Follow Father Antonio Molinari of the Order of Saint Michael, a secret team of specially trained priests. His life, as he knows it, is thrown on end when he refuses to execute his duty to destroy a vampire child. While attempting to evade his relentless pursuers, he is forced to question his unyielding regard for the monsters and demons he had hunted. Haunted by the uncertainty of whether or not it is God's will to protect and redeem the child, he does not realize it may be he who needs salvation.
What I liked about this book
Clever Wordplay of Title
As chiaroscuro refers to the use of contrasting light and dark in art, it is an apt title for this book, as it centers upon Father Molinari's struggle to define the boundaries between light and dark; his only reconciliation being the recognition of “shades” and the dangers of blurring those boundaries.
Compelling Storyline & Powerful Conclusion
This paranormal novel has decent hooks. Within the third chapter, I was more than curious as it provided mystery and then a fast start of action. A few chapters later, and the suspense kept me on. By chapter sixteen, the depth of the characters had me completely attached and needing a resolution to their story… and I got it. It was a bittersweet, but necessary and inescapable conclusion.
Use of Environment
Cox employs an appropriate amount of environmental sensory details. They are immersive, but not overwhelming. I enjoyed that they are not just present for their own sake, but serve as a backdrop for Molinari's changing states of mood and situation. The world, as built, is accurate to applicable historical references and maintains an intact continuity.
Confident in Reader's Abilities
This is a intelligent read. I appreciate that Cox wrote from the assumption that his readers do not need to be guided to every critical plot point. Nor that they should be reminded of details from earlier in the story. This aspect is something I find to be complimentary. There were instances where some dialog appeared to be repetitive. Which, in some ways, it was. However, this must be forgiven as this is appropriate for child characters, and adults who are plagued with anxiety.
Cox's command of the written word is impressive, but certainly not applied in daunting way. If you have language references for Latin, French, and Italian, keep them handy as they are occasionally used. Not to worry though, most of these occurrences are explained through context. Be careful of subtle inferences, as certain segments take on entirely different meanings when read with deliberation. The structure of Chiaroscuro is well planned as each transition is smooth, and the formatting is easy on the eyes. Many thanks for a thoroughly edited work.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys vampire genre or compelling narratives.
What I disliked about this book
If not for my invested interest in the plight of these dynamic characters, I would have had trouble reading through some of the chapters. To be fair, there were only a handful of instances in which I found myself a bit bored with the protagonist's moments of peace. Most calm sections of the book were well used to develop the characters and story line. This is the reason for the half leaf demerit.
About Matthew Cox (from author's website)
Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world, in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.
More recently, he has forayed into young-adult and middle grade novels.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
He is also fond of cats.
Be sure to check out the release party for this book. One lucky participant will receive a FREE signed copy of Chiaroscuro!
I am super excited to be a part of the upcoming release of this book! A review will be published on Chiaroscuro's release date July 18, 2016. In the meantime, Matt has posted the blurb here on Thunderclap. Please go read it and see why I am so excited. Also support the Thunderclap so we can get this awesomeness to even MORE deserving readers.
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.