Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Warriors of the Cross by T. R. Graves

Warriors of the Cross - Now Available
Description: Allison La Crosse, beginning a challenging family medicine residency, leaves the protection of her family. With the transfer, her worst nightmares come true. Her closely guarded mystical talents – those which seldom appeared before the move – unleash themselves from her confinement and reveal their presence with very little provocation. Allison’s most terrifying power is her compulsion to cure the dying with her touch. Given her career, this gift would be valuable if she were not drawn like a magnet to the ailing person's every symptom. Some of which are fatal.



Warriors of the Cross begins with Allison La Cross - a seemingly mundane girl working her way through medical training, trying to decide between two possible soul mates, and keep her lovably crazy family in check.

Then everything changes.

The prologue snaps the reader to attention with an alluring scene - a mysterious death and devastating undeath. From there, a physical pull makes it impossible to put down. Well-paced and beautifully written, once you begun the enticing read - you won't be able to stop.

It's rare that I'm a fan of first-person perspective narration, but I really love it here. Not only is the character genuine and sweet, but she's also very "real". Her family's embarrassing and quirky. Her sister is dealing with divorce. She's awkward around beautiful men, and as modest is as modest does - she's refreshingly humble. Despite her talents (some beyond her wildest imagination, only partially out of denial), natural intelligence, and effortless ability to catch the eye of men, she's modest and quirky and reserved, managing to harbor the best intentions - even when it hurts. In addition to the winning but realistic behaviors and personality, her life feels very real too. As someone who has had many hospitalizations in life, it's not hard for me to tell the author has medical background. The set-up of the heroine's employment and research is fantastically written, and practically tangible. It's easy to relate to her stress and anxieties with the ground-breaking changes in her life encountered from the start of the book. The situation gets the ball rolling, and the plot propels straight through.  

From the very beginning, the world-building is effectively set in a setting brilliantly grounded by the character's train of thought and memory. It manages to capture beautiful descriptions, but being the heroine's observations prevents it from being so "heavy" that the reader gets lost. The story does have religious elements as well, but the story isn't completely about them, and there's no worries that it would be overwhelming. In the case that the reader does not have religious background, it's unlikely that they would understand the religious significance of some references.  

This book is so unique. While themes of fate, love, good, and evil unfold, a dark and eerie creation begins manifests the moment they visit an estranged landmark. Despite the magnificent darkness within the book, it also as a remarkable light behind it. True to the religious nature of the powers and purpose, it's also exceptionally clean. While the concepts are intelligent and require a mature reader to grasp, it's appropriate for younger readers in the sense that it's certainly not derogatory or overtly sexual. The youth of the character in her mid-twenties would appeal to young adults, while her distinct maturity and intelligence would appeal to everything above.

As the first in the series, an underlying sense of "building" for the future novels is undeniable - but is also extremely effective in making the reader want more at the end. Especially after an ending that makes the reader rethink everything... I'm dying to know what happens next!

With a super-cool birthmark, an amazing ability, a ploy on destiny, a fierce fate, and a swoon-worthy love triangle (not to mention an absolutely stunning cover!!) in the brew -- what's not to love?     

At the end of reviews, I typically recommend the book for a particular fan group for certain media. This is so different from anything I've read, I'm not sure this audience has been entirely discovered yet -- which is always exciting! The fascinating abilities of the characters would appeal to fans of Farsighted by Emlyn Chand. The dreamy island, beach house, and The Sisters would appeal to fans of Wanderlove by Belle Mallory. The "Clark" dynamic and "Suri" problem would appeal to fans of The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine. The "Brody" dynamic would appeal to fans of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (He reminded me of Jace on more than one occasion). The religious mission would appeal to fans of Rapture by Phillip W Simpson. The destinct voice of the heroine and 'Southern' family will attract fans of The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris.The hospital setting and medical co-workers would appeal to fans of House. This has something for everyone, but my lack-of-pinpoints proves you'll have to read it to know if you like it. Either way -- it's definitely a must-read.

Recommended. :)

Where to find T. R. Graves:
Where to find Warriors of the Cross:
Where to find Guardians of the Cross:


T. R. Graves said...

Thank you so much for reading Warriors of the Cross. Your review and summary are amazing...and humbling. After putting so many hours into writing Warriors of the Cross & Guardians of the Cross, it's good to hear there are readers who like the characters, the story, and the setting.

Miranda said...

You're welcome!!! :) Thank you for sharing it with me.

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