Redemption by C.J. Barry

October 1, 2013 Review 0 ★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Redemption by C.J. BarryRedemption by C.J. Barry
Series: Soul #1
Published by Forever Yours on October 1, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook
Source: NetGalley
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Reya Sinclair is a Redeemer of Souls. Her mission is to give Earth’s most depraved sinners a shot at redemption just before they are slated to die. Her own redemption is on the line as she fulfills her duties, leaving a trail of dead bodies in her wake. It’s all going perfectly well until one detective takes notice, possibly bringing her salvation to a halt.

Thane Driscoll is a good cop who’s seen too many bad guys get away, including the man who murdered his father. He exacts his own style of justice, even if it costs him his humanity. A string of mysterious deaths leads him to a woman who’s not quite human and might hold the key to finding his father’s killer.

When death and shadows descend, New York City becomes a battleground for the forces of light and dark. As the body count rises and sparks fly between them, Reya and Thane race to uncover a terrible truth. Can one man hell-bent on revenge and one woman determined to save her eternal soul be enough to keep the planet from spiraling into darkness?

Redemption is a novel that very much explores the idea of redemption. Reya is a redeemer, meaning she goes around giving other people the chance to ask for redemption from their sins. But she’s not doing this out of the goodness of her heart, being a redeemer is her own penance as a way of seeking redemption for herself. During her attempts to redeem others, she is caught on camera and flagged by the police as a potential suspect. That’s where Thane comes in. He’s trying to catch her and bring her to justice. Of course, not everything is the way that it seems in this book, and instead of catching Reya, Thane ends up relying on her to keep him safe because the darkness is after him.

This was a really interesting book, and it touched on some interesting concepts like reincarnation, contracts for the life we plan on living when reborn, the idea that we have pre-chosen how we want to live our lives, and even third, fourth, and fifth dimensions (my brain hurts just a little bit just thinking about it all). And Atlantis! Atlantis is one of my obsessions, so having Atlantis was awesome! The plot itself made this an interesting story, because sadly, the characters fell flat to me.

Reya starts off as a fairly strong character. She’s gorgeous (of course) and has an attitude. I really liked her until Thane got involved and then she bounced between being strong, and turning into an insipid little girl who relied on the big strong man to save her. It felt a lot like the author was trying to write a strong female character, but didn’t know how to write a strong female character who could also feel love. Reya does mature in the end, and she does shift from being someone who only sees the world in black and white to someone who can see the grey areas in between.

Thane is bitter. When we first meet him he’s beat an internal affairs investigation into a shooting where he set it up to make it seem he’d killed the man in self-defense when the truth was that the other man had been unarmed. He was a bad guy, don’t get me wrong, but he was unarmed. Thane is dark at the start of this story, and he stays pretty dark throughout. This is a plot point, so I can totally understand why he needs to have that darkness throughout, however when he is eventually redeemed it’s not believable because we had no real indication that he could or should be saved beyond his being a main character and the romantic lead with Reya.

This is the first in the series, so I’m hoping that in the next novel the character issues will be worked out because really, other than that it was an enjoyable book to read. The pacing was strong, the action was spot on, and the descriptions were pretty good. There was even a bunch of discussion questions at the end of this book, which I really enjoy reading. I like having more opportunities to think about what I’ve read, but if you are in a book club the questions could make for some interesting discussions!

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