Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sleight of Hand by Deanne Blackhurst

I was asked to review this book by Tristi Pinkston.

Sleight of Hand was described to me as a speculative fiction book.  I was unfamiliar with that term,  but because Tristi Pinkston is good at asking me to read and review books, I was curious enough about it to agree to read it.

The story is based on the life of Daniel Cabrero and how he is forced to look at his life honestly after he dies.  He has decisions to make on how he wants to spend eternity and if he is willing to actually atone for his mistakes.  Throughout the book, his "guide", Jonah, is there to help him through the process.

The story itself is compelling and I found myself constantly thinking about the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" while reading it.  Looking at one's life, in particular our bad decisions, through honest reflection forces us to see how we have hurt others and ourselves.  The author did a good job explaining how we always have choices and options even in the worst of circumstances.  And, whether she meant to or not, she did an excellent job showing how humanity is inherently selfish.

I think her idea to have Jonah as a "guide" is a good one but I don't think she quite reached the potential of his character.  He wasn't developed enough for me and she could have done a better job showing his change and progression.  That his future depended on other's actions was counter to the rest of the moral purposes she was trying to show in the book (mainly, that we can only be saved by our own actions and with a belief in a Supreme Being.)  A Jonah character was needed but it didn't really work well in this story.

Do I recommend this book?  Yes.  You can purchase it here.

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