Charging the Darkness (J. Rodes) – Review

5 stars

~About the Book ~

You were not saved for this… 

They tore the veil. Now the country is ripping apart. The captive Uncloaked have been freed, and the people now know the dark truth. A rebellion against the Party has begun. But a question lingers among those who are safely hidden in the Refuge—what will happen to their broken nation? Secrets and shame, resentment and hatred shake the divided country.

In the turbulence of the fallout, Braxton Luther finds himself in a new kind of battle. Eliza Knight is back, but her heart is not the same. They will be put through the ultimate test as they struggle with the fact that Eliza has the chance to save many, but only if she chooses to do so. Seeing her wrestle with doing what is right only adds to Braxton’s regrets, and when he finally tells her the truth about her capture, they discover how painful betrayal can be.

Ultimately, she gets to choose. They all do. Every survivor who somehow managed to outlive the cruelty of the Party must choose——what will they do with what they believe?

Braxton’s and Eliza’s answers could change the fate of the shattering nation.

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Series:  #3 The Uncloaked
Release date:  26 September 2017
Pages:  228
Publisher:  Rooted Publishing

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~


I stood at the edge of the burial ground, my eyes on the unturned soil behind two more fresh graves. Wouldn’t remain untouched for long.
We were down to only three. Of the twenty-seven infected victims Jude’s rescue party had been able to pull from the Quarantine, only three still fought against death. Most had died within twenty-four hours of transfer. The other two still clinging to a wisp of life were certain not to make it through the night.
Eliza was our best hope. She was the closest to winning the struggle. Part of me raged against that. It was unfair. What would her scarred life be after the horrors she’d survived? And yet she lived, and that made my heart glad.
More evidence of my selfishness.
“Jude has a job for us.” Tristan’s calm voice wafted from behind me.
I didn’t turn, my attention still glued to the mounds of freshly turned dirt checkering the ground. The markers were rustic at best. Carved planks of wood pounded into the ground. Name—if we had a name. Date of last breath. Cause of death: Smallpox. Unleashed by our benevolent Party.
Jude’s eyes had frowned when that last inscription had been read out loud. Strange how, even in his awkward posture—bound to a chair, unable to even hold his neck up straight—he could clearly communicate his thoughts with one look. When he chose to. The look he’d employed said, This isn’t right, and we will not be better for it.
After the remembrance, the burial of yet another soul who didn’t survive the plague released by the Party, I had challenged him. Because still, at nearly twenty, I hadn’t grown up enough to realize all that I didn’t understand.
“It’s merely the truth, Jude,” I’d whispered at his side.
“Words carry power, young Luther.” In a hushed but unnatural voice, he responded with a remark frustratingly similar to something my father would have said.
“And what do you fear this power will produce?”
He studied me in the strange, quiet way that was uniquely Jude, his eyes gentle yet commanding. Intelligence written on his face, though it was scarred and misshapen.
Resentment“Resentment will not be a servant.” His mechanized voice somehow still carried the impact of passion, concern. “And it will prove to be a vicious master. We must practice the difficult task of forgiveness—or when it comes our turn, we will be the ones standing in shame.”

~ Review ~

What will you do

What a gripping conclusion to this series! Charging the Darkness builds on the question that has driven this series so far—”Will you stand?”—by asking an even more challenging question: “What will you do with what you believe?” In other words, how will you respond to those who persecute you? With forgiveness or bitterness?

* This series is intended to be read in order. As a result, there may be minor spoilers in this review for previous books in the series. *

One character in this series has stood firm in her convictions from the beginning: Eliza Knight. As a result, she was taken to the ‘Reformation camp’, humiliated, abused, and exposed to a deadly new strain of the smallpox virus. (We are given enough information to understand what she has been through, but it is not graphic.) Now, as the sole survivor of the virus, she is the key to developing a vaccine against it, but she also has the choice to say ‘no’. Her convictions were strong enough to stand in the face of extreme persecution; are they also strong enough to choose forgiveness over bitterness and hatred?

Choose light

One of the best things about J. Rodes’ writing is that her characters are like a second skin to the reader. Eliza’s struggle became my struggle. As I write this I can still feel the grip of the instinctual ‘eye for an eye’ response versus ‘turn the other cheek’. I felt her pain, her sense of shame, her loss of hope, and yet I also experienced her compassion and the release that came from confronting and resisting the darkness within rather than hiding from it. Powerful, life-shaping stuff!

And Braxton.  His journey has been no less inspiring as God has used ‘all the dumb stuff’ he did and the ‘selfish choices’ he made (his words, not mine!) to mature and strengthen him. That was particularly demonstrated in the way he supported Eliza in this novel. And I love that he hasn’t totally lost his snark!

As for Hannah and Quinn, I’m not going to say much about their journey—too many spoilers—but the tension is high, particularly as Quinn struggles to come to terms with the consequence of his actions and sort truth from manipulation.

This is an absolutely fantastic series, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s thought-provoking, challenging, heartbreaking at times (one point in particular in this novel, so be prepared!), but ultimately inspiring. Only one thing remains to be said: Will you stand?

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Force ourselves to yield

~ Previous Books in the Series ~

Read my review for The Uncloaked or Tearing the Veil.

~ About the Author ~

J RodesJennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.

Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.

After growing up in Denver, Jen moved to Nebraska to attend college where she met and married a Husker. She now lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, laughs at her horses and chickens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

Connect with Jen:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  The Uncloaked Facebook Page

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, New Releases, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Charging the Darkness (J. Rodes) – Review

  1. Toni says:

    Love your review and memes. Such good quotes you captured!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jen says:

    I love this, Katie! Thank you so much… I’m terribly relieved that you enjoyed this series… even if there were some teary-eyed moments. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Best of 2017 – The Emoji Files, Part III: The WOW Awards | Fiction Aficionado

  4. Pingback: The Uncloaked Trilogy (J. Rodes) | Fiction Aficionado

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.