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Book Review: Redemption by C. J. Barry

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

Sometimes I have no problem writing a review, because I have very strong feelings about a book one way or another—either love it or hate it.  But when I don’t have strong feelings about a book in either direction, writing a review becomes much more difficult.  Such is the case with Redemption by C. J. Barry.

The blurb, courtesy of C. J. Barry’s website:

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 quest for 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?

So I guess I’ll start with what I liked about the story.  I thought the concept here was very original.  In this world, each soul is given a destiny, a path of sorts, at the beginning of its life.  The idea is that each soul has certain lessons to learn, and the path it takes will help it learn those lessons.  But once on that path, each individual has free will to do what he or she chooses, whether good or bad.  Souls are reincarnated many times on their path to enlightenment.

This is where Reya comes in.  After talking a walk on the dark side, her path back to the light involves being a redeemer, an angel who recounts people’s sins right before they die and tries to get them to turn back to the light.  I did like the fact that Barry manages to convey this concept without being too overwhelmingly religious.  For someone who dislikes any religious connotations in their reading material, it might be a bit much.  For me, it wasn’t too bad, although I do tend to be wary of religiously themed reading.

The attraction between Reya and Thane is built up slowly throughout the book.  But I guess I just wanted…more.  I couldn’t tell whether their attraction—especially Thane’s toward Reya—was purely physical or something more.  Even when it came to the physical attraction, I just didn’t feel it the way I wanted to.

In fact, that pretty much sums up how I felt about the book as a whole: I continually found myself wanting more.  More sexual tension, more worldbuilding, more suspense, more…something  It’s not a badly written book, and it will probably work for a lot of paranormal romance readers, but I just couldn’t connect with it the way I was hoping.

Note: I received an ARC for review via NetGalley.  Redemption is available now in both paperback and e-book format.