Exile: Book 1 in the Oneness Cycle – A Review
This week, Steph Nickel reviews “Exile: Book 1 in the Oneness Cycle. The book inspires her to read the entire Oneness Cycle Series.
Exile: Book 1 in the Oneness Cycle
I first read Exile, which is Book 1 in Rachel Starr Thomson’s “The Oneness Cycle,” several years ago.
And this September, I reread it while I was on a camping trip with my hubby.
The Amazon blurb reads like this:
The battle is real. Page-turning, suspenseful Christian fantasy on the border between earth and spirit.
When Tyler fishes the girl out of the bay, he thinks she’s dead.
She wishes she was.
For Reese, life ended when the supernatural entity called the Oneness threw her out. For Tyler, dredging Reese out of the water means life is nothing he thought.
In a world where the Oneness exists, nothing looks the same. Dead men walk. Demons prowl the air. Old friends peel back their mundane masks and prove as supernatural as angels.
The Oneness changes everything.
The Second Time Through
Because this was the second time I read the book, it was as if I was revisiting old friends, including Reese, Tyler, Chris, and so many others.
This blurb doesn’t really do the book justice.
This quote from Chapter 1 gives readers a glimpse of “the story behind the story”:
She saw it coming and jumped back an instant before the huge, black thing shattered the window and went straight for her throat. … Reese stood in the midst of the shattered glass, breathing hard and staring at the object in her hand. Behind her, first Tyler and then Chris tumbled into the side room.
“What is that?” Tyler blurted, pointing at the corpse on the floor, at the same time that Chris demanded, “Why are you holding a sword?”
Why indeed? She’d not thought to hold one ever again. …
Tyler lurched forward and kicked at the body, turning it over. He blinked. “It’s a bat? But …”
A Quote From Chapter 2
And then there’s this quote from Chapter 2.
Diane ignored her son, instead keeping her eyes fixed on Reese. Compassion, crushing with the weight of the girl’s words, flooded her. The haunted eyes, the obvious grief, the plunge into the sea—it all made sense now. But there was more to this than one young woman’s grief, and Diane found that deep within, she quivered.
This gives you just a taste of the story and the author’s writing style.
The story propels readers forward. Plus, there are many relatable, distinctive characters throughout. And for many, if not all, of us, we want to relate to one or more of the character’s in the stories we read. They should seem relatable and believable, no matter what the genre.
Reese feels rejected and cast aside. Yet, there is still a plan for her life. Plus, things just may not be what they seem.
Tyler is a young man who has already experienced much grief and heartache, but what lies ahead fills him with wonder and leads to a whole new perspective on reality itself.
Chris is solemn and serious, a hard worker with a past filled with questions, questions he needs answered.
A Special Figure
And then there’s Diane, Chris’s mom … There’s something special about her, but she is unwilling to fully embrace who she is. Unforgiveness and sorrow have held her back for years.
You may already find yourself able to relate, in some way, to one or more of these characters.
Plus, there are several others in the book, many of whom I hope will play significant roles in the rest of the series.
A Writer Friend
I should mention that a writer friend of mine who enjoys this genre and teaches on the topic of writing from a deep point of view had some issues with the book. She found herself asking from Page 1 why the characters were doing what they were—and not in the good way that had her turning pages to find out what happened next. She felt it just wasn’t believable.
Plus, and I noticed this too, the author doesn’t strictly stay with one character’s point of view in any given scene. There isn’t a noticeable amount of what’s known as “head hopping,” but the issue may stand out to those of us who prefer it when a story is told from a deep point of view.
(Deep POV is the difference between sitting in the passenger seat while the point of view character does the driving and actually sitting in the character’s lap, seeing and experiencing what the POV character does “in real time.” And even more than that, you get to be inside the character’s head—but no one else’s. So, is that as clear as mud?)
Enjoyed Reading Exile
Still, I very much enjoyed reading Exile for a second time, something I rarely do with so many books on my To Be Read pile.
If you enjoy Christian fantasy—more allegory really—I encourage you to pick up Exile and see what you think.
The Oneness Cycle reminds me of Frank Peretti’s books. If you like this type of story, I especially encourage you to read Rachel Starr Thomson’s Exile.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book—or any others you’ve read recently.
You can contact me through my producer’s page.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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