The Penance

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
478 Pages
Reviewed on 05/19/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Penance is the second novel in The Catalyst Trilogy by author Selin Senol-Akin. The story of Kaitlin continues as she tackles motherhood in a strange new city. Things settled down a little while Finn Du Feu stayed away from Kaitlin in accordance with his promise and commitment. Moving to Sandnes and welcoming her daughter Malin into the world kept her busy, but not preoccupied enough to forget Finn or The Group. However, the peace was short-lived. Finn came to visit Kaitlin bearing bad news. John Walker was in Stavanger, and he was seeking revenge for the death of his daughter. Concerned and rattled, Kaitlin wasn’t prepared for the chaos that this news would bring into her life. Before she knew it, everything was crashing down around her like dominoes, and it looked as if there was nowhere to hide this time. What would happen? Why was Finn concerned for baby Malin and was Kaitlin and Paul’s marriage going to survive these tough times?

Wow! The intensity was high in this novel! Selin Senol-Akin drew readers into the story with her vivid imagery and imaginative descriptions. I felt as if I was right next to Kaitlin and was going through the same emotions as her. Finn was enigmatic, brave, and very intriguing to say the least. More than anything, I loved the story and the dialogue. These exchanges revealed a lot about the intentions of the characters, the descriptions kept everything fresh, and the pace of the narrative kept readers interested in what would happen next. The marital troubles between Paul and Kaitlin were easy to relate to, but it was Kaitlin’s confusion that made me feel a connection with her. She felt that she bore responsibility and had to pay the price. In Penance, the author combined a handful of powerful characters with an extraordinary story to present a wonderful, cinematic experience that readers will remember forever.

K.C. Finn

The Penance is a work of fiction in the urban fantasy, mystery, and romance subgenres and serves as the second installment of the Catalyst Trilogy. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Selin Senol-Akin. The book continues the journeys of Paul and Kaitlin as their marriage is tested by distance and the arrival of a man bent on revenge for his daughter. As the danger around them and The Group grows, the couple must prepare to have their loyalty tested while the fates decide who will be paying the price for their previous actions.

The Penance is a great sequel in that it manages to find some interesting and exciting new directions for its plot and characterization, whilst remaining faithful to what was established in the first book. It’s difficult to add to a saga without rehashing familiar ground, but author Selin Senol-Akin has mastered the art as we’re treated to a fresh story that shows us new sides to Paul and Kaitlin throughout. As with the previous book, the dynamic fusion of fantasy, romance, and mystery thriller create a distinctive and fresh narrative that sets The Penance apart from similar books in the urban fantasy genre. The setting of the story is beautifully described and creates a perfect backdrop to the characters and their adventure, with prose about the Norwegian countryside so enchanting that it could almost serve as a tourism advert. Overall, this book is an excellent read that I recommend to all.

Stephanie Chapman

Selin Senol-Akin’s The Penance is the sequel to The Catalyst. Katilin Maverick and her husband Paul have moved to Norway. A year ago, she had her daughter, Malin, but she still wonders if she is safe. She often thinks of Finn Du Feu, a jinn, for whom she has unresolved feelings. Katilin has isolated herself from the outside world, using Malin as a reason to stay home. Paul sets up her friend Sibel to babysit Malin for one afternoon. After getting a book from a store, Kaitlin realizes she is not alone. Finn appears and reminds her of the special night they had shared. Confirming she still kept a promise of secrecy regarding The Group’s members, he advises her that John Walker was in Norway looking for Tan. Tan has protection from the jinn after he kills John’s daughter. Kaitlin feels conflicted by the entire situation. John Walker was Paul’s former employer and friend, and she knew where Tan was hiding but couldn’t tell him. She also wonders if Malin is Finn’s daughter.

The Penance is a realistic fantasy story that fascinated me. Selin Senol-Akin created a suspenseful story with a forbidden romance. Since Finn could be called for in her thoughts, I wondered why Kaitlin didn’t succumb to his advances when she didn’t seem happy with Paul. The tension between Paul and Kaitlin was clear in the way he failed to show her any attention. Finn made me believe he could fill the void. As the story progresses, Kaitlin’s relationship becomes an intense drama. I could envision everything through Kaitlin’s eyes, and I understood how she felt torn. I noticed that the world seems to be a small place when the backstories of several of the supporting characters intertwine with no one realizing the connections. This created the suspense to build all the way to a cliffhanger ending that left me wanting to read the last book of this trilogy. While this is a sequel, I think The Penance could be a standalone book as at no point did I find it difficult to understand the circumstances in the story. Readers of fantasy books full of drama, romance, intrigue, and realistically developed characters will enjoy this novel.