Saturday, February 2, 2013

Editorial Review of, 'Saved and SAINTified'

Editorial Review of new release: "Saved and SAINTified"

In this third installment of the Saint series, the hero faces some formidable new challenges—but while in the other two books these challenges were mainly external, in Saint and SAINTified, he confronts both internal and external trials. As he and his beloved family wait for his third child, a daughter, to arrive, Saint comes face-to-face with both his inner demons and the most terrifying nemesis of all that could threaten the destruction of all that he loves.

Saint is a very particular hero—he’s in-your-face, confident, responsible, loving, and yes, even arrogant to the point that we want to slap him at times. Yet, hasn’t he earned the right to be a little infuriating? He’s passionate, he’s all in—and he doesn’t do half-measures. Yet, when push comes to shove, he always steps up to the plate, and he admits his failures, if oftentimes only to himself. This makes him human, fallible, and a man you cannot help but love. In no other book in this series does Saint’s fallibility jump out so eloquently, so loudly, as it does in this one. And in no other book does our heart break for Saint and Xenia and those endearing children of theirs as it happens with this story.

The cast of supporting characters is extremely well fleshed out. We meet Saint’s father, Bomb, Beset, Jagger, Lawrence, Hassani and Dakarai, and all these characters made me laugh and cry and feel all sorts of emotions as though they were sitting right next to me. I became friends with them, loved them, wanted to help them and comfort them and laugh with them—which is the sign of a great book and worthy writing. Because that’s what makes a beautiful book—the characters that populate it. Saint and Xenia are perfectly drawn out as the parents who would go to bat for their children. Their love for each other shines stronger than ever, more so now that things have the potential of ending tragically for them.

I recommend this book to anyone who can take bold, unapologetic writing such as Tiana Laveen’s. The author doesn’t shy away from offensive language or from “keeping it real”. Her love scenes are highly erotic. In short, she says it like it is and doesn’t hide behind a veil of political correctness. She is loyal and true to the characters, no matter the cost—and this, I think, is the thing I feel most gratitude to her for. Saint is ultimately a product of the South Bronx, and when the veneer of learned sophistication is peeled away, he is who and what he is. This is what makes him fascinating, at times irritating in his “man’s man” attitude, but yeah, utterly irresistible. He is the ultimate hero—the man you would love to be stranded with in a dangerous situation because he’s the one who will sure as hell get you out of that pickle. He has fears, but for this reason he has learned to overcome them. He is Achilles with a protected heel, a gutsy Ulysses who would travel to the bowels of Hell to save his family, and he is the male equivalent of Joan of Arc, and will burn to the bone to uphold that which he believes in. His family, his life. We all want to love a man like this, and will forgive him a tad of overconfidence if need be, because Saint will be there for you until the end. All the more, because in Saved and SAINTified, you see the man stripped down to his bare essence, and you can fairly touch his vulnerability.

My ultimate recommendation is to read this series because it is different, because it is unique, and because it delivers to the last word.

Natalie G. Owens – author of “An Eternity of Roses (The Valthreans: Book 1)”.