Monday, January 3, 2011

Kindred by Tammar Stein

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  Miriam is an unassuming college freshman stuck on campus after her spring break plans fall through. She's not a religious girl--when pressed she admits reluctantly to believing in a higher power. Truth be told, she's about as comfortable speaking about her faith as she is about her love life, which is to say, not at all. And then the archangel Raphael pays Miriam a visit, and she finds herself on a desperate mission to save two of her contemporaries. To top it all off, her twin brother, Mo, has also had a visitation, but from the opposite end of the good-evil spectrum, which leaves Miriam to wonder--has she been blessed and her brother cursed or vice versa? And what is the real purpose behind her mission?

And here's what I thought:  Interesting story, but it just didn't resonate with me.   I never really warmed up to Miriam very much, and at times, just didn't understand her.  I mean, I got that she's completely unsettled by having an encounter with an angel, and that she's burdened by a mission she doesn't completely understand.  But, I never found her completely likable.   When she's interacting with her twin brother, Mo, she seems pretty normal, but in her interactions with other people, she sometimes comes across as being a bit abrasive.   I found one of the supporting characters, a tattoo artist named Emmett, to be pretty intriguing --- but Miriam's interactions with him seemed forced at times. 

I guess what I also didn't really enjoy a whole lot was what I felt was the somewhat heavy-handed religious aspect of the story.  It was interesting to learn about bits of the Jewish faith, but sometimes, it seemed a little odd, considering that Miriam states up front to the reader, "I am not a religious girl."   It seemed that in this story, she perhaps comes to terms with her faith, and that she becomes more religious.  However, by the end of the story, it all felt a bit .... weighty.   And this is a completely personal thing; I know that some readers might really feel that this aspect of the story is something they enjoy (which is perfectly okay, of course).   Personally, I just didn't get it, and found it distracting.   And, I'll state up front that her whole body-health reaction to the whole thing was a bit overdone for me, as well.   I think I can avoid a spoiler if I just say that the whole "mission from an angel" responsibility wreaks havoc on her personal health.  Graphically. 

So, summing up --- okay book, but just not my cup of tea.  The writing was a little sparse, which completely worked with the story and main character, and the pace was pretty even.  However, I never quite liked the main character, or felt completely interested in what was going to happen to her (maybe because I kind of predicted a lot of what turned out to happen in the book).    However -- please don't let my review keep you from trying this book.  Just because I wasn't wild about a book doesn't mean another reader won't love it.  :)

First sentence: "The first time I meet an angel, it is Raphael and I am eighteen."

Thoughts on the cover:  Interesting, the way the girl's face is somewhat obscured by her flowing hair, and the hint of wings behind her.  Didn't really reflect the way I felt Miriam described herself in the story ..... but it's an eye-catching cover.

I received this book as part of Book it Forward ARC Tours, so any pages/quotes may change upon final publication of this book, which is due out in February, 2011


Amanda said...

I received a review copy of this today and couldn't get into it either. Glad to know I'm not alone!

redhead said...

What an odd sounding book! but i do give it a few points for interesting cover art.

Analea said...

Woah, woah. The picture of the girl is practically the exact same one on the cover of The Angel Experiment by James Patterson...

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