Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandes

As I'm writing this post, it is approximately ~96 hours post my wisdom teeth extraction (all four removed, all majorly impacted), and as much as I would love to say that this whole process has been a total piece of cake, it's pretty much been the opposite. I've been doing a liquids-only diet since Thursday, and let's just say that that is not a way that I want to continue living, and I could never willingly do one of those liquid detox diets. Here's to hoping for solid foods today!

With all that being said, I'm feeling fairly lucid at the moment, so this review should be plenty coherent, as I did proofread is a fair amount of times, but just in case there is anything a big confusing... we all know why. Now, on to the review!

**The Secret Book of Kings will be published Tuesday, August 23rd!**

The Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandes. St. Martin's Press, 2016. Ebook. 416 pages. 

*I receved an ARC of the The Secret Book of Kings courtesy of St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The Secret Book of Kings is an intricate and carefully crafted historical fiction story set within a Biblical era context. The story follows the character of Shlom'am as he grows up and makes many discoveries and journeys. While I started off this book strong with every intention of reading the whole thing, I slowly felt my interest begin to wane about a quarter of the way through  - something in the book kept me reading, so I did end up finishing it, but I'm not sure what exactly it was that kept me going.

This book is filled with information regarding the time period and the various peoples and lands that existed, which provided a very realistic and thoroughly created setting, which is an aspect of Brandes' writing that I admire. She clearly takes her time with research and the development of her world and setting. However, while I enjoyed much of this background information, I have to admit that often felt rather overloaded by the sheer amount of information and small details, and a result sometimes found the story hard to follow. I grew bored at times and had a hard time drawing myself back into the story.

The characters that Brandes brings to life are all rather alluring when we are first introduced to them, and almost every single character seemed to have a unique, interesting background story that was actually rather interesting to explore. The problem that I had with some of the characters, such as Shlom'am, is that they seemed to end up being rather flat. What I mean is there is initial potential with their personality and role in the story, but as the story progressed, I didn't really become more interested or excited about them - it wasn't very dynamic or multi-dimensional. Also, with such a large cast of characters, it was hard to keep track of certain people, especially since some seemed quite similar to others.

I feel that The Secret Book of Kings suffered a bit through the translation, and perhaps that is why certain parts and dialogue felt jilted and stiff. I wish I could have read this in its original language, as I feel that that would make some areas of the book flow better than what I read.

I would recommend this book to those who are strong historical/Biblical fiction fans rather than those who are casually interested in the genre. Overall, Brandes is clearly a talented and detail-oriented writer, but unfortunately was unable to completely hold my interest, and thus I will be giving The Secret Book of Kings three stars.

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  1. That is my greatest fear when reading a translated book - things lost in translation. No matter how hard translators work, the essence of the book, of lines, and characters do get affected after they are turned into another language. It will never be the same as being able to read it in the original language. That's the reason why I don't read YA in Spanish unless it's original language IS Spanish.
    With that said, this book does sound like a good read. I wouldn't read it but I know my mom or my grandfather would enjoy it.
    I hope you do get to eat solid today & heal soon! ♥

  2. Eeek! I didn't realize this was a translated book. I have it on pre-order. Hmm. Hmm. I have a few more days to decide...