Last Week on Inked Brownies

Review: Seed of Hope (Covenant of Grace #2) by Fiona Tarr

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Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published June 30th, 2015

I see you thinking, book two…where’s book one?! Fiona ensured me this could be read as a stand alone and she was definitely right. The happenings in book one were loosely described throughout book two, so I felt like I was all up-to-date!

I also see you thinking (yes, that’s you Drew): wait, what…is this Christian Fantasy??Reviewed by potty-mouthed Anne?! Why, yes, yes, it sort of is. Except that it’s more like Jewish Fantasy because Jesus wasn’t even born yet. I’m going to keep my language 100% kosher here, though!hebrew-national-250.gifBlurb (11)

The untold story of King David…… Good and evil will never be the same again…..

As rumours surface about the new King, his young wife and her unborn child, the prophet Nathaniel will insist that King David seek the Ark of the Covenant of God. Yet, with a trail of tortured bodies appearing from nowhere, with no explanation, it will be clear that General Martinez must be called back from retirement.

As General Martinez leaves his quiet and comfortable days in the field behind him, he will realise that a return to the service of the King must once more take priority over the pursuit of love.

The Egyptian Princess Jezebel will push the pain of betrayal from her mind, instead, replacing it with rage and a longing for revenge. Her magic and powers of seduction may not have been enough to bring the Israeli Kingdom to its knees, but now, the General, the King, and the Priestess will all pay for the death of her father and her banishment from the Royal Palace of the Pharaoh.

As the King seeks the Ark, a new mystery will arise. A new born child will be prophesied; a child of great influence and power. Many men of God will make claim to know the origin of the child, but only the little Holy man will truly know and understand. Old enemies will conspire, as the Universe will reunite old friends to save the life of a loved one, to find the Ark and to fight to restore balance once more.

Blurb (12)

The book started out pleasantly. I’m a big history geek, and biblical history is something which has always fascinated me as well. So when I saw that this book was about King David, I was interested right away.
David, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel and Judah from 1010–970 BC. That’s 40 years of reigning! I mean, sure, that doesn’t beat the 64 years of Queen Elizabeth, but for a time period where people were considered rather ancient at 40 years old in general, I think that’s quite impressive.

Most people will probably know King David from the story of David and Goliath. That’s not what Seed of Hope is about, though. Instead, we drop into the middle of another popular legend involving David: his affair with Bathsheba.

Bathsheba was the wife of one of David’s soldiers, Uriah the Hittite, who was murdered by order of the King. Bathsheba had become pregnant by David in Uriah’s absence. Although the King had ordered Uriah to return home and see his wife, he repeatedly refused to leave his post or leave the King’s presence to see her. Contact between the couple would have hidden the source of her pregnancy, but because Uriah refused to come back, he had to be ‘indisposed of’ to cover up the affair.
As a result of this murder, David was rebuked by the prophet Nathan. Furthermore, later turmoil in David’s household and throughout the kingdom of Israel, including the death of Bathsheba’s baby, was believed to be punishment for David’s sins of adultery and murder (source:Wikipedia).

Seed of Hope starts about here. Bathsheba has become David’s first wife and miscarried their baby. At the same time, we follow the storyline of the (fictional) commander of David’s army, Martinez, and his special Priestess ‘friend’ *wink, wink*, Francesca. Then there’s a third storyline of the Egyptian Princess Jezebel, a powerful witch/necromancer, and her father Jambres, an even more powerful evil figure. This is where fiction and non-fiction blend together perfectly. Jezebel has been saddled with a reputation as the bad girl of the Bible, the wickedest of women. This ancient queen has been denounced as a murderer, prostitute and enemy of God, and her name has been adopted for lingerie lines and World War II missiles alike.
As far as I know, Jezebel had nothing to do with King David in the bible itself, but Fiona Tarr did an awesome job at making you guess what’s historically accurate and what isn’t.

For those of you who are bored to tears by now because you’re not into history or biblical stories, I’m going to mention that this book really isn’t preaching anything or being overly religious. In fact, to someone who’s completely unacquainted with the aforementioned stories of King David, this could just be read as a regular fantasy book. For instance, there’s necromancy, powerful witchcraft, and the entering of spirit realms and the Underworld. The spirit travel scenes actually reminded me of some of Marion Zimmer Bradley‘s books, which is the type of fantasy you have to think of in general here.

All storylines eventually intertwine in the search for the Ark of the Covenant. I always have to think of Indiana Jones when I hear about it, but you can sum up the principal of the ark like this as well:

“So, Anne, being the nitpicker you always are, what are the cons?”

