This review is about The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman. It’s the first book in a trilogy by the same name. I got this book in the Waterstones in Glasgow.
I started reading this about a month ago but I only got about 250 pages through. So I decided to give it another chance and I freed Sunday evening to finish the novel of
In the meantime, even though I didn’t really enjoy those first pages, I did buy the second one in a charity shop for just 75p. I hope the writing will get better in the second book because the idea for this series is really good.
“His name is Cale.
They told him he could destroy the world.
Maybe he will.
Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a place where children endure brutal cruelty and
violence in the name of the One True Faith. Lost in the Sanctuary's huge maze
of corridors is a boy. He is strange witty and charming, and violent. But when
he opens the wrong door at the wrong time he witnesses an act so horrible he
must flee, or die.”
The story is told from multiple points of view and I like that in novels. Especially in Fantasy it makes you understand the whole world better. Not here.
It seems like Hoffman put no thought at all in the world itself, politics, history etc. He wanted to tell a story and he did. But in Fantasy, I expect a thorough built world because it makes the story so much more believable. I didn’t get that in this novel.
This is marked as Fantasy or Dark Fantasy but I got the feeling I was reading a love story for at least half the book. Now I don’t mind a good love story but I couldn’t really fit it in this story. Cale being a ruthless killing machine without any experience in love, women, positive emotions or anything positive in life for that matter, I found it hard to believe he could fall in love that fast and so passionately. Arbell is one of the most beautiful women alive, she is respected and admired and though she hates Cale on sight, she falls in love with him eventually. Their relationship seems based on pity and good looks, not on an emotional connection or trust.
Cale is a real hero, saving the princess, making important decisions, being on the frontline of all the action and having the knowledge to fight the battles. He is a runaway, an orphan; he’s not even a Matterazzi, so why do the Matterazzi believe him? Why do they trust him, his opinion, his knowledge and what he’s capable of? I mean, WHY? But they do, or at least most of them do. It’s not realistic and it bothered me beyond extent.
Other characters like Kleist, Vague Henri and Riba are underdeveloped and almost forgotten for entire chapters. They really give meaning to the word supporting characters.
It’s a shame because I really like the central idea in this novel.