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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
The Seed Bearer's Bride: A Novel of Fallen Angels, Nephilim, and the Woman Who Defied Them by Jean Hoefling is book two in the Thrones of Genesis Series, a compelling entry that can be read as a standalone story. A tale with strong biblical allusions, the story is set in the period before Noah’s Flood and after the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The book introduces readers to a tightly knit community with strong religious values and marriage traditions. Baraqua, the daughter of a scribe, is madly in love with Shai, the vinedresser, who has occupied her thoughts for over a year, but she cannot marry him because of a tradition that forces her to marry Jared, her bride-dream. There is a twist of fate when strong and shiny beings start descending from the sky, pursuing Baraqua and other women to mate with them and bring forth giant offspring, eliminating the human race. Everything changes, including Baraqua’s plan to escape her marriage, as she begins to understand that the survival of the human race might depend on her ultimate choice and sacrifice. Will she defy the odds and marry the seed bearer or follow her heart?
This is a beautifully written story and as readers become familiar with the camp, they begin to understand the culture, the place of women like Akliah the eldress, and the simple threads that bind men together. There is exciting banter among the girls and an intelligent exploration of womanhood. Baraqua is a well-developed protagonist, a woman who does not care much about the traditions that hinder her from going after the man she loves, and she is tired of hearing so much talk of duty and sacrifice. It gets more painful when Shai tells her that no one belongs to himself or herself. The emotions are strong; the characters are relatable and real. The emotional conflict dominates the narrative and while readers will adore the courage of Baraqua, they will have strong sympathy for her as she watches Shai asking a woman who is ready to be his slave to marry him. The disappointment on her face when she watches the love in Shai’s eyes as he looks at Magda is strong.
Themes of religion, family, humanity, and survival are deftly written, and in the center of the story is the hope of the Savior. I enjoyed the crisp prose and the author’s unique skill of creating imagery that appeals to the senses. The focused scenes and the engaging dialogues create a drama that transforms the story into a page-turner. The Seed Bearer's Bride is a stellar work of fantasy with an irresistible appeal to fans of stories with strong religious and historical themes; it is told in a language that reflects the culture of the time and features characters, both human and supernatural, that readers will want to follow.