...the security/body guard aspect? Boy howdy, some very important things were left undone by the security people. I can see how Ms. Hannon used them to advance the story. Unfortunately, the security team's mistakes were so blatantly negligent it made it difficult to suspend disbelief and completely enjoy the story.

In the name of Scotch-brand Adhesive Tape and drywall, what team does not check each and every window and door of each and every building on the ground with every walk-through? Who would time their rounds to be absolutely predictable? That aspect of the novel was a real WTHeckOMGoshBBQEleventyHotMess with a side of fries. Here's hoping Ms. Hannon finds less-blatantly obvious ways to advance the story in future.

I did run into another BIG problem. A problem that a lot of Christian Fiction publishers need to address. The hero's conversion from skeptic to full-blown, church-going, man of Christian faith was just too quick and too easy. After just reading a few parts of the Bible? After attending one service because the heroine didn't like to miss church?

The heroine's faith is too simply presented. She believes. But what does she believe?

What passages and emotions specifically drive the changes in both the hero and the heroine? If writing from a Christian viewpoint, then forge ahead with gusto. Make it interesting, keep the emotions strong and fully explored. Let the reader feel closer to God's glory.

Faith requires emotion. I would like to see that emotion explored as deeply as the emotions between hero and heroine in Christian Fiction. Relying on an unwritten assumption that everyone will understand because the readers tend to be all Christian is a failure of logic.

My Christian walk of faith tends to be different from those who prefer a more literal interpretation of the Bible. Some call it a more progressive faith, others a more liberal understanding. What do I know? God speaks all languages. I can still appreciate the Holy Spirit felt by those with that literal interpretation. Hit me with it!

I have a deep emotional connection with my faith. It is not simple. It is complex. I want to see that in Christian heroes and heroines. I want to know their faith journey. Share it.

Would I recommend this to readers of Christian Fiction?
Yes, first revealing that there is some violence and it is a contemporary romance. Some readers don't want the violence. Others don't want a contemporary

Would I recommend this to readers of Thrillers?
No. This is not a medical, legal, economic, or tech thriller. It is Romantic-Suspense, Christian-style.

Would I recommend this to a Man in a Bear Suit? Only if he specifically asked for a Romantic-Suspense, Christian-style book. Readers of romance tend to be women. (I do want to point out that there are many, many exceptions to this statement. And, let's face it. The guy in the bear suit may be into some uncommon sexual practices. This would not appeal to him.

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1 comment:

Bitterly Books said...

I have some follow-up questions!

-If a man asked you for a romantic-suspense, Christian-style book, would you recommend that he put on a bear suit before reading it?

-Would you recommend this book to readers of Christian Fiction who did want the violence, did want the contemporary, and did not want the romance?

-Would you recommend reading this while listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller? If not, what romantic-suspense, Christian-style music would you recommend as a suitable accompaniment?