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by J.C. Burnham

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When a baby is thrust into the arms of Dr. Jonathan Keats he has not idea his life is about to change forever. All he knows is her name is Serenity and she must be protected at all costs. He quest for more answers leads him to Europe where he discovers that she is no ordinary child and that the very fate of the world may one day rest in her hands.

Having been moved around from school to school since she was young Serenity only has her grandmother to rely on. When strange things start to happen around her and her grandmother disappears, Serenity doesn't know who to trust. She eventually puts her faith into the hands of Tal, a mysterious young man she feels deeply connected to, but is he good or is he something else?

"The Fruit of the Fallen" by JC Burnham is a story full of prophecy, fallen angels, demons, hell hounds, and a secret religious society, that is told mostly through the eyes of a young girl who is just starting to realize her true purpose in life. It begins with a murder and the action doesn't stop until the very end when the reader is left wondering if there is more to come. It is a well-written book that speaks of religion and theology but doesn't preach at the reader. Instead, the story focuses on characters that just happen to be in a struggle between good and evil and look to theology for some of the answers.

A truly exciting and interesting book, I would recommend "The Fruit of the Fallen" to anyone with an open mind who enjoys a well told, action packed story. JC Burnham is an excellent story teller who I hope continues to tell the story of these characters in a future book. ( )
  CaApril | Aug 9, 2010 |
Serenity D'Evele has no idea that she isn’t like other sixteen year old girls. She doesn't know that her grandmother, Sophia, isn't actually her grandmother. She doesn't know why she's moved from school to school her whole life, never bothering to stay in one place. She doesn't know how sixteen years ago, a nun thrust her into the arms of a man called Dr. Johnathan Keats, and that he risked everything to protect her. Why? Because she is of prophecy, almost as if she's a modern day Joan of Arc.

Or is she?

What Serenity does know is that strange things are happening at her boarding school. Sophia leaves for weeks without a word. Strange creatures, voices, and dreams come to Serenity in the night. Even the people seem to be changing. Soon she finds herself sucked into the middle of a story laced with secret societies, supposedly mythical encounters, and corruption of what she thought to be good.

"The Fruit of the Fallen" by J. C. Burnham is a wild ride that straddles the fine line between complicated and convoluted. The plot, though slow for the first half of the book, is very much the driving force in this novel. We as readers find ourselves continually faced with yet another plot twist—another layer in the already tightly-woven fabric of the story itself. From chapter to chapter, we bounce back and forth between Serenity's almost clichéd existence as a sixteen year old orphan, and Dr. Keats's gripping struggle in Europe.

Nearly every chapter we are greeted with a new group of characters—some more vivid than others. And, while I've always said, "the more the merrier", I think some of the characters in "Fruit of the Fallen" could have used a little more fleshing out. Serenity is one such character. I felt like I never really knew her, except through the archetype friends she made, and the few words she spoke, until the end of the book. There, we suddenly see an entirely new character who, at times, tries to leap off the page to proclaim, "look at me! I'm here! I'm the protagonist!"

Conversely, Dr. Keats—who I wish I could've seen more of—was wonderfully developed. His atmosphere was more vivid than any other setting in the book; his character more defined. Not to mention, he seemed to grow and change throughout the course of the novel at a steady pace. Some of the other characters also adjusted themselves, but not consistently. They're personalities seemed jerkier, as did their pieces of the story.

One thing I did love about "The Fruit of the Fallen," was its myriad of supernatural beings. Fallen angels, hellhounds, demons, spirits… each one had its own, distinct flavor and characteristics, largely avoiding clichés and predictability. These creatures and Dr. Keats's character are what lead me to finish this book.

I wish I could read the final version of this manuscript (the one I read hadn't seen the final edits) so that I might properly judge the writing. For now, I'll just say that I'm glad there were other edits, because I did notice some common writer's pitfalls like passive voice, and "show vs. tell".

Although not without its flaws, "The Fruit of the Fallen" is an interesting book from a writer with a big imagination. If J. C. Burnham continues to layer his writing as he has in this book, every sequel will be brimming with promise.

You can read more reviews like this one at my blog: http://www.dailymonocle.blogspot.com ( )
  JPWickwire | Jun 3, 2010 |
A bit of insomnia led him to take a walk, but the nun that was shot in front of his eyes after handing over a baby led him to set of circumstances that he would have never believed he would find himself in. Questioning his faith had become an everyday thing, but after the events that followed the arrival of baby Serenity into his life Dr. Jonathan Keats was willing to give God and all it entailed a second look. - She had known she was different for as long as she could remember, but Serenity D’Evele thought it was just because her and her grandmother moved so often. When she started hearing things and feeling things after arriving at yet another new school, she started to realize that there might be more to it. Finally being able to trust another as a friend and trying to determine what if anything was after her, Serenity knew that the one thing to get her through would be her faith.

I admit, I was not sure what to expect, I am cautious about religious or spiritually based books, but this one had me interested because of and in spite of the religious aspects of it. For the most part, the religious aspects where explained well and it didn’t lean on those points more than necessary to create this story. I found myself drawn to most of the characters (there were a lot for a book of this size) but the interaction was well placed. The tidbits about how Serenity came to be with who she was with and how she finally found out more of herself kept the intrigue alive for the reader as well, allowing the story a natural progression from Serenity’s point of view, but going all the way back to the initial connection with Keats also gave the whole prophesy angle a larger part of the story. ( )
  onyx95 | May 28, 2010 |
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