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Book Review: Redemption by T.R. Slauf

Redemption by T.R. Slauf

“Blood seems to be the only thing flowing in this Realm. The day I found out the truth of who I was, was the day I died.”

“Sometimes you must die so you can be re-born.”

Esther escaped the horrors of Castle Rose, but at a cost. Believing her lost guide is still alive deep in the bowels of Adam’s dungeons, she aims to save him, but the other Huntsman are not so sure he’s alive… Desperate to rescue Oisin, Esther makes tempestuous allegiances with dangerous foes. Walking a fine line between enemies and allies, life and death, she rages war against the monsters of the Hidden Realm.

Esther’s journey continues in this heart wrenching sequel as she navigates the politics and grudges of ageless Queens. By night, she’s haunted by what she’s seen fighting in a war that was never hers. What she’s done to survive in the Hidden Realm will haunt her forever and she’s terrified of losing herself in the darkness without a star to guide her. Will Esther be able to save Oisin and the lands before the shadows of her mind overtake her spirit?

Redemption Review

I was compensated with a small amount for my time and effort in reading the book and writing this review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are based on my honest personal experience reading the book. Nor did the publisher in any way shape or form ever pressure me to give a positive review.

Esther’s inciting journey is continued on in Redemption as she struggles to deal with the fallout from her escape from Castle Rose and the realization of who she really is. In an attempt to free her missing guide, Oisin, who is thought to be imprisoned in Adam’s lair, Esther forms uneasy alliances with hostile opponents. Esther is on the verge of losing her identity to the darkness within as she negotiates the cunning politics of the timeless Queens and faces the eerie recollections of her previous conflicts.

To save her guide and the lands from the shadows that threaten to devour her spirit, Esther must face her darkest desires and fears as the Crimson Shadow’s reign of horror continues. Redemption is the second book in the Legends of Lighting series, continuing to explore Esther’s Realm Walker adventure and the difficulties she encounters in a world ripped apart by betrayal, politics, and conflict.

Redemption was far more enjoyable to read than Hidden Realms was for me. I love political intrigue, drama, and betrayal in books, thus this sequel contained a lot of stuff that immediately appealed to my interests. I was fully engrossed in the story from beginning to end because of the complex web of political schemes, the suspenseful drama, and the underlying sense of betrayal. Despite whatever early misgivings I might have had, it became almost impossible for me to stay out of the story because it had so many elements that I enjoyed.

I also thought Esther was a lot more likeable character than she was in the first book. Unfortunately, the innumerable hardships she faced during the series most likely contributed to this change in her personality. It’s a classic example of excellent character development that came at a hefty price. Despite her unfortunate circumstances though, I was impressed by how far Esther has come in this chapter, even in spite of the challenges she encounters.

It is clear now the events in the first novel set the stage for Esther’s development and evolution across the entire series, including this sequell. In Redemption, it’s made clear that the difficulties she encountered made her face reality and acknowledge the need to adjust to her new surroundings. Esther’s character arc undergoes a significant shift with this acceptance, enabling her to develop and flourish in ways that were not anticipated. The most notable aspect is the sincere growth and transformation she experiences as a person.

Esther is on a deep path of self-discovery and empowerment as opposed to staying unchanging or stationary. She has shown fresh resilience and maturity in her readiness to face the darkness within herself and accept her role in this new world. Her character hence gains more depth and authenticity as you watch her metamorphosis happen naturally, which is immensely fulfilling. All things considered, Esther’s development shows how the human spirit can persevere and adapt even in the face of difficulty.

My contrasting experience between book one and book two reminds me of those times when my friend had to entice people to watch more because “the story gets better, just wait for season 2!” In other words, there is a more “drag” part in the beginning you have to get through before you can get to the good part of a work. This method can be divisive at times, but it’s still representative of not a completely rare trend in storytelling. My only gripe is some readers might not be able to keep up with slower-paced openings, which could cause them to miss out on the most interesting and richer parts of the story.

It’s important to remember though that a lot of popular works, the most notable one off the top of my heading being the Plated Prisoners series, have encountered similar difficulties and phenomena before really taking off in terms of plot and development. This serves as a reminder that, despite their potential, pacing problems don’t always have to compromise a story’s overall quality or potential. The voyage is definitely worth the initial investment if one is prepared to put in the necessary time and patience, as the outcome may be extremely satisfying.

If you liked this review and want to see other book reviews like this one, check out my book reviews collection!

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About the Author of Redemption

T.R. Slauf was born and raised in Michigan, originally studying and working in the field of Biochemistry. After having an open-heart surgery for congenital heart disease, Slauf changed career paths to pursue the passion of storytelling and published their debut novel, Hidden Realm two years later. Slauf now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with their spouse and two cats.

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