“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
Book: Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles, Book One)
Author: Jaye L. Knight
Publisher: Living Sword Publishing
Length: 523 pages
“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.
Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.
Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.
Faith in Elom is ruminated on; characters pray; a revolt against God is mentioned; false gods are described and worshiped; it is questioned in a character has a soul; Elom’s faithfulness is discussed; characters talk about when they were saved.
Gladiatorial fights are described; characters are beaten; beheadings are witnessed; characters get into fights; the brutality of a character’s past is alluded to; characters are murdered, attacked and injured, executed, and tortured.
Rape and abortion are alluded to; characters kiss.
For most of the books I review, it’s fairly easy to remember I’m taking notes for the review. Not so with Resistance. Though I’ve read it multiple times, I kept finding myself having to go back and reread so I could jot down the needed information. It’s not often I’m completely swept away in a book, but every time I read Resistance I am thoroughly entrenched in the world of Ilyon.
Every aspect of this book is masterful.
First, the faith and religious elements. Christian faith is weaved into this book’s very core. The characters’ faith is real – they’re strong in their faith, but humanity is shown when they worry and question. Pro-life undertones are also weaved in, both against abortion and in the message that no one is beyond redemption and God’s faithfulness. The false religion and it’s gods are also well-developed in their origins, how they affect society, how they’re worshiped, and even what they look like.
Second, the characters. I’ve read many contemptible villains, but those in Resistance have to be some of the best. They have depth, aren’t just awful “for the fun of it”, and are despicable in every way. There are many nasties in this book, and all are different with different goals and personalities. The protagonists are equally well-developed. I especially like how there is a noticeable difference in the faith between those who are “younger” believers and those more mature. That lends authenticity few fantasy authors are able to incorporate.
The relationship between Kyrin and Kaden is one everyone with a sibling can identify with. Even though I think Kyrin is a delightful character, between the two, Kaden is my favorite. Rayad and Jace and their touching father-son relationship; Trask and Anne and Trask’s relationship with his father; and the multi-faceted relationship between the Altair twins and their respective family members combine to create real, sympathetic characters.
Third, the plot. In fantasy, rebellion and resistance are common. Many are well-written. This series exceeds most, landing itself on the top tier. With the ancient Rome/rustic forest combination, the story of resistance against tyranny finds its beginnings. Multiple characters and secondary plots combine in an eventful way that keeps the story alive. I’ve read what’s released of the entire series thus far, so it’s hard not to give spoilers, but Resistance does so well in setting up the rest of the series.
There are few series I’ve recommended more than Ilyon Chronicles, and Resistance in particular. While the book is powerful no matter when you pick the book up, the message of resisting evil and standing for truth especially hits home when you read it right now. The pen (or keyboard, in this case) truly is powerful, and Jaye uses that power and an incredible ability to weave words to remind the reader no matter what they face, no matter their past, no matter how the world deviates from God and truth, and no matter how much opposition we face, we can always stand for what’s right.
If you haven’t read Resistance, you need to.