From the Publisher: "Bury me standing. I must be buried standing.”
Powers, the follow-up to John Olson’s Shade (“a must-read for those who enjoy Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti” —Publishers Weekly), introduces a sheltered Gypsy girl named Mariutza. Her grandfather utters a mysterious last request before dying in her arms after being shot by ten cloaked men.
Those same men die before her eyes, but strange powers continue to pursue Mari through the swamps of southern Louisiana where she has always hidden from “the Badness.”
The whole world seems to join in the chase—helicopters, soldiers, government agents, and the police are all trying to kill her. Mari’s only hope of survival is to find Jaazaniah the Prophet, the mythical hero of her grandfather’s bedtime stories. But she has never been outside the swamp or known other humans besides her grandfather and one teacher. How can this lone girl survive the bewildering world of men long enough to find a prophet who might not even exist?
I admit, I was one of the few who were surprised that this was considered Christian fiction, especially after reading the book summation by the publisher. I was further surprised because the main characters are Gypsies. Why? Well, because Gypsies, especially in the European countries, have been persecuted as witches. But, the world has changed (depending on where you are, I believe) so I put that bit of history aside and dove into the book.
The book, in the form of the plot, went very smoothly and it did seem to wrap up neatly in the end. All in all, it would have been a great book if it would have had better character development. I believe this is part of a series, so perhaps that will be rectified in the end, but with this book, it was not.
Jaazaniah, or Jazz, was the most developed of the characters and I was able to really get into his character and root for him to "win". He was from the city life and thrust into this strange world of psychic powers. His counterpart, Mariutza, or Mari, I did not have as much success in liking or getting into her character. Both her and the Grandfather who raised her lived in a swamp with very little access to the outside world. I had no problem with her marveling at the simplest things about city or just plain modern life. That was the part I, in fact, enjoyed. My problem is how she was raised. She was not given the self-worth and ability to think for herself. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I found myself hating the fact that she couldn't think or do for herself. So much that I wanted to throw the book every time I read that "it's not my place". For someone having to help Jazz figure out who to trust, what to do and where to go, I did not find this believable. It became extremely annoying.
I also found the antagonist lacking. All you knew was bits and pieces about the "badness" but not really why they were after them. The lack of information did not make them more frightening, but less so. I would have liked more information on them other than a vague reference to vampirism. What was their motive and/or goals? How dangerous were they? Were they only a danger to "the standing"?
I have to give the book 2 out of 5 stars because of the lack of character development. I feel the plot was worthy, but not enough to carry the book all the way through.