Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Shepherd's Prayer by Katja Willemsen

Shepherd's Prayer by Katja Willemsen
Synopsis (Goodreads):
When Raisin Radcliffe and her brother, Geoffrey, stumble on a labyrinth of caves underneath an ancient dolmen in the French Pyrenees, she forms a mysterious kinship with a sun-seared tribeswoman. Vision or reality? She isn’t sure. Geoffrey thinks she is seeing things.

Then a village boy, Nicolas, is kidnapped by a violent cult. Their demand? Shut the nearby prehistoric cave, Grotte des Loups, or the child dies.

Frustrated with police inefficiency, Geoffrey becomes obsessed with finding Nicolas, and pulls Raisin into his desperate hunt. Soon they too become the cult's prisoners, and are transported deep into the bowels of the Grotte des Loups cave where they are coerced into a macabre ritual involving the stolen boy, wolves and a sacrifice.

In helping her brother save Nicolas, Raisin must confront the trauma of their own childhood.
My Thoughts: I had a tough time with this book. For the most part, my discontent stemmed from spending the first half of the book not understanding why Raisin and Geoffrey were at each other's throats one minute and then happy-go-lucky the next. The mood swings were eventually explained but it took a lot to get to the point where I understood where they were coming from.

Here's the thing, I'm not a fan of tossing around spoilers. Unfortunately, one of the things I had an issue with can't be explained without giving away a pretty hefty chunk of plot. So, I'm going to be vague. I'm honestly at a loss as to how Raisin (I had a tough time with her name, btw. I did a double take every time I read it.) and her brother were raised. Am I misinterpreting that when their parents got divorced, Geoffrey went with his dad and Raisin stayed with her mom? The whole dynamic there wigged me out.

Anyway. I did like the creepiness of the cult and they things they planned to do. They were downright brutal in their approach to getting what they wanted when they wanted it. On the other hand, I was never quite clear on what, exactly, they were trying to achieve with their craziness.

Honestly, I feel like I missed half of what was going on because I got so wrapped up in trying to figure out where Geoffrey and Raisin were coming from and why they seemed to hate one another every other chapter. I never really connected with the characters because I didn't understand what was driving Geoffrey to put himself and his sister in danger until close to the end. I thought the way Raisin treated Matt was downright childish and I wanted to shake some sense into her.

While the storyline of the caves and the insanity of the cult was intriguing, it wasn't able to bridge my disconnect with the characters.

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Reading challenges: Ebook Challenge
Shepherd's Prayer was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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