Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Spotlight: Death of the Body (Crossing Death, Book 1) by Rick Chiantaretto (A Bearded Scribe Blog Tour)

Good Day, Beardies!

I was driving home from work the other day, rocking out to a little Bruno Mars on the local radio station. All of the sudden, the music turned to static and, in what seemed like incredibly slow motion, a car pulled out in front of me to turn left but stopped in my lane. I was driving the speed limit, which was 50 MPH for this particular strip of road, and all I could picture in my head was me T-boning this car. As I was slamming on my brakes and swearing under my breath, the car realized I was about to plow into him and he moved out of my lane, continuing on his way. The music came back on shortly thereafter, and I continued down the road toward my house. Normally, I would consider this an average daily commute, but after reading today's Spotlight, Beardies, I was freaking out. I'm still not fully convinced demons weren't somehow involved in this situation. Anyway, you guys, I cannot rave enough about this book! Let's get to it, shall we?

Edmund is a young mage growing up in a magical world called Orenda. Edmund has the special ability to communicate with the Earth through the wind and trees. When his hometown is overthrown by humans, he is killed—not by one of them, but by one of his own. Instead of dying, he finds himself in Los Angeles, living in an orphanage. He is left with his memories and abilities from his life in Orenda, but he must figure out who he is in Los Angeles, battling with demons out to get him while he tries to find a way back to beloved home world.

Gems for Writers:
World Building. Oh, the lovely, lovely language of this book. I could close my eyes and transport myself both to the magical world of Orenda as well as to Los Angeles in the orphanage, college dorm, etc. Mr. Chiantaretto paints the most beautiful picture with his words. He effortlessly lays out the scenes and the story is able to exist amazingly in this world he creates. From the description of the world, to the cast of characters, to the emotion of this book—it all kept me going. Edmund, our leading man, is everything I want from a character and more: intelligent, raw, honest, flawed, bold, and introspective. I love things that are dark and twisty and these demons who are hunting down our beloved Edmund, they do not disappoint. They are evil to the core and I liked it.

Relgious Tie-In. “What if all religions were stories, and all stories were true?” So, before I get a plethora of e-mails calling me a hypocrite because I have previously stated, “Christian books are not my thing.” that doesn’t mean I’m not down with religion. Mr. Chiantaretto’s reference and use of religion and religious themes is fantastic. Demons. Exorcisms. Catholic orphanage. Wiccan. Spells. Chants. Theology. As someone who was raised in a devoutly religious family, who lives in a devoutly religious place but believes in her own sort of rules for religion I could relate on so many levels with the ideas and conversations in the story. This story isn’t here to convince one religion is more correct than another, but is a vehicle for the story to move forward and have deeper meaning and feeling.

Atmosphere. If you’re in the market for a dark piece of urban fantasy then by golly, get this book. This was one of those books where I ignored my family for a day so I could just sit and read this straight through. I was there with the characters while they were experiencing what they were experiencing. I could feel what the characters were feeling and it was almost like the darkness that was described I could sense around me too. My heart would start to beat a little bit faster when stressful things were happening. All of that is because of the fantastic atmosphere.


If you haven't already figured it out—I LOVED this book. As soon as you're done reading this blog post I hope you'll download it, read it and then tell me what you think because I need someone to talk with about it

P.S. When I got a copy of the book, Rick included a little note to me and part of it said, "I hope you enjoy Death of the Body, while secretly hoping it keeps you up at night... but just a little." Instead of replying privately like most normal people do, I thought I would share my reply here, with you guys, too:
Dear Rick, 
Thank you for the opportunity to read Death of the Body. I look forward with bated breath for the rest of the series. As far as keeping me up at night—your book kept me up most of the night because I couldn't put it down! The extra coffee I consumed got me through the next day so all is forgivable. I see you just relocated from the SLC (that's Salt Lake City for you non-Utahn's). If/when you're back in town I'd love to stalk you—er—get together, buy you coffee and have you tell me what is going to happen to Edmund. Okay? Deal! 
Love your newest fan,

Until next time...

***Death of the Body (2013), by Rick Chiantaretto, is published by and copyright Orenda Press. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.

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