Friday, February 13, 2015

*Book Review* Blood Infernal by James Rollins, Rebecca Cantrell

Series: Order of the Sanguines # 3
Published by: William Morrow
Released: February 10, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher

As an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy foretold in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries: The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened, and his Chalice remains lost. It will take the light of all three to forge the Chalice anew and banish him again to his eternal darkness. With the Apocalypse looming, Erin must again join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza to search for a treasure lost for millennia. But the prize has already fallen into the hands of their enemy, a demon named Legion, before whom even the walls of the Vatican will fall.

The search for the key to salvation will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty shelves of the Vatican's secret archives to lost medieval laboratories, where ancient alchemies were employed to horrific ends. All the while, they are hunted, besieged by creatures of uncanny skill and talent. As clues are dug free from ancient underground chapels and found frozen in icy mountain caverns, Erin will discover that the only hope for victory lies in an impossible act--one that will destroy not only her, but all she loves. To protect the world, Erin must walk through the very gates of Hell and face the darkest of enemies: Lucifer himself.

With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell combined science, myth, and religion to introduce a breathtaking world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. And now, in this epic conclusion to the Sanguines trilogy, Blood Infernal, they take us to the very pit of Hell itself, making us peer into the abyss and face our greatest fears, to answer the ultimate question: What price will we pay for true salvation?

In the final installment of The Order of the Sanguines by Rollins and Cantrell, things are looking rather bleak for our heroes and it will take cunning, knowledge, a bit of luck, faith in each other, and maybe a surprise or two, to survive what's coming next. Can they come together or will evil push them into betraying each other? Once again, the authors take our heroes across the globe from Italy, Egypt, Czech Republic, France, and Nepal.

What we know going into Blood Infernal. Lucifer is ready to break free from his chains that bind him to Hell thanks to a Sanguines betrayer who truly believed the lies he was sold. Good is being over-run by evil strigoi with super strength around the globe and it's not looking too good for the home team when it arrives within their mist. If that wasn't enough, a new super villain straight out of the bible, Legion, goes after the three people who can stop Armageddon from happening; Archaeologist Erin Granger (Woman of Learning and bound to the Gospel of Christ), Army Sergeant Jordan Stone (Warrior of Man who was bound to the angels he owes his life to), and Father Rhun Korza (Knight of Christ who made a choice to undo his only true sin).

Blood Infernal, like its predecessors, adds historical people not only from the Bible, but from history as well. There's Alchemist John Dee who worked with Holy Emperor Rudolf II; Lazarus, who Christ brought back from the dead; Hugues de Payens who is said to have created the Catholic order known as the Knights Templar with the support from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (aka Cardinal Bernard).

It is important for readers to understand why they are ALL present. If you remember anything, try to remember that Erin catches important facts that the Order has hidden away from the world and it is because of her, mostly, that her team has made it this far. Remember that Erin has always been the major piece of the fated trio because of her upbringing and the fact that she questions everything without taking things at face value.

I do believe that if readers can suspend reality and their faith, especially Catholics, while reading this book, you will definitely find this trilogy a whole lot more enjoyable. As a raised Catholic who no longer goes to church, I don't believe that anyone should take offense to the reinterpretation of Catholicism and Biblical history that come along with this trilogy. Rollins and Cantrell join author Dan Brown in entertaining readers and taking their own slight on history and the Catholic Church.

Did Blood Infernal give characters a happy ending? Could be! OK, so you know that Erin & Jordan have had their time in the romance department even with everything they've even through. They do have a bit of a struggle in Blood Infernal, but it's not something I gave up on, nor should you. If you read this trilogy from the beginning, you know that there is a history between Elizabeth and Rhun, and that he loves her like no-one else. Well, OK, so he still has feelings for Erin, and plays a pivotal part in her success, but there is nobody else for Rhun except for Elizabeth.

Most interesting & fascinating character(s): Elizabeth Bathory and a lion cub named Nebuchadnezzar who is just adorable. Reason: Elizabeth is a historical figure who was the most prolific serial killer known to man. She had her life turned upside down by the man who supposedly loved her, then given the ultimate present by the same man. In the end, her affection for Tommy and the fact that her participation is essential in stopping Legion, is what makes her fascinating.

Character who faces the most challenges and somehow survives: Jordan Stone Reason: Wow, does this man go through a lot over this trilogy. After being saved by Tommy, Jordan's entire life is in the balance. How does one continue to survive when everyone wants you dead? How do you stay in love with someone when you don't know if you will breathe your next breath? Jordan is brave, determined, and badass.

Character who definitely peeked my interest: Erin Granger Reason: As I said above, Erin is the intelligent one in this trilogy. She faced her past after being raised in a strict religious environment. She loses two important people in her life and struggles to do what's expected of her. She watches the man she loves die more times than Lazarus. In the end, her choice and her love for Jordan gives her the strength of 10 women.

Biggest bastard of the trilogy and the biggest keeper of secrets: Cardinal Bernard. Reason: Wow, I think I will just say that Bernard has been the driver of everything that happens. Even though he has reasons for everything he does, he is still a dreadful person, who deserved more than he gets.

Problems: Inconsistencies, especially the clothing that Elizabeth wears. In one particular chapter, she goes from wearing pants, to a skirt, to pants again. Presto Change-o! Perhaps this is one of the challenges that dual writing partners have. Who is editing the novel? Who is catching glaring errors? I normally bite my tongue about editing mistakes in so called ARC's but in this case, the errors are pretty apparent.

I may, eventually, go back and read the (2) novellas that come along with this trilogy. But, I don't believe they are necessary. I do believe that one should not skip over a book in this series like I almost did. Everything is connected for a reason. The story doesn't run its course over 2 days. I really wish people would pay attention to the various chapters and stop saying it does. Like the previous book, Blood Infernal takes place over a week. Makes things a bit more realistic in my humble opinion.

**I received this book for free from (William Morrow) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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