Book #101: Chiaroscuro by Matthew S. Cox

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God’s will be done.

After eleven years as a priest living by these words, Father Antonio Molinari never imagined who would teach his strongest lesson of faith―a vampire.

Part of a secret order within the Vatican, he is sent to investigate and debunk supernatural events. A case of possession brings him to the French countryside, where two local clergy offer him the chance of a lifetime. They claim to have captured a vampire, and beg his expertise in helping them study the fiend.

When their monster turns out to be a little girl, cursed to spend eternity hiding from the sun, he cannot bring himself to destroy her. The priests, mistaking his compassion for diabolism, panic, and his efforts to protect an innocent child prove fatal.

He awakes caught between light and darkness.

Hunted by the Church he once served as well as the fiends he once destroyed, Father Molinari clings to the faith there is still room for him in God’s plan.

But God is quiet, and the darkness so tempting.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Talk about a book to think about. The concept and emotional impact of the book left me with a loss of words. I’m still trying to comprehend the ending. I understand that it happened, the words and images aren’t confusing, but I’m not sure how it happened. I’m not sure if there is a reason or if it was something otherworldly.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, the book is about Father Molinari and his quest at redemption and saving the soul of a little girl, Sabine. Father Molinari is a priest who has seen many things, but Sabine is an outlier. He has never seen a child vampire, let alone one who isn’t afraid of the crucifix around his neck. He takes it upon himself to help her and in the process becomes like her.

Now that’s out of the way, I found this book to be slow in the beginning. The first chapter grabs you and Sabine does as well, but some parts of the book are slow winded. You are seeing a man questioning his faith and his observations of innocence and the change of the world. It can’t be all action and crazy.

That said, I did get pulled in once I actually took the time to experience the book. I found myself wanting Molinari to find a solution and for the two of them to be happy. He has done so much for Sabine that I almost felt upset over the ending. I had to put the book down and think about what I just read to even understand the impact.

The one thing I have to say, because I can’t tell you and spoil the book, is that this is a very internal read. You need to experience the emotions and see the comparison to the story Sabine loves, “The Mouse and The Candle”, and the events of the book. I could probably write a mini literary analysis to this story if I went back and read it again.

Books like that excite me.

Now, if you’re looking for hack and slash action, there is some, but the core of the book is the internal struggle of the characters. I wasn’t expecting that and it caused me to pause at times. Once I realized I was reading it the wrong way, I began to appreciate the book better. I want you to know that.

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