Let me preface this review by saying that Troy, the author of The Venerate Salvation reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his book. He provided me with a copy of his book. However, this does not affect my review in any way. I will give you my full and honest opinion of this book.
With that out of the way, I must say that I really enjoyed this book and had a great time reading it. It is truly unlike anything I have every read, in that it combines SF with Fantasy, which makes for a story full of mystery and action.
I had a little bit of a hard time when I started reading because I did not know the first two instalments. Soon, I was fully involved in the story and hoped for Strafe and Yessa to succeed.
Yet, it was not all roses and there were a few things I did not like. I will go into more details in my review down below. For now, let me just say that there were certain things and stylistic elements that threw me off from time to time.
In summary, I recommend this book to everyone who is tired of all the classic SF and Fantasy books and is looking to read something new. This book is exactly that. It combines elements from both worlds to create a great story.
I’ll rate this book a very solid 7,5/10. With a very unique premise and great execution, The Venerate Salvation makes for a very enjoyable book. Yet, there are some flaws, which hindered the book from reaching its maximum potential.
Troy grew up outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities. Troy is recognized by Toastmasters International as an Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leader Bronze. He's lived in Japan as well as California. He loves to travel.
Date of release: 09.06.2019
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Alright, let’s just dive straight into this review. I’d like to start, as always, with a brief outline of the story. Keep in mind that I did not read the two prequels, so I will try my best at explaining the history of the respective characters.
The book follows Strafe and Yessa. Both know each other from the two previous books. Earlier, Strafe was able to rescue his brother Zixin who was possessed by a demon and is now battling mental health issues. Soon, Strafe and Yessa (who were a couple) part ways as both have different goals. Strafe travels to Tibet to help his brother overcome his mental health issues, while Yessa joins the military to find her parents.
Here the book follows both plotlines, but we all knew that they would meet sooner or later. Strafe tries to destroy the Federation, an underground organisation, who supposedly kidnapped his parents. While doing this, he meets the Salvators. A group of like-minded people who fight the Federation as well but are categorized as a terrorist organisation by the US-Government.
There is also Tiras and the Venerates, whose role as villains I did not completely understand, but I guess I would have, if I had read the two previous books.
In an epic end fight, the brother of the demon that possessed Zixin faces Strafe in his God Form and all his friends. Sure enough, they manage to defeat the villain, but it cost a lot. I will talk more about the ending later.
For now, let me once again praise Troy Dukart for combining two genres in one book. I truly have never seen anything like this and it was so great to read. I don’t normally imagine a fantasy book playing in the future, but Troy Dukart did exactly this. And he did it expertly. Combining these two genres gives an author so much room to include awesome new concepts to his books. Yet, this poses a challenge to not confuse the reader by flooding them with too much of both worlds.
I liked the way Troy handled this problem. By basically dividing the book in two parts, one following Strafe and one following Yessa, he was able to establish both “worlds” separately before having them meet further into the story. Strafe’s part featured all the fantasy you could wish for, while Yessa’s story was filled with all the SF you could imagine.
When those two worlds collide, Troy manages to not cluster the story. It felt structured and well thought through. This makes the last fight particularly enjoyable. I loved the way Troy had Strafe find out about his own power step by step until finally he reached his God Form. This made for a great character arc within the last portion of the book.
When talking about the end, we cannot omit Strafe’s death, which was extremely heart-breaking. He fought incredibly hard against all those powerful beings, just to get hit with a normal bullet. In a way, I felt like this symbolizes humanity, who turns from God and therefore a God (Strafe) is shot using a mundane bullet. This does indeed make sense in the context of the book. I felt the main point was to make people rethink their opinion of religion, which was emphasized often throughout the book.
I will definitely read the sequel to this book. I am almost certain that there will be a fourth part, considering the incredible cliff-hanger that we were left on, at the very end of the book. I also wonder if Strafe will make an appearance in a further story. Possibly, as a ghost or apparition to consult Yessa in times of need. I’d certainly appreciate that. I will follow any further development with great interest!
After praising the book for so much, I need to address a few things that I did not like. First, I had a hard time starting out. I felt quite lost at times because I did not understand most references made and all the characters were completely new to me. Troy provided me with a short summary of the first two books, which definitely helped. But still, I feel like I missed out on a part of the book, simply because I did not know what happened earlier. Do not get me wrong, this is completely my own fault, but it is something I wanted to mention. If you would want to read this book, do yourself the favour and start with book one The Venerate Order.
Another thing I need to mention is Troy’s style of writing. It certainly is not bad, or I would not have enjoyed the book as much as I did. Yet, Troy’s sentence structure was very simple and minimal at times. Often, there were a bunch of simple sentences (meaning a sentence without a dependent sentence) strung together. I did not find this particularly enjoyable and it was hard getting used to. What added to this was a strange feeling I got, when reading the book. It sometimes felt like it could be a school essay and not a novel. I cannot seize what triggered this feeling, but it was there, and I thought to myself that this could be something written as a school essay – I mean writing-style-wise.
Lastly, there were a few errors in both grammar as well as syntax. This irritated me and hindered the flow of the book on several occasion because I had to reread a sentence multiple times, until I was able to figure out the meaning. Since this book is self-published, you know what you sign up for and I certainly did not expect a completely flawless book.
And finally, for my recommendation. I certainly am a fan of this book. Troy combines two genres expertly and thus creates a very unique book. It is something new and fresh and I recommend it to everyone who wants to try out something new. Maybe you are tired of the same themes being tackled in most SF or Fantasy literature. In this case, The Venerate Salvation provides a nice contrast and a new take on a classical genre.