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  • Risen Gods

  • By: J. F. Penn, J. Thorn
  • Narrated by: C. J. McAllister
  • Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

When a tidal wave strikes the coast of New Zealand, Ben Henare and Lucy Campion are separated in the chaotic aftermath. As earthquakes shake the land and volcanoes erupt on the Pacific Rim of Fire, Ben wrestles with his Maori heritage as he faces the supernatural powers that threaten the land of Aotearoa. He must fight his way north on a quest through ice caves and oceans, battling the manifestations of the evil god Whiro and the creatures of the sky.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Action-packed thrill ride!

  • By Diana in SC on 04-14-16

Action-packed, fast-paced supernatural thriller

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-17

Risen Gods follows two main characters, Ben and Lucy, as they navigate the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in New Zealand. While at first, it seems like a normal natural disaster, Ben and Lucy soon realize that it's actually supernatural. The ancient gods have awoken, and they're ready to take back their land.

The action begins in the first chapter and doesn't let up throughout the novel. Ben and Lucy are separated and thrust into different journeys, where they must face the devastation caused by the earthquake, learn the truth about the disaster, and attempt to save New Zealand with the help of unlikely allies. The various obstacles and twists kept me guessing, as every time Ben or Lucy made progress, something else stood in their way. While I enjoyed the fast pacing, once the end came, it seemed to come very quickly and without as much resistance as the rest of the book. It was still satisfying, but not what I was expecting.

My favorite aspect of this novel is how it grappled with two central themes. First, the authors did a fantastic job of weaving in New Zealand mythology (I learned so much without feeling like I'd read a textbook), and showing the tension between modernity and folklore. Second, the authors encapsulated the best and worst of human nature. Some people offered help and compassion after the tragedy, while others took advantage of weaker individuals in the worst possible ways. This theme gave the novel a gritty realism that many authors are afraid to touch.

Last, I should note that I listened to the audiobook version. Though I would have preferred a New Zealand narrator, I do understand that the authors probably chose an American to make listening easier for the majority of their audience (myself included). The narrator held my interest, was articulate, and did a good job with both male and female voices (so often I think male narrators make women sound silly).

TL;DR: Risen Gods is a supernatural thriller in which the characters attempt to survive and save New Zealand after a divinely caused earthquake. Fast-paced and action-packed, it holds modernity and folkore, as well as human goodness and evil, in perfect tension. One hell of a fun ride, with an articulate narrator to boot.

  • A Peculiar People

  • Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America
  • By: J. Spencer Fluhman
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 13

Though the Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion, it does not specify what qualifies as a religion. From its founding in the 1830s, Mormonism, a homegrown American faith, has drawn thousands of converts but far more critics. In A Peculiar People, J. Spencer Fluhman offers a comprehensive history of anti-Mormon thought and the associated passionate debates about religious authenticity in 19th-century America.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent academic Study

  • By Arden L. Eby on 03-09-15

Very engaging!!!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-06-16

Very well performed and a great listen. Brilliant scholarship and engaging research. I highly recommend it!