1. The constant shifting of the POV’s. I don’t mind short chapters and POV-shifting in general, but I think the formatting could (and should) be adjusted to make the jumps more obvious and less confusing.

2. Apart from the ending, most of the story was quite predictable.

3. The characters are unbelievably ignorant. Team David already had a massive encounter with Jezebel and her father in the first book, yet now that strange things are happening again, they just can’t put their finger on who’s responsible for it…
Who was this woman with magical powers?! hqdefault (1).jpg4.  Repetitiveness. Certain topics or feelings are mentioned again and again. Yes, person X has had a crappy childhood, no need to keep on repeating that by using practically the same phrases.

5. The almost non-existence of any sort of time indication. In one chapter, someone has a miscarriage. In the next chapter, the same woman’s belly is already swollen again…while the rest of the story doesn’t seem to have progressed much for such a relatively long time span. So yes, some better formatting plus maybe adding a notion of time would really improve the reading experience.

Should you read this book?

I still recommend it indeed! If you can look past the cons mentioned here above and just want to read an original piece of Historical Fantasy Fiction, you should definitely give it a go.
I’m giving this book 3.5 brownies because the concept was interesting and original, and because I liked it.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add at least a tiny bit of inappropriateness to this review,so I’m going to leave you guys with this quote I came across in the beginning of the book. It made my immature inner goddess giggle ;).

“As the son of a whore, he had seen hard times.”

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A big thank you to Fiona Tarr for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest opinion!

Links to the book:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Bol.com (Dutch Retailer)
Goodreads

About Anne (231 Articles)
Dutch book reviewer who reviews in English. Grammar nazis beware!! I like brownies. And chamomile tea.

43 Comments on Review: Seed of Hope (Covenant of Grace #2) by Fiona Tarr

  1. Great review and had to smile at the beef sausage picture, even Anne don’t need to swear when she’s got a mouth full of sausage! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. rashthedoctor // 05/09/2016 at 15:49 // Reply

    I don’t mind the whole shifting POV thing , but I am pretty ignorant on the Biblical stuff, if I ever pick this book i’ll have go through a whole lot of Wikipedia stuff first , and that seems like a lot of bother but maybe one day I’ll read it , great review

    Liked by 1 person

    • Naah, you don’t need know anything about the Bible. In fact, it could probably even be read better without knowing anything about it :). Thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Rashthedoctor. No bible knowledge is necessary, really. Anything that has any need to be explained is touched on in the story. It’s just like watching Exodus or Noah in the movie theatre, it really is pure fiction with a historical base. If you have ever watched anything like Ben Hur (new version coming out soon), or read Wilbur Smith, then you will be fine. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • rashthedoctor // 06/09/2016 at 06:51 // Reply

        thanks for the info , i have actually seen all of the mentioned movies, guess i’ll give it a go sometime in near future

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous and entertaining review! Love the gifs you used and you made what could have been a boring retelling of the book into a fun ride… high fives

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My interest in biblical history is fairly new (within the last few years). I am not sure I could get beyond ignorant characters and repetitiveness though. But you almost sold me with that line “As the son of a whore, he had seen hard times.” and your sausages! Great review Anne. I have been waiting to see how this one turned out for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh and where exactly is your “twitter” button missy? It seems to be missing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hahah another awesome review! Even though I’m pretty religious I’m not usually a fan of Christian fiction… But maybe I’ll try this one 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Biblical themes are not my thing but I did enjoy reading your review, very thorough ! I feel like I learned already something by reading this 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I read biblical and I run away, that’s because of years of catholic school and bible study. But that quote… :p Loved your review. I can’t imagine what you’d do with a biblical-themed book read along xD

    Liked by 2 people

  9. bookheathen // 07/09/2016 at 19:01 // Reply

    I like the premise. If it wasn’t 432 pages I might read it. I’m having trouble coping with longish novels at the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it definitely could’ve been shorter, but then again, it’s Fantasy so they’re usually hefty tomes :). Maybe you’re in a semi reading slump 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, thanks for that feedback Bookheathen. I was paranoid it was too short 🙂 So many fantasy books go on and on like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time….

      Liked by 1 person

      • bookheathen // 09/09/2016 at 20:35 // Reply

        I’m sure it’s as long/short as it needs to be. A story sort of dictates its own length, doesn’t it? It’s just that with other projects going on I need to restrict my reading to a few 200 or so-pagers for the present.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Stories definitely dictate their own length, at least that’s what I have found. Totally understand the reading restrictions. I don’t read anywhere near as much as I would like, strange for a writer I know. Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Good luck with the busy schedule.

          Liked by 2 people

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