Transgression by Randy Ingermanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Transgression(a City of God Book)by R.S Ingermanson
This was free and might still be; so I picked it up along with a few other free books and attempted to read two others before I started into this one. I won't name the other two since I might attempt yet to read them some future date. This is the only of the three freebies that grabbed my attention from the beginning. It managed to keep my attention for one long read in a rather quiet day.
This is a fair novel and as I said it grabbed me right away; but there were a number of things that were annoying to me. I think though that it's worth a read for anyone who likes to mix their science fiction with a bit of theology. Having already read both Oxygen novels (Oxygen and Fifth Man) and finding those entertaining, I'm not surprised that this one also entertains. It unfortunately contains many of the pitfalls that are in both oxygen stories. The writing is based on a formulaic method that in itself is fairly tight, but lends itself to some things I find particularly annoying.
As with many novels today the formula is to start with an action scene that draws the reader in by creating or display a bit of tightened drama and action (because the reader wants this?). This novel certainly does that; and its blurb hawks itself as a mystery suspense so this snippet at the beginning is meant to roll the mystery footage. The trouble is that it becomes mostly vital and probably is there because the actual first chapter is rather sedate and might not carry some readers into the story. For me chapter one was intriguing enough and all that the prologue did was keep me anticipating that at some point the novel was going to pick up the pace. It does pick it up but in a large way that prologue is really like those preview scenes from a movie that highlight all the action in the movie so that the best parts have been viewed before the movie-goer gets to the theater for the show. So when it reaches that point the main character Rivka manages to do a 180 turn on the drama and loses the momentum started by the prologue. She next wanders off like a tourist; rather than someone who was just hijacked into the past.
Normally I would begin with the explanation that what hurts this book the most is an attempt at keeping things a mystery. What I mean by this is that desire to keep the reader in the dark about certain facts becomes an impediment to good character development. But having read the two mentioned science fiction collaborations I would also have to say that this becomes compounded by some sort of stylistic method behind the writing. Often it feels like the narrative oscillates in and out for brief moments in the head of one character and sometimes gets too much information; and then snapping out to a far view to see characters that often display too much adolescent immaturity. There also seems to be a formulaic romance going on where Rivka is asked by Dov to find a date for Ari the physicist; creating the love quadrangle with Dov, Rivka, Ari, and Jessica. So while Jessica and Ari are suppose to get together; we discover that Jessica and Dov end up together more often and Rivka and Ari become close, then we discover there are seeming irreconcilable differences between Rivka and Ari pertaining to religion.
Finally we meet Damien West who has an almost inexplicable fondness for the manifesto of the Uni-bomber and has some agenda related to the wormhole time loop generator that Ari is having him construct.
It becomes difficult to decide if this is a romance or is meant to showcase a philosophical discussion about religion; while it becomes more certain that the science and the time travel have really minor parts and have fallen to the wayside in favor of one of those two. There are elements of what occur that definitely are locked into the need for these characters to be in the past and there is really some fun irony to the fact that of the three the one best to communicate and understand the language of the people is a woman; who is not to be spoken to directly in public. But as with other novels of this type there are characters of the past who seem all too ready to take in the time travelers despite anomalies that might characterize the future people as demons or heretics.
In the past each character seems to begin a path of examination of their beliefs as the 'truth' unfolds. And as it is this novel could not help but remind me of another recent read by Amy Deardon in her novel 'A Lever Long Enough'. She too had time travelers heading to the past to investigate the truth about Yeshua. These two novels seem almost a bit too parallel at the onset with the only difference being that in one there is a conspiracy to ultimately steer the proof in one direction; where in the other there's an attempt to end Christianity at one of its roots.
This novel is most likely best for those who might enjoy the discussion of religion and the difference between what is widely believed today as opposed to what may have been the root of our beliefs. Anyone that read 'A Lever Long Enough' could enjoy this book, but science fiction fans might be disappointed about the light treatment of the science involved.
Overall it's an enjoyable read; but if it was meant to be thought provoking it might have missed that mark for me.
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