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{March 24, 2011}   Act Of Redemption: First Book Of The Gastar Series, by C.C. Cole

Synopsis from Goodreads: “The once-great city of Gastar now stands underpopulated and in ruins following centuries of war against an evil priesthood.  Now a demon lord arrives with plans for annihilation of the people and plans to create a half-demon, half-human son to stay and rule after Gastar becomes an extension of hell.  A trio of former soldiers arrive to help the people regain their battle skills and hope for victory.  An unexpected ally arrives, the teen assassin Shevata, who participated in a rescue mission in hell to rescue living hostages.  Upon her return to the human world, she was cursed by having her soul removed after killing an evil priest without a death order.  Her presence gets the attention of the demon lord, as he knows her from the experience in the underworld as a powerful adversary.  Shevata, the humans, a human traitor, the demon lord, his son, and Shevata’s dragon mentor ignite the spark that drives this fast paced action story to its dramatic end with more to come.”

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This was a really interesting read; I have not come across anything like it before.  In a post-apocalyptic world, the human race is plagued by powerful demons trying to make the human world another realm of hell, through the decimation of all humans.  Each chapter intricately juxtaposes the human world with the demon world, keeping the reader up-to-date with the happenings in both realms as the story unfolds.  The prologue sets the stage for the novella, dropping the reader straight into the midst of an age-old war between good and evil.  From the very first page the action ensues, never waning until the completion of the novel.

The first chapter begins in medias res, 200 hundred years after the prologue, and 350 years after the end of the Great War.  Although the Great War may be over, the battle for the human world still ensues; hence, pure souls are released, along with Shevata, the protagonist, back into the world to combat evil.  While not all the background information is clear in the beginning, Cole intricately designs her novel to help the reader piece together all that has happened over the past 200 years.  As the novel picks up in the middle, it only makes sense that the reader will have questions as he/she reads; some of the answers will come quickly, while others will not be answered until the near end of the novel.  Utilizing this tactic, Cole creates suspense for the reader—nothing is necessarily what it seems.  Usually I am an instant gratification reader, but Cole did a phenomenal job filling in just enough gaps to keep me turning the pages, always wanting more.  While not all questions are answered in this first segment, fear not!  Act of Redemption is the first novella in a series of four, and like all series, some questions will be left unanswered until later segments.

Act of Redemption takes a deep look into the fine line between good and evil and the use of violence on both sides.  This dark teen fantasy novella is sure to be a hit with readers of all ages, though I would recommend it for 13+.  I am putting this on my outside reading project for my students, and I am excited to get their feedback about the novella as well.  The second installment of the series, Children of Discord, just recently released in January, and I cannot wait to read it!  Four stars.

Check out the book trailer:

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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