When Susan is driven by some strange unease to find quiet in the attic her husband Mark created as her refuge for her, she accidentally--or not so accidentally?--is transported to a world where her soccer-mom existence quickly disappears.
There she observes a lethal sword-match between two enemies--concerning a crime she does not yet understand--and finds herself at the mercy of warriors who distrust her as much as she distrusts them.
The People of the Verses rely on their archaic weapons and the truth of the Verses to defend them against danger that crowds upon them from neighboring kingdoms. But their enemies possess long-distance killing rays and war machines.
While the Council is undermined from within and the minds of those spoken to by the Rusicans melt into deadly despair, Susan finds herself at the center of an ancient hope. But how can a woman so utterly unsuited for heroic battles possibly be the promised Restorer?
I picked up The Restorer as a reaction against the numerous speculative fiction books that center around main characters ages 15 - 18. Enough of the high school drama, please. I want someone who thinks like an adult. "Oh, a fantasy about a housewife. I'll give this one a shot." And I'm glad I did, because I really enjoyed it. Suspense and mystery keep the storyline moving forward, and even during some of the darkest moments, Susan discovers hope and light.
Bottom line: Intriguing, suspenseful, wholesome, and well-written. I would enjoy reading the other books in this series.
What Could Have Been Better
My first impression of Susan was sympathy mingled with irritation. "Good grief, I know it's overwhelming and I'm sure I'd be scared too, but pull yourself together, girl!" When Susan finally does pull herself together, she shows resourceful, bravery, and winsomeness that made me glad I persevered with her. Other than that, I really can't think of anything that disrupted my enjoyment of the story.
There is no swearing in The Restorer.
Susan's thoughts are very much those of a married woman. She craves her husband's closeness, both emotionally and physically. There are descriptions of a few kisses and some physical contact like hand-holding and embracing. There are also hints, but no descriptions, of intimate relations between husbands and wives. I personally felt that the author's handling of sex was very well done, neither treating it like some unnatural, forbidden thing, nor removing the privacy from it.
As far as violence goes, some horrific things happen. People die. Children and teenagers are subjected to violence or the threat of violence. Susan herself survives attacks, assassination attempts, and torture. At one point, even child sacrifice is mentioned as a small, but important, plot point.
What I Enjoyed
I expected the writing to be mediocre. I can honestly say it's much better than mediocre. The characters are well developed, especially the main players: Susan, Tristan, Kieran, and a certain Council member. Also, in my experience, many women writers fail to create credible male characters. Not so with Sharon Hinck. Tristan, Kieran, and other notable characters are believably male, prompting realistically female responses from Susan.
The story flows well, with a vocabulary that is both understandable and reasonably broad. ("Yay! The author used the word 'limpid'!")
Even better, the Christianity, while very much an integral part of the story, was not sewn into it like rocks in a flower-bed. It was natural to the story's development, something I profoundly appreciate.
Also, about halfway through, the author throws in a twist that I did not see coming. It not only made the story so much better and rounded, but it also gave me respect for an author who could catch me by surprise. Since I'm an author myself and have studied "story" since forever, not many authors can do that for me anymore.
Excerpt from The Restorer
I glared at him, but reached for my sword.
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