My apologies to the author Ronie Kendig and publisher Bethany House for the delay in getting this review out.
Crown of Souls was a difficult read for me. The book is 470 pages. Print is normally like food to me, so the difficulty lay elsewhere. Let me explain, but first the plot.
The story begins in the middle of the action, with a gunshot wound on a beach. ‘Tox’ Russel, a toughened soldier of war, has been hit by an unknown sniper. He and his team, including his love interest, Haven, will discover that the man who shot him was a former team member, Alec King, gone rogue. King, after a tour in Iraq, has become terribly jaded by the horrors of war, some of them, in his view, caused by a corrupt chain of command, and a misguided sense of justice.
Over the course of the story, other evil forces are revealed, including a centuries old story involving a very powerful artifact, a crown which unleashes a power of death to the owner. Bodies lay strewn in the wake of King’s vigilante-like bloodbath, and Tox’s team, along with innocents in the middle east are targets. There are other interesting plot twists, such the military’s decision to fake Tox’s death, for his safety, so that even his parents have mourned his ‘death’.
The author’s decision to give Tox and the other characters multiple names nearly drove me crazy. For example, Tox, and he is not the only one, is also referred to as Tox, Cole, and Russel, without any form of discernible pattern that I could tell. I found myself making lists of character names inside the cover of the book so I could keep up. Then, the introduction of a supernatural object, the crown, was where she lost me again. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I had stopped being the reader and become an observer of a writing style that bothered me. I felt Tox’s character to be totally unbelievable, as I believed his stoic, military bearing and short clipped melodramatic dialogue to be exaggerated.
Then, after I’d finished to book, to exonerate Kendig, I went to a family wedding and encountered the exact replica of Tox Russell–I mean to a “T”! So in retrospect, I wouldn’t exactly recommend the book, but Kendig’s characterization of her main character is dead-on.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in return for my honest opinion.