Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review - "Thief of Glory" by Sigmund Brouwer

Thief of Glory
by Sigmund Brouwer
Published by WaterBrook Press
336 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction, Christian Fiction
About this book:
"A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.

For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all."

 **Note: I do not recommend this book for anyone who is not an adult due to some gruesome and graphic scenes/descriptions and mature themes.**

First off I would like say that I chose this book because I love reading books about World War II (both fiction and non-fiction) and I was excited to see a new realistic Christian historical novel based on that time in history being published. When I chose this book to read I was expecting a realistic look at what happened in the Dutch East Indies during World War II which is what this book was. I didn’t chose this book because I wanted to read a Christian romance novel and I wasn’t expecting it to be a feel good book with a happy ending. I’ve read enough books about World War II to know about a lot of the gruesome, brutal, and horrific things that happened from all different sides of the war. That being said, even though I was expecting this to be a realistic WWII fiction book, I unfortunately didn’t enjoy this book.

For the most part the book was a well written book. After reading it I can tell that Sigmund Brouwer is a talented writer that is knowledgeable about or has done his research about the subjects he has written about. I had only read a couple of Sigmund Brouwer’s juvenile fiction books before, and although I did enjoy them, the writing was more of a simplistic style since the books were written for kids. That’s not the case in this book. The author has done a good job at making me feel like I’m living the events of the story just like the characters. Sometimes it wasn’t always a good thing for this book to be so descriptive though, and one part, although short, actually made me squeamish and that part wasn’t even war related.

This book didn’t really feel like a Christian book to me either. Yes, there were a few references to the Bible and to Christianity, but the book still felt like more of a mainstream novel than a Christian one due to some of the descriptions in this book and because of the way most of the characters acted. Half the time Jeremiah was angry at God and thought the Bible wasn’t true. The other references included the children reading Bible stories, a couple short parts where the characters had discussions related to the Bible, and there was a faith related part toward the end of the book, but it was very subtle and not detailed, unlike the other detailed parts in the book that I could have done without.

Also, while I didn’t choose this book because I wanted to read a Christian romance novel, because of the summary this book has I’m sure a lot of people will think that this book is mainly a romance novel. It’s not. While it does have some romance in it, for those looking for their next Christian romance novel to read, I am suggesting that you look for a different book.

I didn’t know anything about the Dutch East Indies during World War II, so I did enjoy the historical aspect of this book and would rate that part of it highly. There were also a few characters I liked in the story. But overall this book was depressing and heart wrenching and I didn’t care for some of the crude or overly detailed gruesome descriptions or details that were in it, some of which weren’t even war related that I felt the book could have done without. I was also hoping for more of a Christian theme to it or more Christian related content. Unfortunately, even with my love for reading books about World War II history, I just didn’t enjoy this book.

I am putting the negative parts and sexual references in this book in a spoiler as some of these things could be spoilers to the story.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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