(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
This was, I have to say, a book I had high expectations of that turned out to be a disappointment.
The very first scene was one that started out with a lot of potential, but even by the last quarter of the book, I still had no real idea what the main plot was supposed to be. And the last quarter culminated in an ending that left a very bad taste in my mouth.
I really struggled to form any kind of emotional connection to Jacob. I felt that there was far too much telling rather than showing going on, particularly when it came to his wife and son. They were bland and literally only seemed to appear when they were relevant to Jacob at the time. I had no idea what he thought of them and even when they died, I couldn’t believe that Jacob really grieved for them.
Jacob’s character seemed to go through no real change or evolution. Joseph ben Matthias was actually someone who seemed to go on a better journey than Jacob. I would have preferred seeing him as the main character, as his own struggles made him a more interesting person.
This book read very much like a book of facts, rather than an intriguing historical fiction book. There was too much in the way of information dumping and I lost a lot of my sympathy for Jacob with certain actions he took. What did he care about? Who did he care about? By the end of the book, he’d supposedly lost his faith, but I didn’t feel he really had any to begin with.
I felt this novel suffered from too much exposition and lack of character development. While there was obvious research put into this book, I could have done without having every little bit clubbed over my head.
While the ending could have been an interesting theory, I felt the cat had been let out of the bag far too early on and that it really didn’t add anything to a book I struggled to get through. I feel it might be of interest to conspiracy theorists… but on a personal level, as a reader, it didn’t live up to my expectations and fell very short.