The Sons of Simeon are religious extremists in Israel. Their focus is finding and persecuting sorcerers. This not exactly in line with government law, but the government tends to look the other way. When a demonstration ends with a brutal murder, the empath Reed becomes the next target for the extremist groups. Reed has sorcerer friends and ‘normie’ friends, all looking for ways to protect the unlikely target. But Reed is the one who will need to protect his friends from the Sons of Simeon. And it gets trickier when Reed’s focus becomes distracted because he falls madly in love.
This book … this book just didn’t do anything for me.
On the surface, this should be right up my alley of interest. Alternate reality with sorcerers and empaths? Yeah, I like that. A familiar yet unique location (I’ve never been to Israel). I like that, too.
There’s some romance here, which is fine – I don’t read sci-fi/fantasy for the romance, but don’t mind it being there. This romance happens to be a gay romance, which isn’t my thing, but people and emotions … that’s pretty universal.
But there are a couple of problems here. First, it’s NOT a sci-fi/fantasy with some gay romance. Our main character, Reed, seems overwhelmed with lust and this becomes a gay romance with shades sci-fi/fantasy overtones. There’s a real subculture of these kinds of books, but I never expected to read this from a major sci-fi publisher.
The book tries to be an allegorical statement on oppression – making sure that we recognize the oppression in our own history, but it’s so in-your-face that’s it’s not allegory.
The characters never drew me into the story and the world was not built to be very interesting. All that mattered was that a main character began pining for an ex-boyfriend early in the book and it never grows much from there.
This was an all-around disappointment.
Looking for a good book? The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman may appeal to a small circle of readers but you’ll have to have some very specific reading interests to find this a worthy read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
The Heart of the Circle
author: Keren Landsman
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 400 pages