Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review - The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

The Left Hand of God
by Paul Hoffman
Published 2010
384 Pages

At a running length of 436 pages, The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman stands at an interesting point between tombs designed for young adults, and adults who wish to be young. Genre aside, classification of this type of book shall remain solely in the religious-fantasy-fiction category -- and rightly so. 

The premise follows a 14-year-old Thomas Cale, whose entire life (or of that he can remember) is spent within the confines of a holy sanctuary run by the cruel, malicious, and just downright mean redeemers. For all intents and purposes, the redeemers are asses. With public displays of torture, it would seem their sole intent is to break the will of those unfortunate enough to be in their possession; exclusively young boys. 

As a result of their continued maliciousness, several of the boys are executed in stunn
ing detail. Gore and descriptions of such, have been integrated into the read by Hoffman with what I tend to suspect, a rather substantial enthusiasm. In some cases, the description of horror enacted by the Redeemers goes beyond (I would like to think) a young adult's repertoire, and borders adult-level magnitude. Some may like this and in certain places it is appropriate, but not at every passage describing some nasty thing happening. 

The mentor (and tormentor) of Cale surrounds one particular Redeemer who goes by the name of “Redeemer Bosco.” Bosco suspects that Cale is ‘special’ in ways others are not. In fact, throughout the read, Hoffman makes it strikingly clear that Cale has some sort of magical power – be that of truly magical or bred into him by the Redeemers, Cale can do feats no one else can. He has unique abilities – some of which identifies with the cast of Assassins and hence begins to set up a continuation of Cale’s story beyond that of the sanctuary. That is, is he being trained as a holy assassin?

While we are given hints of Cale’s true nature throughout, the books primary focus surrounds his escape from the Sanctuary to the glitter-city of Memphis (the non-Nashville type). When Cale manages to escape through the badlands en route, the Redeemers go on the hunt to return Cale to Bosco which inevitably leads to several deaths.

The Left Hand of God stands with an interesting premise and is generally a fun read. Easy to lose yourself in Cale’s escape from the Redeemers, as a reader, you are left wanting more information on several topics such as ‘Where did the Redeemers come from and what is their overall purpose?’, and ‘Why is Cale special and how did he get that way?’ Turning the pages faster and faster, the information trickles in and leaves you in a cliffhanger at the very end and, I might say, a bit of a rut.

This is the first book in a trilogy – the next being called The Last Four Things. My own personal recommendation is 3 ½ stars, and I look forward to the next book.

Reviewed by Matt


1 comment:

  1. Great review. May have to check this one out!


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