Soul Raging (Book of the Wars #3) – Ronie Kendig

Soul Raging Ronie Kendig
Soul Raging by Ronie Kendig
Also by this author: Storm Rising, Kings Falling, Dawn of Vengeance, Brand of Light, Storm Rising, Kings Falling
Series: Book of the Wars #3
Published by Bethany House on November 3, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Thriller
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Sometimes, the only hope is the enemy.
Leif Metcalfe is done waiting for answers and seizes control, a move that comes with a high price and a deadly risk: teaming up with the enemy. He can only hope that what he uncovers will heal the wounds he's inflicted on those he loves.
Iskra Todorova believes Leif is on a collision course with death and knows firsthand the irrevocable cost of that path to the soul. While trying to protect her daughter and intervene with Leif, Iskra is forced to set her sights on the man behind the evil organization ArC--Ciro Veratti.
Torn apart by injuries and opposing views on how to handle Leif's act of treachery, team Reaper hunts one of their own. The only thing they agree on is not stopping but starting the final battle prophesied in the Book of the Wars.

Soul Raging picks up right where the story left off: Leif, our hero, has been activated from sleeper status by the Armageddon Coalition. The hero has become the villain…or has he? As the team deals with the apparent betrayal—although they realize he had no choice in the matter—they continue the push to stop ArC and their goal of world domination.

Unfortunately for Soul Raging, it has to build on the shaky plotting of the first two books in the series. While the saga began with a bunch of organizations seeking the fabled Book of the Wars, we’ve seen little of the book itself since the beginning. Instead, the emphasis has shifted toward stopping ArC, who also wants the book for their own purposes. Along the way, the team has dealt with high-tech weaponry that includes controlling the weather, implants that control other humans, and tech-enhanced humans. Kendig has thrown everything at the wall and little of it has stuck.

Now, in book three, she attempts to make sense of it all and draw readers back into the original stated storyline of finding the book. Except, again, the focus is not on the book, but an interpretative painting of the book’s final prophecies. It’s almost as if Kendig decided that she didn’t like her magical artifact enough mid-storyline so she just changed it.

Unsurprisingly, the book’s difficult-to-understand prophecies become crystal clear when it comes to the final predictions, ones which directly point to Lief as the person who fulfills them. Fortuitous. Betrayals and misunderstandings abound. While the first two books were action-heavy and light on exposition, Kendig crams all sorts of exposition into the first half of the book to try to make sense of everything that’s happened and is happening. It’s a complex info-dump that does nothing to eliminate confusion. The plot hurtles to a close and its predetermined happily-ever-after and close curtains.

While the plotting had been tepid throughout the series, Kendig’s dialogue was noticeably different and not as good in this book. Let me give you some examples of real dialogue in the book:

  • “Holy son … of a motherless … Caesar’s goat and fudgesicles … on frick frack.” – says the character after almost being killed.
  • “Back that crack truck up” – says a character who doesn’t like what the other character is saying. Objectively a hilarious phrase, but doesn’t fit the character at all.
  • “The spit was hitting the fan…” – Kendig really want to curse, but Bethany House wasn’t having it. Fine, but edit it out. It was at this point, I actually checked a final copy because I was reading an ARC and thought that maybe these had been removed from the draft. Nope.
  • It looked like a twenty-sided die. No way. “TAZ?” – a character jumps from seeing a character with a D20 tattoo to assuming they’re fans of the real-life comedy DnD podcast The Adventure Zone. Rather odd reference to be sure that, again, doesn’t seem to fit the character.
  • Mercy’s ooga-chaka baby virus that saved the world was classic, and the team high-fived over that. – I could try to explain this one, but won’t.

I have tried so very hard to like Ronie Kendig’s books. She is a perennial award-winner and always gets high praise in reviews. As someone who had primarily tried her space opera fantasies, I decided to switch over to this genre to give it a try and committed myself to all three books in the series. I just have to conclude that, while these books are for some people—judging by the other reviews, including those on my reviewing team—they just aren’t for me.