Book Review: The Hidden Soul

The Hidden Soul

By: Reagan Colbert

Summary: “The iron scales of the breastplate clattered together as he pulled it over his shoulders. A sound he would hate until his dying day.”

The worst day of Marcus’ life was the day his father enlisted him in the Roman legions. Five years later, his commanders have big plans for his career, but Marcus fears becoming a Centurion. He has a soul, his friend, Justus, says. When he loses that soul, he will finally accept his fate as a soldier.

When he is assigned to an execution, Marcus must face his soul in a way he never has before. He wants to believe that he will become the hardened officer his father once was, but when he encounters a strange man claiming to be the Son of God, his soul is stirred once more, and he sets out to find answers.

From the rocky hill called Golgotha, to a mysteriously empty tomb, and a hidden group of disciples in Jerusalem, the days that follow will change his life forever. (via Amazon)

This is 19-year-old Raegan Colbert’s first work, a retelling of Jesus’s crucifixion from the point of view of a fictionalized Roman soldier chosen to carry out the sentence.

I’ll be honest, this is not my usual fare, but I was impressed that the author had already been published at such a young age, and my curiosity won over my skepticism.

I’m so glad it did.

Pros:

Well Paced: When I saw that this book was only 58 pages long, I thought I was going to get a jumbled story that didn’t feel like it had time to be fully fleshed-out. Fortunately, I was very, very wrong. It didn’t feel like 58 pages. The plot spanned over about 4 or 5 days, so if you calculate it out, the author spends about 10 pages devoted to a day. There was enough time to familiarize myself with the physical environment and time period, before the action began, while simultaneously moving the story forward.

Sophisticated Writing: I have not read a lot of books  by teen authors, and even less that focus on a main character of the opposite gender to that of the author. I applaud Ms. Colbert’s ability to pull me into the journey. Though it was clear this was a special tale to her, I never felt as if she had insert herself into the story, nor did she venture too far into the “preaching” style of writing, as some books with an emphasis on spiritual content can. The parts that did place more emphasis on biblical elements of the story, rather than the plot as a book itself, we’re not overdone and did not distract from my enjoyment of the tale.

Cons:

Character Development: It is repeatedly referenced that Marcus does not like his position as a member of the Roman legions, but had to become one because he wanted to uphold his family’s legacy. I wish we would have gotten a little more insight as to why he felt so much pressure to do so. He is a different person by the end of the book than the soldier we meet at the beginning, but I would have liked to understand a little more about his background, so that I could be further invested in his personal journey by the time the story resolves. On Amazon, it is listed as the first book in The Roman Soul Series, so perhaps, if the author continues on, we might get a clearer glimpse of how Marcus came to be the man he was at the start of the book. Currently,I feel the book could be read as a stand-alone and be complete.

Overall: 4/5 Stars. Recommended for those who enjoy fictional books with spiritual themes or classic Bible tales retold.
Recommendation: Unfortunately, I do not have a book that I can recommend to go along with this, because I don’t read a lot of fiction in this genre. However, I am always open to trying something new. If you have a suggestion for me, feel free to leave it in the comments. 

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